Inside E-Government Lehrgang, John Gotze

Excerpts form Prof. Dr. John Gotze’s  lecture at Danube-University Krems, E-Government course. The author if this blog-post could not attend the whole lecture, so the coverage lacks some parts!

…Obama won the US presidential elections with support of social media. Howard Dean already used social media in his campaign for presidential candidate but it was probably not the right time and the campaign had its problems. Obama on the other hand used social media very well and incorporated it in his offline campaign. As president, he transformed government with his Open Government Directive.

Government should be:

  • Transparent (architecture of illumination)
  • Participatory (architecture of participation)
  • Collaborative (architecture of fruition)

Transparency in society has always been a relevant topic. The question was who gets the transparent point of view. CCTV and mobile phone tracking are relevant issues in nowadays society. There is a lot of pseudo-participation under the guise of participation. These movements become more open as open source projects show. Eventually, openness supports better development in participatory projects.

One of the most famous initiatives of the Open Government Directive is the portal Data.gov. While the US offers governmental data to the citizens, the European (PSI-directive) wants to sell it. Both approaches state that data is valuable. If agencies believe their data to be too critical, they tend to publish useless data, just for the sake of putting data online. Open culture must be established within governmental agencies and these agencies must realise the benefits for society by putting relevant data online. In Europe, most countries have laws that hinder data-portals.

The gov2.0 agenda incorporates web2.0, open technologies and democracy. These agendas become relevant in many countries around the globe. For example, Kasachstan enforces gov2.0 strategies as the president is in favour of these agendas. This country steadily moves up in gov2.0 rankings of the UN. Also African countries jump on the gov2.0 hype, even though literacy might still be a big problem. Australia is among the most interesting countries to follow e-government and government 2.0.

The Australian example

„Government 2.0 involves a public policy shift to create a culture of openness and transparency, where government is willing to engage with and listen to its citizens; and to make available the vast national resource of non-sensitive public sector information. Government 2.0 empowers citizens and public servants alike to directly collaborate in their own governance by harnessing the opportunities presented by technology.
The three pillars of Government 2.0 are:

  • The application of Web 2.0 collaborative tools and practices to the processes of government
  • Open access to public sector information (PSI)
  • Leadership, policy and governance to achieve the necessary shifts in public sector culture and practice

Government 2.0 will subtly change the relationship between government and its citizens.“

(Source: Government 2.0 Taskforce)

Enterprise 2.0 defined

Enterprise 2.0 is basically government 2.0 for the private sector. The concept of Flatnesses was introduced by Andrew McAffee and Dion Hinchcliffe: Freeform, Links, Authorship, Tagging, Network-orientated, Extensions, Search, Social, Emergence, Signals. (cf. Dion Hinchcliffe’s Blog) Enterprises and governments create guidelines for civil servants how to use social media. Private use of social media and talking about government issues in private time can become a delicate issue. Email and classical file drives become outdated nowadays. The information the users have to deal with becomes too much and new solutions become necessary. Email and classical files drives do not incorporate the concept of Flatnesses anymore. Wikis become very popular in internal use and the incorporate many aspects of the Flatnesses concept. However, making mistakes is easy, even though they can be corrected by peers.

Open Data

Tim Berners-Lee was asked by the British government, back then Gorden Brown, to create the open data strategies for the Britain. Berners-Lee presented a five star stystem for measuring the quality of open data. (cf. inkdroid) Getting the first star is usually most difficult because it includes the fundamental decision to actually publish open data. …

ROI of Gov 2.0 / Web 2.0 use

… among other factors: better decisions through improved access to relevant knowledge and content, collaboration among stakeholders, using the little bits of knowledge of employees en masse to provide better direction, more agile enterprise through improved connections and ambient awareness. Challenges: “It’s not information overload, it’s filter failure.” Clay Shirky. Only 1 % of users are heavy contributors and 9 % are regular contributors. The rest, 90 %, are lurkers, users who just look and follow passively what is going on. …

Characteristics of Danish eGov

… Good infrastructure: broadband, registers, traditional involvement of the 3rd sector. High rates of ICT adoption in population (92 % possible broadband internet access, 93 % mobile phones). Strong political will: action plans for digitizing society since 1995, digital taskforce, E-days (=campaigns to use the governmental online services. E-Day 3 to come in Sept. 2010). Also in Denmark there were a couple of crucial mistakes when introducing eGovernment to the public. The online ID for citizens is only gradually accepted.

FruITion Strategy

Book recommendation: Chris Potts, FruITion. The FruITion strategy follows the these steps. First Generation: Technology, Second Generation: IT Efficiency, Thrid Generation: explorITation, Fourth Generation: FruITion.

Government is the most complex and hugest enterprise someone can imagine. Government has to cope with everything and cannot focus on niches, like businesses can.

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