Canada: Public Sector Advisory Council Tackles Shared Services and #gov20 and #opengov

Quebec Host to Great Government 2.0 Conversation

Quebec Host to Great Government 2.0 Conversation

I had the honor to speak in Quebec today at the Public Sector Advisory Council put on by The Conference Board in Canada.  It was a great opportunity to hear from and speak to leaders in the Canadian public sector in a way that generated great conversations and a great open struggle with pushing forward toward public sector progress.

We had a briefing from the Ministry of Economic Affairs on their leading of the Free Trade Agreement talks with the EU.  It was enlightening to see how the current economic situation has opened up the possibility for all countries to reseat themselves at the global economic table.  And it is a playbook for provinces and municipalities interested in getting more directly involved with trade negotiations.

Those talks emboldened the PSAC to consider challenging issues much more deeply and the result is a direct consultation with Jerry Mechling of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government on how to breakthrough with new thoughts on service delivery.  I challenged all of them to think of Government as a Platform and Open Government as a precedent for these types of efforts.

These offsites and conversations need to receive our message much more directly.  It was an interesting conversations with leaders who can make it happen.  And they were receptive at the thoughts and engaged in a great conversation on the viability of the ideas.


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The Why: eParticipation and #opengov Creates Clarity in Representative Democracy

Creating an Efficient and Politically Congruent Government 2.0 Movement

Creating an Efficient and Politically Congruent Government 2.0 Movement

Andrea DiMaio posts a great critique of the Open Government and eParticipation movement in Europe (and presumably worldwide) writing from PEP-NET.  He brings up some points that need resolution, so we can avoid being involved in a self-supporting set of fantasies and rather be involved in a movement with concrete goals.

The issues break down into two main areas:

1)  The potential disenfranchisement of political elites, and

2)  The costs involved.

These are crucial issues.  As we move beyond folks not opposing the strategic use of ICT in Government to create better and more sustainable governance we need to address the realpolitik issues that surround our efforts and these are two very important ones.

The issue of political disenfranchisementis interesting.  I will put a pin in the discussion over direct democracy and whether citizens can be trusted to engage in political discourse on their own for right now and just assume, for the sake of argument, that we are focusing on extending the current representative democracy.  Having worked within one of those democracies for years, I can shed some light on one of the major problems that will be solved through open government and eParticipation efforts worldwide.

Many representative democracies become captured by interest groups who have a significant amount of organizational impact.  Sometimes this power gets exerted in such a way to actually distort the real insight these impact groups have into what the mass of people inside the society actually believe.  If only 2 percent of an MPs district actually favor gun control, but have an organizational impact such that the electoral impact cannot be ignored, the policy affect is a distortion of what would be predicted in the tenets of representative democracy.  Now, if data is widely made available, participation is encouraged and energized, a new possibility comes to the defense of political leaders.  In response to the political demands of these interest groups, they will now have the comfort of real data, real participation and a higher fidelity model of the needs and desires of ALL of their constituents, not just those who belong to powerful organizations.  So, instead of simply bowing to the power of these groups, political leaders could now be free to pursue the issues and positions that drove them to political involvement in the first place.  So, far from disenfranchisement, the eParticipation and Open Government movement could actually encourage the brave political leaders now and in the future to continue to stand on the side of their electorate.

The costs involvedwith transformation are important as well.  But the real question is how effective is our current investment mix.  There is certainly a need for governments to provide services in many cases.  But we are also involved with many things that dont make much sense and would work far better, and at a lower cost structure, if we treated the need for service delivery as a platform engagement.  So if we were to help governments with a framework for analyzing their entire enterprise of investments, and help them to decide when a platform is to be invested in, when a service is to be provided directly but that delivery is to be commoditized and when political input dictates delivery regardless of efficiency, then we would get to a balanced set of investments.  That balanced set of investments would include the ability to handle the increase in demand for services coupled with the decrease in tax bases.  So if we view cost with a total enterprise view, it could actually be reduced in a new world.


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LATAM: Regional Government Cooperation making #gov20 and #opengov Possible

Regional cooperation a Must for Government 2.0 Success

Regional cooperation a Must for Government 2.0 Success

The first Microsoft Innovation Center in Reliable Governments (rGov MIC) was launched recently in conjunction with FIDEGOBin the City of Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico.

 This is the first center of its kind worldwide and it will be focusing in on:

-          Promote and facilitate reliable governments through mechanisms such as best practices in public management and sustainable and reusable ICT systems, including open government data

-          Recognize success and award prizes at international, national, regional and local level to governments related to exchange of knowledge, technology and training that promote efficiency, efficacy and excellence in sustainable public management

-          Will serve as a hub for government solutions where partners and customers can see solutions that fit their political and technical needs. This will also allow creating a community of specialized partners in the region to promote integration, deployment and satisfied citizens

-          This Center already signed an MoU with BiscayTIK from Biscay Province, Spain were the will share best practices in both regions and develop best practices for governments

This center will be working with governments across the LATAM region to achieve the best methodology to reduce the gap between government management and the use of technology and will also serve a repository for solutions, examples and model for the local ISV and SI community.

 Some of the Press coverage of a total of 23 articles (see ppt, for more articles):

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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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Citizen Centric or Citizen Driven: #gov20 as Repaving or #opengov Revolution – @JohnFMoore @AndreaDiMaio

Citizen Centric or Citizen Driven #gov20 or #opengov as Renovation or Reconstruction?

Citizen Centric or Citizen Driven #gov20 or #opengov as Renovation or Reconstruction?

I love engaged conversations with enlightened folks like John Moore.  His blog is awesome and definitely became a great place for me to spend more than a few hours reading some great insights.  We recently had a short 140char disagreementon citizen centricity versus citizen driven Government 2.0.  It is a minor differential on the surface, but dig a bit deeper and it may, in fact, be the difference between sustainable change in Government throughout the world and simply reinforcing existing modes of governance.

In his post covering the subject, John points out the basic debate.  Do citizens have a strategic role to fill or a tactical one.  While our default reaction to the dichotomy is to leverage citizens into strategic roles (who ever wants to be tactical :) ), I want to make clear that I actually think there is equity between the two pursuits.  Society, government, corporations and social movements all need both.  In fact, they need tactical warriors in far greater numbers than strategists, but I believe deeply that the need for both is roughly equal.

But I also believe that if Government 2.0 is pointed at fulfilling its aspiration to create Government as a Platform (GaaP) then we must insist that citizens serve both tactical and strategic roles at the same time. 

The tacticalneed is clear and John points out a good example at MDOT to prove the point.  I dont take issue with the need to be engaged, in fact I am passionate about it.  I believe that this entire effort for Government 2.0 and GaaP is meant to change the very nature of Government itself.  From the vending machines described by Tim O’Reilly into the platforms for change which are actually sustainable.

This belief comes from a bit of background.  I have worked for many efforts at sustainable change in society for some time now.  I have been a Civil Rights Attorney.  I have run for elected office myself.  I have driven campaigns and GOTV efforts for Members of Congress, Mayors, Governors and more.  I was the Political Director for the Service Employees International Union in Wisconsin and care deeply about change at its core.  I keynote about it in multiple countries, have done so on almost every continent (darn Antarctica) and brief every political and ICT leader I can about its importance.

But through that experience my current efforts are directed at sustainability.  Not the environmental kind, but sustaining change.  This experience informs the current debate.

A few core principles bring me to my conclusion that Citizens should *drive* the GaaP movement:

1)  Leadership Exists in Crowds not Individuals-  Both from personal and professional exploits, it became clear that this was true.  From getting my SOA advice from Erik Mickelson from four layers deep in my organization when I was the CIO in Wisconsin to a belief that insight on strategic direction can help guide large corporations through the weeds (see IBM’s Jam Sessions or our own (Microsoft’s) Think Week processes), crowdsourcing strategy is incredibly effective.  Not because it is socially good or politically correct, but rather, because the nature of change is that it affects stakeholders and better information is found closer to the ground than in the ivory towers I have sometimes been lucky enough to work in.

2)  Current Civics is Fundamentally Broken in Many Parts of the World and Tipping Toward Apathy – The temporal nature of change efforts could not be made more clear than in the current mid-term election cycle in the USA.  Change in 2008 was afoot and many of us could feel something real start to happen.  But, the process became one of repaving current roads, instead of recreating new pathswhich the crowd was in fact asking for.  Pure and absolute opportunity was turned into currently dangerous lack of focus and potential permanent apathy.  Change movements must become sustainable and toward that end, the strategic drivers themselves must change.

3)  Citizen as Object Does Not Reconstruct Civil Engagement – When citizens are merely central to the strategy, they continue to be acted upon and not engaged with to solve problems.  Through engagement we can achieve co-creation, ongoing engagement and a reconstruction of the nerves that have been broken over time.  Making the DMV line shorter does nothing to reengage our citizens power and intellect to make our republics  better places.  They relegate that activity to servicewhich happens outside of civic discourse, which is not bad in and of itself, but the separation allows the continued disinterest in civics to devolve.  Citizens as drivers will reconstruct the system, not reinforce it.

4)  Engaging Citizens Requires ALL to Take on New Responsibilities- John rightly points out that representative democracies were built to ensure that long term perspective could be retained in political and civil affairs.  And for a century or so that certainly worked around the world, with some exceptions of course.  But the current challenge is that we have some fatal examples that suggest that may no longer be the dominant paradigm.  Social Security systems throughout the world are at risk, because the threat is removed by a few decades.  It doesn’t seem to matter that the cataclysm will be enormous, representatives have NOT done what is needed to ensure security long term, due primarily to short term political disadvantage.  The economy went through the past few years of pain partially because of less than sustainable practices by public officials, both in terms of regulation of securities and banking interests as well as the critical roles that public mortgage entities were supposed to play.  Again, short term political quandaries halted multiple efforts by citizens and groups to halt the practices, but the existing structures protected short term advantage for a decade or maybe two.  The result, for all of us, was catastrophic.  So, the question is, if that system is not working, how do we fix it? 

We fix it by treating our citizens like the adults they are and engaging them in the process.  Which means they will need to take on new horizons in their consideration.  They will need to ensure that they act out of mutual or shared interest and not simply out of self interest.  They will need to expand time horizons beyond this quarter into a decade long and probably longer horizons.  And the object of the excercise needs to be civial society’s health itself, not simply short term national, local, political or personal advantage.  As citizens take their place at the strategic table, political leadership needs to embrace the precepts of “GaaP” in order to enable citizens to then also fulfil their tactical roles as spelled out well by John and others.

Related posts:

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 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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