e-governmentThe idea that government can benefit from Web 2.0 and all its implications is exciting, to say the least.  The notion that government, though technology, can become a “platform” for its citizens, is an incredibly compelling idea who’s time has come.

I’m highly sensitized to this movement towards Government 2.0 for at least three reasons:

  1. My company has a very active research program called Government 2.0 – Wikinomics, Government and Democracy, and we are increasingly working in this space.
  2. The US now has our first ever CIO, Vivek Kundra, who last week urged the use of Web 2.0 approaches to address the needs of government.
  3. I’m a US federal, state and county taxpayer who often feels like he’s getting relatively poor return on his taxes!

Government as a Platform

Last year, my company completed research on Platforms for Business Growth.  This project defined a platform as:

A set of assets whose roles and connections are defined so that they can be configured in a variety of useful ways.

Platform thinking is fundamentally about defining and publishing the specifications and ground rules for what assets do and how they connect. And the power of a platform grows as it incorporates more assets.  When you publish your platform externally – to customers, suppliers, other business partners, and, in the case of Government 2.0, to your citizens and taxpayers, they have better means of collaborating with you.  Your assets and platforms become extensions of theirs and vice versa.  Think of all the information locked in government data bases, and the implications of opening up API’s (with due regard to privacy and security), and getting all this information into hands that need it and can use it?  Progress has already been made by many agencies with self-service driver licenses and so forth.  These services save the government money, increase responsiveness, empower the citizens and generally improve satisfaction with government services.  Imagine where this could go in the future?

Dion Hinchliffe on Building a Vision for Government 2.0

With that said, I can do no better than point you to this insightful post from the ever enlightening Dion Hinchcliffe.  I consider this to be a landmark post – mandatory reading for anyone who’s ever paid taxes and/or is interested in the potential for and implications of Web 2.0 to the world of government and commerce – beyond simple social networking, and knowing that “Amy is running before breakfast” as one of the first messages to me that came up on Facebook said this morning!

Graphic courtesy of Public Org Theory

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