Gov 2.0 and the Need to Develop the Appropriate Framework for Collaboration
- Friday, 16 December 2011 12:16
- Written by Louis P.
Gov 2.0: a cultural advance.
Web 2.0 technologies create a fundamental shift in the way government agencies conduct their business. By using the Internet as a platform for generating ideas, designing policy and deploying services, these technologies have started to knock down the walls that block the flow of information in the public sector.
Web 2.0 technologies foster interactive, collaborative spaces that allow users to participate more actively in the process of creating and sharing content and insights and work out solutions. It could also permit unprecedented collaboration among individuals within agencies, among different agencies and jurisdictions and between government, its partners and its constituents.
But this shift won’t happen with the introduction of Web 2.0 technologies alone. Web 2.0 is a tool – for Gov 2.0 to occur however, we need to establish the appropriate policy framework to let those bottom-up processes to thrive.
To this end, underpinning the successful development of a collaborative government capability are necessary, governance and organizational changes that Web 2.0 technologies merely enable. Government leaders must understand both the business case and the requisite organizational and governance changes that a shift to mass collaboration entails.
Enhance idea generation and problem identification through bottom-up innovation: The more input you receive—the more data points, opinions, complaints, suggestions—the more likely you are to get at the truth of a situation. By soliciting input from a broader group, government officials gain a richer understanding of the world in which they operate. Such insights foster better decision making. Blogs, wikis and other forums for the exchange of ideas can help government develop this kind of awareness.
Collaborative policy development: Big challenges demand far bigger responses than any one agency or body of experts can provide. Web 2.0 technologies provide ways for a broad array of experts and stakeholders to pool knowledge and resources.
Transform how government work gets done: Stovepiped organizations and rigid hierarchies keep individuals from putting their heads together to share information and solve common problems. Web 2.0 can foster collaboration across the entire organizational chart and beyond. Collaborative technologies, for example, allow employees to reorganize around specific projects and problems.
Recruit the next generation of civil servants: Public sector employers must figure out how to attract the next generation of government workers. Members of the Millennial Generation see Web 2.0 technologies as indispensable, and they assume their workplace will make these tools available. For governments trying to engage young people as employees and constituents, Web 2.0 may help lure the next generation of civil servants into government organizations, and heighten retention for those who have already come through the doors.
Some success stories:
AFRICA 4 ALL: Launched in five Southern African countries, The Africa4All Parliamentary Initiative consists of an online platform equipped with web 2.0 e-participation tools such as letters to officials, ePetitions, dedicated spaces for deliberation, to facilitate the online dialogue between citizens and their government, and overcome trust and communication deficits.
The initiative also provides a single collaborative space, where the representatives from all five countries can interact with one another and share best practices, thereby fostering inter-state legislative collaboration.
e-CONSENSUS: Gov2u set up a single portal which provides access to 42 municipal sites in Catalonia, including city councils, citizens and local associations, in the objective of improving communication between councils and the citizens they serve; fostering public consultation over the Internet; and providing virtual forums to help citizens organize communities of interest and participate more effectively and constructively in public life.
We also created an e-voting function, as well as a dedicated citizen community space where citizens can create their own page, select different participation and interactive tools, enabling others to consult the documents they post, deliberate and collaborate on anything of concern.
ACAPARTICIPACIO is an online platform which uses our award-wining Gov2demOSS, where citizens, NGOs, companies and governments representatives from the region of Catalonia meet, in order to share knowledge, ideas, and suggestions related to the management of the Catalan rivers system and water basins. The initiative is an innovative and efficient method to administer regional water management and planning, ensuring that both citizens’ and specialists’ concerns and suggestions are taken into consideration.
Acaparticipacio gives public authorities the opportunity to break down traditional power structures and start filtering ideas and policy input based on value rather than origin, thereby making government actions rich, efficient, sustainable and above all, democratic.