The Importance of Girls in a New War to end Poverty – #gov20

Girls are the Answer

Girls are the Answer

I often start my speeches, in every corner of the globe, with a video from The Girl Effect.  My wife and two daughters know exactly why I care so much about the topic.  And my daughter, now 13, has given me the best gift I could have asked for.

She has a project at school that will be a year long.  She can tackle any subject.  It needs to be community focused, but little guidance after that.  She came to Mom asking if she could focus on something like “The Girl Effect”.  When Mom told me, I brimmed with pride.

Parents everywhere wonder if they are doing the right thing, if they are raising kids to be active parts of their world, whether they introduced technology too soon, whether they restricted access to hard, whether they taught enough.  Whether they developed strong and yet empathetic citizens.  And wondering when they would find out.  For us, it is apparently at 13.

Our conversations so far have been around the economic impact of addressing young girls as a target would have.  And I am proud that her focus is dual – US and Global.  She understands the issues are different, but the effects are profound.  That by fixing the irrational problems surrounding girls in lesser developed countries, the out comes are stunning.  According to USAID, “by empowering women farmers with the same access to land, new technologies, and capital as men, we can increase crop yields by as much as 30 percent and feed an additional 150 million people”.   And according to the Girl Effect,  “An extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10 to 20 percent. An extra year of secondary school: 15 to 25 percent.”  And, “When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man.”

And while she will have one eye on the globe, she will have her feet firmly planted in the US.  That girls in this country suffer from similarly stifling effects of poverty.  That unlocking a solution for them in cities around this proud nation has a disproportionate effect on the health and wealth of all of us.  That by securing strength among girls in Chicago, Seattle, Milwaukee, New York and elsewhere will have a positive and unstoppable effect on girls in rural america and onward.  And that our strength here will be multiplied to her sisters overseas, tightening the circle and creating a tide to rise all boats.

But my favorite part of my daughter’s journey is the understanding that, in the West, women have only recently become enfranchised and that, now, more than ever, they have a responsibility to solidify the ladder they used to climb up to enable the girl effect worldwide.  So, while my daughter is privileged, she will start the cycle in our city, in her school.  At 13, she will shoulder a very tiny fraction of the load carried by her counterparts overseas.  She will use the gifts she has been given, to charm the socks off of everyone around her, to demand that we not simply state that we care about our girls, but that we will FIGHT to enable them across the globe.

Thank you Madison.

Related posts:

Rebel Technology, Government2.0, Open, Social, Mobile and the Global Renewal Occurring Right Now #gov20 #opengov #libya

 

Rebellion abounds today, how can Government's capture the passion and sustain the movements?

Rebellion abounds today, how can Government's capture the passion and sustain the movements?

 

I wrote this piece earlier this Summer for the Lower House of Congress in Mexico in anticipation of my publishing deal for my upcoming book, “Rebel Technology”.  I wanted to publish it again given the events in Libya and what will potentially be ongoing events in Syria, Myanmar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere as the Arab Spring becomes a Global Renewal.  This is given away as a free chapter of the upcoming book.

Taking Rebel Technology and Turning it into a Brave New Paradigm

The world has been tuned in to technology as rebellion breaks out around the world recently. Twitter and Facebook have been active parts of the process to bring change in Egypt, attempts at large scale political change in Iran and Libya, tackling budget woes in the UK and highlighting cloud computing in the USA. This “Rebel Technology” is the darling of the global news channels with tweets from the front lines making the new digital headlines. The main question for politicians, civil servants and policy makers is, how do we incorporate this new “Rebel Technology” into government in such a way that it sustainably benefits the citizens of our countries and at the same time advances the policy agendas of those elected or appointed to represent us?

This chapter will discuss three main areas. First, how did we get to this point and what does the technical and policy landscape look like worldwide? Second, what are the political and policy benefits that “Rebel Technology” could provide to our countries, their government and citizens? And, finally, what can policy makers, politicians, civil servants and citizens do today to make “Rebel Technology” a sustainable part of their governance infrastructure?

Part I: How did we get here?

From the first days of e-Government to Government 2.0 and Open Government, technology has been talked about as a potential panacea to the problems with governments in developed and developing nations. The promise has started to look much more real in recent days as citizens took the technology in their world (Twitter and Facebook) and turned it to political or policy purposes, effectively proving the point. Historically, the promise has remained ethereal for much of that time for multiple reasons. The first challenge has been the attempt to force a new order on top of a rigid and bureaucratic system of governance. This effect becomes pronounced when the mission of technological advance in government is accompanied with a business case that singularly relies upon cost reduction. While the financial gains in the private sector are calculable from the application of technology to business processes, the stretching of this technology over bureaucracy results in an erosion of some of the financial benefits. The newer technologies that rely upon crowdsourcing or open sharing have additional costs and friction in the public sector context due to the very nature of government as a control process. Open Government initiatives often meet with privacy concerns and result in either internal resistance or increased cost and time to implement the new system. These delays are often deadly to the change efforts.

While these perceived challenges attempt to call into question the effectiveness of new technology in support of policy change, the current state of national rebellion, especially in the Middle East, proves that the change does work, if the restraints are removed. In Egypt we saw that when citizens simply deployed Twitter, with few or zero rules and restrictions, the system formed itself well and accomplished a policy objective (regime change). If the technology had been forced into a structure by authority, the result may not have been the same. Twitter hashtags (such as #egypt) and other digital artifacts grew out of true collaboration and community and as such, technical deployment of such must resist centralized control to become effective and to be adopted rapidly and without unneeded expense.

Two examples of Open Government initiatives, the Government Camps (“Govcamps”) in Berlin, Germany and in Auckland, New Zealand help to prove the point. In New Zealand, much time and effort went into forcing folks to use certain hashtags, listen to certain speeches and forcing a structure upon the event. While beneficial to some of the participants, the overall effectiveness of the New Zealand effort was overshadowed by the alternative structure at the Berlin Govcamp. In Berlin, there was an organization committee, but their job was to build and empower the Govcamp community. They let the hashtags develop themselves, the sessions were voted upon and pursued after that, the group enabled technology use and sharing throughout the event and as a result, the Govcamp was an enormous success regardless of what metric you looked at (press coverage was large, twitter stream was enormous, attendance exceeded expectations, following year registrations grew, documentation was produced by multiple participants).

So, what technology advances are breaking through and which are stopping technology efforts? Three main paradigm shifts seem to be additive to success – the deployment of Social, Mobile and Open technologies (with cloud computing as a major enabler).

On the other hand, legacy and proprietary technology, and their oppressive support costs (in terms of dollars as well as opportunity costs) are the major impediment to government success. Forrester estimates that large enterprises (including governments) that rely on server based legacy technology such as Microsoft Exchange 2007 for email, waste between 50 and 70% of their capital in such a way that cloud based email systems makes completely irrelevant. It is important to understand that when dealing with such legacy systems, bureaucracies need to exist to support them, from server administrators to email administrators to procurement officials and data center operators, the waste is enormous and a switch away from legacy environments can free up resources (time and money) to accomplish citizen oriented policy goals. Included in these waste figures are hardware costs, server software costs, client software costs, storage costs, message filtering, archiving costs, mobile messaging costs, staffing and financing costs.
The Social, Mobile and Open paradigms are vital for success. The world of political reform or policy change is intimately connected to the new social technology tools. From Facebook to Twitter to any number of local social and digital communities, it is clear that the ability to share ideas, in real-time, is a key ingredient to the success of an attempt at policy change or political upheaval. Social by itself is not enough though. Social must be combined with Mobile technologies and Open systems to be effective. Mobility is necessary to ensure that rapidly changing environments are communicated to stakeholders and observers in real-time. Mobile also expands the effectiveness of the fourth estate, the traditional media, in that coverage now no longer depends upon the mainstream media as seen in places like Madison, Wisconsin where they have successfully pushed a reform agenda despite the lack of mainstream media coverage. These social and mobile technologies must also include rich media sharing including photos and video as well as the ability to comment on these items immediately. The real and personal images and video taken at modern political events is compelling and allows the information to permeate the overly produced news content out there. The final ingredient to success is the need for these systems to be open by design. The distance between application of the technology and the user must be non-existent. There should be one-click downloads, zero installation and very minimal setup. Licensing of these technologies is simply an impediment that will be circumvented by activists and users. Therefore, to be successful the systems should also have open application programming interfaces (“API’s”) to allow stakeholders to combine data in innovative ways. The systems should also be distributed royalty free and with open source code for extensions as possible by the resulting community. Governments themselves should embrace the ideals of Open Government Data to ensure that there is little friction between government-collected data and the application developers that can build the government platforms for services of the future.

Part II: Policy and Political Benefits

POLICY BENEFITS

The information technology community has never had a hard time advocating leveraging technology in the context of government. The challenge has always been in connecting specific policy objectives to the technology missions undertaken inside governments. In order for these efforts to truly be successful they must also be couched in the language of decision makers in government as well as common, everyday citizens instead of buried in technical jargon. Below are some of the basic policy benefits of leveraging “Rebel Technology”. Cost efficiency and Opportunity Cost Reduction – In a reform minded administration, the elimination of cost and reduction of opportunity costs equates to redeploying precious resources to accomplish their political or policy objectives. While the monetary savings will be significant they should not be the exclusive focus. Focusing on redeployment of existing assets allows governments to use an existing resource base to better accomplish its policy goals. By working within current assets, the political difficulty of raising revenues is avoided.

Increased Agility - By deploying non-proprietary and cloud based solutions, a truly mobile and alternatively connected government workforce is possible (telework and especially mobile telework can become a real possibility once the datacenter is abandoned as an asset to governments). The ability to change in real-time is a modern need for governments but is also one that citizens have come to expect. Caseworkers should be out in the field, talking with citizens and connecting while en route. Disconnection in terms of systems creates a tight connection in terms of citizens.

Improved National Competitiveness – As governments are involved directly with new government technology initiatives, the demand for certain national assets increases and is addressed either by the private market or by another piece of the government (universities for instance providing an increased number of technology related courses). As these needs are addressed, the country’s rankings in terms of national competitiveness naturally increase as well. The need for a well-educated workforce in computer skills is a great example that would be addressed after a national technology initiative is started. The need for broadband deployment is another example that would enable the remote workforce for government, which in turn enables telework for the private sector. Increased electric capacity and reliable sources for such is a natural outflow of a larger dependence on networked technologies. A higher proportion of income being generated by digital employment also reduced the dependence on heavy industry development having a tertiary environmentally beneficial effect. Each of these examples is directly measured by international organizations that calculate national competitiveness.

Job Growth – This is not an effort just to add people to employment roles in non-productive positions. A job that is connected to advanced technology is an investment in the future of your country. As stated earlier, it helps tip the balance away from environmentally devastating industries and puts your workforce in a position to be able to attract foreign investment and HQ location due to the advanced skills that will be cultivated and grown as a factor of your “Rebel Technology” initiatives.

Community Connection to Government Strengthened – Strong bonds between a community and their government is of incredible value. In terms of sustainable growth, such tight ties are a vital contributor to citizens staying in the country that cultivated those bonds. In addition, the ability of economies and cultures to withstand market fluctuations, a strong connection between citizens and their governments creates a positive form of economic nationalism and helps to sustain economies in tough times. In terms of social and physical wellness, a close bond between citizens and their governments also has a correlative effect. All of these effects can occur as a result of the accomplishment of a national technology effort, directed initially as an internal reform effort inside government.

Rebalancing of Trade Balances – Much of the enabling technology for government ICT reform efforts is leveraged by existing as well as innovative and new private enterprises that have a positive effect on a country’s trade balances. In order for this effect to take hold it is important to be focused on long-term economic incentives and not simple construction based economic stimulus. While roads and infrastructure building is an important first step, it is by no means the end in and of itself. For trade balances to be positively effected long term, export directed incentives must be attached to the efforts as well. After the country of Singapore went through a difficult period of trade imbalance they made a decision to become a leader in terms of leveraging ICT internal to government operations and since have ranked near the top in most international ranking of such efforts. As a result of the technology commitment of the government, the electronic component industry benefitted and today much of the existing trade surplus is credited to the strength of electronic component exports.

Increase Number of Research Scientists and Engineers (RSE) – As your country engages in a technology reform effort inside government, the demand curve for scientists and engineers shifts. Skill sets for network deployment, optimization, power management, virtualization skills and the like are highly portable and when combined with the effects of minimizing the country’s brain drain, work to increase the total amount of RSE’s resident in the country. As innovation and startup activity increase, these internal assets can now be effectively tapped to fuel economic growth internal to the country at an accelerated pace as opposed to having to import the advanced talent that such enterprises require. When comparing South Korea’s and Brazil’s Innovation experiments in the 1980’s conclusions were drawn that if Brazil had focused on internal development and some level of protection of those assets, they would have fared as well as South Korea did. In fact, the burgeoning of Brazil’s economy under President Lula may in fact be due, in part, to his focus on RSE development as a result of internal governmental commitments to owning their own technology and avoiding as much proprietary technology owned by MNC’s as possible .

POLITICAL BENEFITS

Policy benefits are certainly important to governments, but to politicians the political benefits are a condition precedent to such efforts. The efforts for policy directed technological reform can be much easier if we first address the political benefits of such an agenda and can convince politicians that association with such efforts is a political good and not a drawback.

In Jennifer Bussel’s work on egovernment initiatives in India’s states, she proves part of my hypothesis, namely, that political benefits must be made explicit in order to secure actual delivery of “Rebel Technology” inside a government. Her work is also important as it highlights the local nature of political activities and an understanding that each country must develop this strategy within their own context. In India’s case, it became clear that when political benefit was aligned to technology reform, the citizens saw the benefit in services offered online. When political conditions were not furthered by technologic change, the online services were postponed, never delivered or far less effective.

This type of proof can lead to multiple interpretations when seeking a course of action. My focus is on how to successfully structure a “Rebel Technology” initiative for success given relative weights in terms of political benefit alignment. I will discuss that structure in a moment. It is important, however, to outline a few of the general political benefits of a “Rebel Technology” platform despite the uniquely local nature of such efforts. Fundraising – Raising money for political parties and candidates can be a complicated matter and exposition on the topic would take more space than I have here. But some of the basics of fundraising can be positively affected by adopting a “Rebel Technology” platform. It is a vital component in this strategy to connect the technology refresh directly to policy outcomes that concern your tight political coalition and fundraising base. If you are a “Labor” candidate for office your focus could easily be on social issues that matter to your base. Creating a crowdsourced and socially networked job system that promises to push your nation toward full employment by leveraging technology could easily become a plea to advocates for poverty eradication or unemployment reduction. If you happen to be a “conservative” candidate there are a number of ways to stimulate fundraising, but the most obvious is elimination of governmental waste on existing ICT projects as well as enabling near term growth for your country. In addition, corporate interests are highly dependent on an educated workforce with a focus on lowering the acquisition costs of well-educated high technology employees. The pro-corporate tax treatments necessary for success in “Rebel Technology” platforms will also help those interests right of center to help raise funds for your candidate. And to address the independent voters needed for nearly all modern elections, the positive economic nationalism mantra will energize them to financially support your efforts.

Change – The right message for an individual campaign is often complex. Worldwide we have seen the adoption of technological reform platforms in challenger campaigns to incumbents. While that is the most obvious location for such efforts, it is not the only one. When the nature of an election is based upon “change”, such a message can be adopted by challengers, unopposed candidates and incumbents. Reform is often the natural gambit of the challenger making the point that the technology used by the incumbent government is too old, or too expensive, to sustain. They can make the point that if electors simply support them, that the change will allow for all sorts of policy and program changes to enable all sorts of new outcomes.

For those running unopposed, this is also a good strategy to help build an almost impenetrable coalition that will give the candidate protection for many years to come.

But for an incumbent, they will need to structure the technological reform in the context of a recent environmental change. An event or set of events outside of their control (hurricanes or tsunamis), inside someone else’s control (federal management of medical system has caused local governments to suffer) or a larger systemic event such as large increases in unemployment due to economic downturn. Incumbents will be able to see an electoral benefit from an embrace of a change message inside such a managed environment. And by adopting technology as an answer, it will align with the currently magical aura in the eyes of consumers (as citizens) about technology. Rewarding Supporters – Normal rewards include committing to pass or repeal certain programs, policies or laws. And while that can still be a mainstay of this strategy (promising the technology reform enablement policies for instance) you should focus to a great extent on the rewards after implementation of the new systems rather than simply promising the implementation (focus on outputs like higher employment, lower child mortality rates, increased wellness, economic growth). In fact, you should select a new lens through which to view such programs. What could you do with social technology to increase wellness? How could you use broadband deployment to grow industrial sectors in certain parts of the country? How could you increase employment by launching a new mobile technology incubator? Could you decrease child mortality rates by enabling telework in the public sector?

Enabling Party Switchers – many elections depend on new coalitions (some before and some after the election). While the attraction to power in coalition building after an election can be incentive enough for politicians to join with your efforts, gaining sufficient advantage to eliminate the need for a broad coalition BEFORE the election, with VOTERS, can help to propel you toward the sustainable change we seek. The first step in utilizing this strategy is to ensure that you indeed can embrace a change election within your base and that you can connect specific policy outcomes to a “Rebel Technology” agenda. If that is true, you then need to extend that technology agenda to policy objectives of a specific independent grouping that does not overtly conflict with your base. The best result is when you can simply extend an existing change supported by your base (for instance an open government program). You could extend an open government program to specifically target a grouping of voters interested in crime reduction by opening the crime statistics data to innovation and therefore both reducing overall crime as well as reducing the costs of achieving the goal. By extending a program already supported by your base you don’t need to spend any more political capital or money and you can actively switch or convert those independent, justice-interested voters. Establishing New Paradigm (Obama/FDR Effect) – While many of the political benefits may seem simply focused on election or re-election, not all of them are. One of the things that have driven leaders to adopt change programs is the ability to help structure a societal paradigm for years to come. President Obama recently took on his health care program challenge to attempt this end (he has based some of his efforts on Franklin Roosevelt’s efforts to restructure most of society himself through the New Deal). Especially if politicians embrace the idea of Government as a Platform , a technology reform agenda can set the stage for an entirely new way to govern. It can be a structure that addresses many of the weaknesses of current governance structures. It can be designed to combine and unify the efforts of both the public and the private sectors. It can specifically and by design consider input and desires of the citizens themselves. It can embrace the tenants of transparency, openness and accountability. How to setup the infrastructure needed to be successful in paradigm building is covered below.

Part III: Turning “Rebel Technology” into Sustainable Infrastructure

Using “Rebel Technology” to win an election, campaign or policy change is one thing; sustaining that change for years is another. It is difficult to turn rebel momentum into stable governance, but it is very possible. There need to be strong pillars upon which to build this new technology platform for government. For all of the reasoning contained above there should be three strong pillars to build upon: Social, Mobile and Open. There are policy-oriented foundations that must support each of these pillars in every government and they are surrounded by an ongoing governance structure that is constantly reinforcing the system with multiple actors with specific roles to play. This governance structure will flexibly handle investment and focus decisions to allow for continuity of foundational support for the government built to withstand political and administration changes.

The Foundation – The strength of your new paradigm will depend to a great degree on your ability to build a strong and sustainable foundation. This is not the exciting and sexy part of governing, but it is the part with the most sustainable impact. The commercial equivalent in the past century is the commitment made to free flow of interstate travel in the USA which unlocked commercial flows between and among the 50 states. It required a multi-decade duration of support to transportation systems that interoperated, was supported nationally and was free from unneeded restrictions. In addition, it required a commitment to ensure the regular availability of inexpensive fuel and other transportation related needs (including bridges, automotive suppliers, mandatory insurance, interstate tax accords and the like). In the case of “Rebel Technology” there are several items that need to be committed to long term.

First, broadband deployment must be treated as a right to citizens everywhere in your country. This commitment has a multiplier effect outside of simply ensuring citizens can transact with government and allows for digital industry to be built everywhere in your country. Second, regulations on data privacy and security need to be harmonized to allow for cloud computing to be exploited as part of the solution. It is unsustainable for every governmental unit to build and maintain their own datacenters. Data sovereignty laws need to be adapted to the modern cloud computing environment to let information flow freely the same as the interstate system allowed for commerce to flow in the past century. Third, Open Government must be embraced to allow for governmental data stores to be made openly available for innovation to be visited upon them and for the vision of Government as a Platform to be realized. The Human Genome would have taken decades to decode had we not opened up the data set to radical innovation. Finally, the national commitment to Science and Technology must be updated and augmented to allow for a true “Innovators Agenda” to be adopted.

The Pillars - At the same time that the Foundation is embraced in your country, you should ensure that you have instituted the pillars of your new technology platform. These pillars are meant to stand regardless of specific technologies or systems that embrace them. Each of the tenets have some specific systems today that come to mind, but the ideas that the pillars represent are broad enough to adapt to their current versions at any place in time. Those pillars are Social, Mobile and Open.

Social is the key to success in your platform. The very nature of government is social by default. Those governments that are successful embrace the ideals of social inclusions already. Ensuring that the technology platform embraces the ideals of social is therefore a shorter step. The basic thought here is to ensure that your governmental technology decisions include the ability for stakeholders to share all types of information with each other regardless of format or role of the stakeholder. Citizens should be able to share video with legislators. Civil Servants should be able to share images with the citizens they serve. Within the civil service, employees should be able to openly comment and rate differing ideas and those thoughts should be openly shared with citizens. As data sets are open, citizens, companies, civil servants, ministers and others should be able to innovate upon and share combinations of government data, at will. The best part of your new technology agenda is that it allows anyone to create innovative solutions in your society. The further you make all of this information easily sharable, the closer the governed will become to the government. You will be creating a much more stable and satisfied country.

Embracing Mobile is equal to the paradigm shift that stopped us from time sharing on mainframes and having that power on our desktop. Now the stakeholders in government need to be connected wherever they happen to be physically. This will also allow for a greater number of stakeholders to connect to government, as mobile penetration is high worldwide. It will also free up caseworkers to spend more time in front of the citizens they serve. Transactions between citizens and government will multiply, as their photo capable devices will now allow for remote incident reporting instantly. Location based services will make licensing and permitting far more efficient and will allow limited resources to be stretched through more radical self-service in remote locations (also having a positive environmental effect as it will reduce government related travel). The ability to crowdsource will be increased as mobile technology is far more permeated than personal computers and as long as the mobile paradigm is addressed correctly (SMS, not just Smartphone) it can bridge some of the digital divide issues that have regularly cropped up in the past. Coupling mobile with social technology is the magic combination as it lets people develop civil discourse in the way they want to and when they want to – on their mobiles.

Open is the final pillar to successful deployment. The pillar embraces the concepts of Open Government, Open Source and Open Standards. All are vital to a sustainable environment. A commitment to open government allows us to restructure government to accomplish much more than simple service delivery and focus on Government as a Platform. A commitment to Open Source allows for tools, data and processes to be freely updated to accommodate the constantly changing governmental environment. And Open Standards are truly what made efforts connecting the rail systems worldwide to work together despite different owners and operators in such a way that maximized the transport of goods, services and people safely. The same open standard development and support is a necessary precedent to successful adoption of a new technology platform. The opposite, a continued commitment to proprietary systems and standards, is costly in terms of treasure but also in terms of the needed agility to accomplish the laudable goals of governments.

The Governance Structure

Governance structures are in essence the rules of the new road. The goal is to set out the structure and way in which decisions will be made. The rules do not presuppose the answers, much like the constitutional rules of a parliament may set out ground rules but not decisions. Remarkably, this has had much discussion but little disposition in governments throughout the world. As such, it needs to be clarified upfront as you move down your road to technologic reform.

There are generally three main areas that need to be considered in a governance structure: Intergovernmental (different layers of government – local government, regional government, state government, school boards), Business Domains (Health, Commerce, Public Safety) and Technical Domains (infrastructure, technical standards, security). Different decision items need to be vested on a different axis in the structure. And on many topics, there needs to be an intersection of interests allowing for some form of built in cooperation and sustainability. The specific weightings of voting power and topical distribution are left to individual governments to decide upon within this basic structure. Enterprise Architecture is generally vested within this structure as a whole and the outputs of that architecture need to be regularly revisited especially in cases of regime change or election.

Investment Framework

The investment framework is the specific mechanism that allows the governance structure to continue to exist despite change in elected or appointed leaders, while differing policy outcomes can be assigned and supported. It stops the seesaw effect of infrastructure investment from one party to another, as technical platforms become political footballs passed around. By allowing a flexible investment framework to exist inside a stable governance structure, governments can focus on building up infrastructure to allow for policy development agnostic of the policy itself and also enable individual administrations to focus hard resources on their own policy objectives. As illustration, a left-leaning administration may have a carbon reduction goal as a policy objective and may therefore enable resources to flow to open up the data streams of governmental carbon emissions to be released openly to the public while a right-leaning government may push that same funding into an effort to open up governmental data streams on economic development dollars given to specific areas over a set period of time to spur additional foreign or domestic investment. The underlying foundations and pillars are identical, but the investment decision flexes dependent upon the nature of the current administration. This enables debate and conversation over the actual object of the policy and not the underlying infrastructure needs to develop it. The consequence is a far more effective government (implementing the policies that are reflected by popular mandate in individual jurisdictions).

Sample Outcomes (these are fictional examples)

The following is a fictional set of example outcomes that might be accomplished by deploying a “Rebel Technology” initiative.

A foundation is laid. Broadband commitments are extended through the next 20 years with a specific bi-partisan Broadband Commission committing to deployment in 90% of the population centers in 5 years and ubiquity in 10. Data sovereignty laws are harmonized within the regional governmental entities ensuring that data sovereignty issues do not preclude cloud based transmission and storage including diplomatic data immunity for governmental data within the region. An Open Government Committee is instituted in the legislature and a “citizen data release council” is formed to support data openness issues and schedules. A new “Innovation Agenda” is announced with a focus on building RSE’s in country with specific long-term incentives for building further government-as-a-platform infrastructures.

The pillars are defined. A Technical Reference Committee is formed and identifies current technologies that should be given priority in all new technology deployments government wide (just like the USA Cloud First initiative). Business Reference Council is formed to ensure that the current technologies selected are sufficient to exploit the current administrations policy objectives. The Business Reference Council also attaches specific policy objectives to each of the pillars including healthcare outcomes to drive through social technology and public safety goals through mobile reporting of incidents. The Technical Reference Committee also puts together a business case to extract proprietary systems from the environment and puts together internal open source and open standard incentives for use of such technology.

The Governance Structure is enabled. The legislature has passed enabling legislation empowering governance across the three relevant areas and extending until the end of the broadband initiative. Using building commissions as a viable sustainable structure, the prime minister oversees the entire structure with business, technical and citizen groups well represented throughout the structure.

Investment Framework is leveraged. The current administration utilizes a working model for investments to make decisions within the new Governance Framework and makes decisions to support the administration’s policy objectives through leveraging technology. The framework includes using a specific reporting process so that progress can be monitored and decisions regularly reviewed to ensure effective accomplishment and adjustment as needed.

Conclusion

The decision to enable “Rebel Technology” in a campaign or effort to shift a political paradigm can be difficult. The decision to move it to a new and sustainable governmental structure can present even deeper challenges. But, all of these challenges can be overcome with dedicated planning and purposeful movement establishing new structures and means to solve political, policy and citizen based problems.

Related posts:

On the Nature of Resistance #gov20 #opengov #egypt #libya #wiunion #miunion



As many of my friends both in the States and around the world, I have been struggling to understand whether resistance, as a way of living a purposeful life, is worth the challenges such a life brings.  Whether it is my colleagues in Bahrain, my friends in Egypt, my family struggling in Wisconsin or each of my associates in the Government 2.0 world, all of us have chosen to do something difficult, resist.  And the people who raised me, the community that formed my beliefs, the State that gave me every opportunity on the planet, made it all so clear to me these past few weeks.  Thank you Wisconsin for showing this proud son of your State, exactly why he does what he does, and in particular, in the way that he does.

Understanding the nature of resistance itself is helpful in understanding what is going on when we resist.  In electrical engineering the idea of resistance is crucially important.  Resistors make entire systems work the way the engineer intended them to.  (Interesting aside, the power rating of the resistor must exceed the anticipated power going through the circuit (dissipation) or the system will not work.  Argument well made for equal power being mandatory).  I think that makes a point that is worth highlighting:  Resistance is a necessary component of many systems in the world.  And in our overarching system, our society, without resistance, society itself, fails.

The examples of resistance are numerous.  From electrical (Ohm’s Law) to mechanical (friction) to biological (frost resistant plants) to investing (resistance levels on the price of a stock), each of them exposes the nature of resistance.  I think this is vital to understand when resistance is being applied in an unnatural way, as it is in politics today in some circles.  Resistance in these examples is not a resistance TO change but rather is a resistance to the existing nature of things (the dominant paradigm).  Car brakes stop the forward movement of the vehicle (friction), frost resistance allows plants to live through the dominant existing season (winter) and resistance levels in stock pricing pushes against either irrational exuberance or overheated short selling in a market for a security.  The resistor is necessary to put a check on the dominant paradigm to reinstitute balance in the system.

All of that is important as we, as resistors in one way or another, struggle with the pain that results from our activities sometimes.  It is difficult to explain the need for resistance when you land in jail as they did in Michigan this past week, or when you have to tell your kids why you are sleeping outside in the damn cold reaches of Madison Wisconsin, or when brave citizens in Egypt risk their lives … simply to ask for a voice.  It is important to remember that we need to do these things not because of some respect for theory, or to live a philosophically pure life, but rather, in order to restore the balance that all systems need to become and remain stable.  Resistance stabilizes the world.

But resistance has its price.  Electric resistors burn up.  Protesters wear out.  People get sued.  It is not fun.  It is not easy. And, as my extended family in Wisconsin always taught me…nothing worth having ever is.  It is the nature of our role, as resistors.  To make the system stable.  To stand in the breach.  To point out the wrongs.  To stand and to fight.  To not cede your ground. To resist.

Because the world I see reflected in my daughters eyes is worth every ounce of blood, sweat and tears.

Fight on, world.  Resist.

Forward.

Related posts:

Greek Monks and Open Government #gov20 #opengov

Did the Greek Monks Destroy the Country or was it Lack of Government Transparency?

Did the Greek Monks Destroy the Country or was it Lack of Government Transparency?

Reviewing some of the older pieces on the true greek tragedy (in economic terms) and finally read through the whole of the great Vanity Fair article by Michael Lewis (“Beware of Greek s Bearing Bonds“).  The detail in the article is great and Lewis, as always, is an incredible writer.

But the important insight is how this could be fixed.  How we could move from rebel to revolutionary, and start to solve the problem?  Open Government, writ large, is the answer.

The article is about the details that led to the fall of the previous government in Greece and the challenges that resulted when the new government dug into the reasons behind it.  While the immediate cause was certainly the incredibly odd deal that the Greek Monks made to overvalue and trade on the “value” of their land.  The real answer is, as Lewis details, the degradation of civil society in Greece.

Lewis details the challenge:

It’s simply assumed, for instance, that anyone who is working for the government is meant to be bribed. People who go to public health clinics assume they will need to bribe doctors to actually take care of them. Government ministers who have spent their lives in public service emerge from office able to afford multi-million-dollar mansions and two or three country homes.

Apparently tax payments are also an optional exercise in Greece.  There simply is no enforcement mechanism and bribery of tax officials has run rampant allegedly.  The challenge is what to do about it.

Transparency, like sunlight, disinfects the distasteful debris.  Open Government, deployed broadly and enabled through structures that tie the open data to enforcement mechanisms create some interesting outputs.  Stability and Fairness.  Stability that economic growth can be built upon and Fairness that allows for the once vibrant civil discourse to take up arms again.  These two outcomes are worth the pain of enabling transparency in Greece and everywhere else in the world where I have heard story about bribery, corruption and skimming off the top of the government.

I was asked by a friend in one of India’s largest Pradesh what the largest expenditure was in the economic development efforts throughout India.  The answer wasnt land development, infrastructure, education or public health.  Without flinching he told me “corruption”.  That easily 80% of the economic development funds in India never reached individual areas in need of help.  Most of the public money targeted at poverty reduction was the same.

From the monks in Greece to the poor in India, the world deserves more focus on Open Government as a way to build more Stable and Growing nations.  Lets work to make that happen.  What are the SPECIFIC deployments we could push to the governments of the world to free up precious resources and stabilize the world?

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Canada: Innovation Pipelines and Infrastructure in #gov20 and #opengov

Institute for Development Studies - Sussex, UK - Pipelines for Innovation

Institute for Development Studies - Sussex, UK - Pipelines for Innovation

Adriel covers off on Luke Closs’ idea about Innovation Pipelines in Government 2.0.  I love this thought.

In terms of creating sustained momentum within this movement it is vital that internal infrastructures be created.  The pipeline is a tried and true method to manage incoming leads into actual outcomes.  In the sales world we have used it successfully for years and it is a leson that can easily cross into the governmental context.

And many of us already utilize CRM as a way to manage citizen relationships.  This is a great extension of the power of many of those tools as we now can unlock the ppower of and use the pipeline tools and pipeline management tools in them.

Would love to hear of government CIO’s using their tools in this way.  Let me know.

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Africa: MIT Wealth of Nations, eRegistry #opengov and #gov20 to Drive Economic Growth Globally

Government 2.0 and Open Government Data Could Grow Africa's Welath...

Government 2.0 and Open Government Data Could Grow Africa's Welath...

I have the honor of sitting on a board that came from MIT and specifically from Julius O. Akinyemi, the great thinker behind the eRegistry project.  The Wealth of Nations Project, and the board charged with making it real, is positioned to alter the very nature of capital structures starting in Africa, but clearly exportable to other lesser developed nations.  And Government 2.0 will play an instrumental role.

Julius has agreed to do a guest blog here on FixingPotholes.com, but until then I wanted to post a bit about the basics and the opportunity.

The project is aimed at unlocking the power of dormant trillions of dollars of local assets in parts of the world that lack a system to accurately peg that value and securitize the assets to grow local economies.  The theory of the project also embodies the local design movement in emerging markets and does not inaccurately place existing securitization strategies on top of markets that lack some of the developed world characteristics. To quote Julius,

“We will provide through economic modeling, a global standardized index that financial institutions can use to better assess individual’s worth and improve the lending practices. This process will generate needed capital in developing nations. Additionally, this process of asset securitization will provide transparency and accountability for invested and loaned funds to the various nations by the World’s financial organizations e.g. IMF.”

The transparency angle was certainly enough to get me interested in getting involved, but the best part is that the project envisions utilizing the crowd to add to securitization and leverage ICT to create a level of comfort to capital to allow the system to drive secure lending practices based upon accurate identification of risk and value in lesser developed parts of the world.  The idea is that we could develop an eRegistry to tap into local crowds to identify asset value and securitize it to an extent that the inefficiency in the current global market is corrected and the value unlocked.  The great point is that this is extensible, through open government data initiatives, to a degree that eGovernment systems can be enabled across the globe.

“As with the development of the Internet, which did not come from a single technology but from the timely convergence of multiple streams of technological development, the convergence of new technologies has the potential to enable asset owners, regardless of location or type of asset, to partake in an artificial nervous systems that can begin to sense, capture, record, transmit and even value an asset in nanoseconds via the eRegistry.

By the same token the “eRegistry” could be used as an eGovernment Revenue Generation base, Census and Population Control Issues database, Disease control and Health and wellness resource etc. The “eRegistry,” when enabled with data mining capabilities and localized economic models that consider local economic nuances, can easily predict future pricing of assets, local market behaviors and, when intelligently used with proper governance processes, will build a second understanding and “layer” of that society for both individuals and the community at large by allowing for another, more global perspective of individual and communal wealth to emerge. With this model, a new Digital Global Common Currencywill emerge that can enable global open capital sourcing. The eRegistry will enable us to build an Entrepreneurial Information Exchange Platform that could be analogous to a real-time global commerce commodities trading floor. The Information Exchange will also become an open platform for Virtual Doctors and Health Care Services, Local Commodities Trading, Media for Capital Generation, Quantitative tool for Micro credit lending efficiency, as well as products and services brokerage functions.”

I am unbelievably excited about this project and look forward to working with Julius to help drive the idea and the execution of it.  But, as always, the success of the endeavor clearly depends upon the community that reads this blog, discussing and debating and promulgating the idea.  We are already starting to work out the details, but we all remain committed to advice from our global government 2.0 community to truly tip the world in a new direction.  We will present a demonstration of the concept at the World Economic Forum in Davos coming up, lets make that an incredible experience by getting involved.

Related posts:

Matthew Burton: ACH Turns Open Government Data into Actionable #gov20 Policy Insight

 

Gunnar and Burton: Applying ACH to Non-Intelligence Policy Issues with Open Government Data

Gunnar and Burton: Applying ACH to Non-Intelligence Policy Issues with Open Government Data

Thanks to Gunnar posting over at GovFresh, we have some insight into some of the advanced policy work being done in the Gov20 world.  It is interesting to see this coming from the intelligence community and can be insightful in many more areas.

ACH has multiple applications outside of the defense or intelligence spheres.  In almost every area of public policy we have massively competing hypothesis.  In many cases we also have a multitude of data sources available to analyze that could lead us to more stable policy development long term.  It could also have a positive effect of cleaning up our political discourse or at least abrogating the difficulty that we have in separating out political rhetoric from long term policy development.

Take Argentina as an example.  During the late 80′s, Argentinian inflation was incredibly out of control.  People didn’t ask for their change in transactions because it wasn’t worth their time to wait.  Buying decisions had to be made in hours as opposed to days.  Mortgages and other long term credit were in disarray.  Domingo Cavallo was brought in by newly elected President Carlos Menem, a Peronist, to help stem the tide.  His austerity program, admittedly steeped in criticism in its detail, stopped the free fall.  But the challenge was too much value had dropped and lives destroyed because of the disconnect between what would have traditionally be understood from a Peronist point of view (or in general a left leaning point of view) and the austerity programs embraced by Cavallo.  Again, he stopped the hyperinflation, but the delay was caused by the fog of political/policy divisions.

What if Burton’s work were applied as countries start to feel the upcoming inflationary pressures?  Could it help guide policymakers in making tough decisions that Menem eventually made in a quicker way?  Could his solution be applied to issues steeped in politics?  What if we had used it to analyze global warming earlier?  What about micro-lending or LDC loan forgiveness?  What about the MDGs?

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