Oldie but Goodie – Plinth Project Could Guide Future of #ows #soc5

Silence can be a message, what if #ows embraced the 4thPlinth ideal?

Silence can be a message, what if #ows embraced the 4thPlinth ideal?

The #soc5 this week is really #soc1.  I want to highlight some incredible public art that embraces the Social Enterprise ethic.  The One & Other Project by Anthony Gormley in 2009 in the UK really exemplifies the magic that can happen when the Social Enterprise is unveiled.  While it was a 2009 effort, the residue remains online today in significant ways and the current “Occupy” efforts could learn a great deal about how to organize a global resistance movement in a way that embraces their powerful message without the dilution of violence or active challenging resistance.

The project was incredible.  It was a public art project held on the 4th plinth of Trafalgar Square.  Citizens could apply to spend an hour on top of the plinth and they would rotate continually for 100 days in 2009.  They did so in wind, rain and worse and the output was watched by the world.  The interest was immense.  They received over 35,000 applications and over 2400 people took part for their hour of fame.  Flickr and YouTube were active during the event and remain active today.  A community built up over the hashtag #fourthplinth and the experience became a great example of spontaneous organization which creates its own momentum and generates its own organization.

This project highlights the possibilities and the challenges in the social enterprise.  It certainly entails a small amount of risk to the creator or sponsor.  They need to give up the current illusion of control of information in any real sense and enable a democratized version of control.  But the benefits are there too.  By eliminating control techniques, the unseen value beforehand is uncovered.  Much of the presentation was unanticipated.  While some was surely frivolous, some of it was unexpectedly impactful.  And that is the value.  The benefits of the social enterprise are sometimes unseen going in but indisputable coming out.  By accepting the small risk it becomes asymmetrical and the payoff becomes obvious.

 

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UK Royals Expand Social Media Use to Flickr

http://www.wsbtv.com/nationalnews/24382306/detail.html

I speak quite often about the nature and structures of governments across the world.  I generlly talk about the general large scale moves from tribal structures, to kingdoms and, hopefully, to a connected infrastructure.  The challenge is always that digital natives, like my own children, are being born connected (one of my kids has had a phone since she was 4).  So, what happens when those kids grow old enough to take part in the governmental structures around them?  They will expect that the government should work the same way their own lives do.  Notably it should contain frictionless access to information and services.  Can we do that?

So, seeing the UK Royals embrace social media as they have truly since about 2006, is interesting.  What result when the Kingdom structure adapts itself?  Can the structures still stand if the externalities change?  I think it may be possible.  I deal with all different types of Governments throughout the world and see some of them succeed regardless of their structure.  As long as their committment is to quality, efficient services, they seem to succeed and thrive and their citizens seem happy.

So, can the queen save the throne by tweeting her day away or sharing her families picnic pictures on Flickr?

Queen and her Government

Can Government 2.0 save the Queen?

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London, NYC and Korea: Connecting the #gov20 and #opengov Movement

Helping Ring the Bell at NYSE - Can We Keep it Ringing for Government 2.0?

Helping Ring the Bell at NYSE - Can We Keep it Ringing for Government 2.0?

While it has been a busy week and will continue on for a few more days now, it has been amazing in terms of gaining insight.

I had the pleasure of speaking at the IntellectUK Cloud event in london early in the week.  Then the honor of speaking at the New York Stock Exchange mid-week.  Followed on by an incredible CityCamp in London put on by FutureGov.  I am about to board a flight to Korea for the T.20 Login Tourism Event (The equivalent of the G20 for Tourism Ministers).

The reason I want to push my schedule out more to folks is the potential for me to act as a connector for different but vital communities involved in pushing for open government data initiatives and Government 2.0 in general.  As many of you know, I am obsessed with sustainability of the current change momentum in governments worldwide and I think we are in the midst of a very positive shift that I want to help push forward through the simple act of connecting people and institutions across the globe.

Each of the events I have spoken at in the past week or so are instrumental to success.  There were several industry insiders, small business owners, academics, influentials and the like at the Intellect Cloud event.  They will drive investment in the industry to support open government issues.  At the NYSE I had the pleasure of lunch with the head of the State’s Public Service Commission as well as the CEO of ConEdison a key utility company n the States in order to discuss their potential involvement in providing governmental cloud services.  Also there were competitors and partners alike (both in New York and London).  From AMD to HP to SalesForce.com the industry is paying attention to governments like never before.  And then, the Citycamp in London was amazing and took the open government mantra to the masses of individuals, NGOs, IGOs and government heavyweights who can really make things happen (CivcTec, LinkedGov, NHS, DWP and more and more).  These were the people emboldened to make all this change happen (not the easy part).

So, I finish up this extended week speaking to Ministers in Korea.  This is clearly an event targeted at informing political and policy decision makers from around the world.  The key is to close the loop, make the circle complete.  I aspire to take the messages of all the preceding conversations into the T20 Conference so that the political leaders understand what citizens want, and industry needs, and government workers have to have and academics are asking for.

This is a potential virtuous cycle for me and others like me.  I repeat this loop most months and have the opportunity often.  For the movement to be successful we need to ensure that we keep the oxygen moving, which is information.  What is working out there, what is not.  Who is winning and can they share.  Who is seeing roadblocks and what are they?  What political wins have happened as a result.  What investments are needed from industry and what investments should be targeted by political elites?  What should academics be analyzing and analysts paying close attention to?

You will see me at multiple events, and, of course, am always available on twitter, Facebook and this blog.  But more important, broadcast your insights so that the community at large can benefit and I can pick it up.  I will keep posting events scheduled and happy to discuss with folks as they have insight.  Citycamps are upcoming in Boston and Barcelona.  We have GovCamps coming up in Portugal, Brazil, India, Singapore, Russia and the US.

The movement is certainly afoot, but we need to keep the circulation of ideas moving.

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London: CityCamp London is a Model for Building Community in #gov20 and #opengov

Great Conversation on Gov20 and Business Models Needed for Sustainable Change in London

Great Conversation on Gov20 and Business Models Needed for Sustainable Change in London

I realize I am posting a review of CityCamp London while it is still going on, but it has been going so well, I doubt that day 3 will derail the effort (and I need to get on a plane to Korea soon for the Tourism 2.0 (Login Tourism) event in Buyeo, Korea for a keynote).

The balance needed for a great govcamp is far more art than science, but to see it done so well is rare.  The organizers need to keep a wayward group of activists on task, moving forward, entertained, informed and inspired.  The folks at FutureGov (and Dominic in particular) did this extremely well.

It says something about the movement that folks not only show up on the weekend, but remain energized and active the entire time.  I was involved with a few of the breakouts yesterday that were amazing.  And while the proof will certainly be in the sustainable motion AFTER the event, the event itself has created the platform and generated the connections needed for this all to be successful.  And for that to work, the connections need to be the focus of the events, the organizations, people, moderators need to facilitate but stay out of the way, which is exactly how CityCamp London has happened so far.

And the true diversity of attendees is impressive.  From traditional diversity metrics to diversity of thought, ccLDN has committed to the power of ideas carrying the day and we have all checked our baggage at the door.  I was welcomed as a Microsoft global guy as were folks from IBM, Google, Accenture and many other companies.  Advocates from inside government were numerous coming from some of the most powerful structures within the government including DWP and NHS among many others.

And the fact that they all blended in so well, in a great atmosphere, and focused on great conversations about how to move all of these issues forward was truly impressive.  I have been responsible for GovCamps in cities around the world (Berlin, Mexico City, Bogata, Toronto, Auckland, Sydney) and attended multiple other ones.  I can absolutely say that Dom and his crew have taught us all how to do these the right way.

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UK: Open Data starting to have effect

Government Mapping Data: Open Government in Elections

Government Mapping Data: Open Government in Elections

It is definitely the geek in me, with a tad bit of history.  When I started people.political a few years back (ok many years back) I cannot explain to you how frustrating it was to mash up postal codes, geolocations, congressional districts and walking lists for get out the vote efforts.  Nothing to say about the difficulty of then patchworking together multiple county and city voter files to try to figure out anything useful for a political campaign to use.

The push to open data will make this a clickable enterprise (ok a few more steps than just  a click).  But as Simon shows at Puffbox the UK drive to Open Data is starting to show an effect.  MaPitis an interesting experiment that would have made my world much easier way back then.  Now folks can focus on some of the great value that can be added to this data.  Instead of political consultants like me leveraging the data, citizens should be able to do it in incredible ways. 

What if they match an MP’s district to cases of blood toxicity and map over that individual votes on environmental legislation?  What if we can enable police districts to highlight nuisance calls in a particular area which almost always lead to increases in violent crime, so that they can deploy constables PRIOR to issues arising?  What if we can show an larger than average rise in income in Congressional Districts that have a higher percentage of active voters (increasing participation across the globe)?  What if we could correlate social computing technology use to successful policy outcomes (proving the power of netroots)?

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Russia: Medvedev and Bono Meet

Russia:  Can Gov20 Creep into Bono and Medvedev Meeting?

Russia: Can Gov20 Creep into Bono and Medvedev Meeting?

Over at Russia Blog they are covering Bono’s visit with Medvedev to discuss a range of topics at Medvedev’s Sochi residence.

While there is no coverage of Government as a Platform in the discussions (still need to get that call back from U2), it certainly shows a willingness to think outside of the box a bit.  Having world leaders listen to diverse viewpoints is a great step toward thinking differently about how government itself should work.  That is indeed a step toward reform that might allow GAAP thinking to creep in the right way.

Would love to hear from any of our readers about whether open government made it into any of the conversations between the two…

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UK: CityCamp London

London - Site of CityCamp 2010 and Gov20 Activity

London - Site of CityCamp 2010 and Gov20 Activity

Dominic, the harbinger of all good things Gov2.0, and FutureGov are bringing CityCamp to London in October!

Register for all of the announcements and a huge thanks to all of the partners involved to bring this event to London for free.

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