You may have heard the story of how on May 3, 2008, 40,000 volunteers picked up all the trash in the country of Estonia. Since then, similar “Let’s Do It” actions have been organized from Bangalore to New Dehli.
In the U.S., there’s been a lot of action around technology and government, and conferences with tag lines like, “Private Sector Solutions Meet Government Challenges.” Two major points of energy in what’s called the Gov 2.0 or Open Government movement have been transparency, pushed by organizations like the Sunlight Foundation, and the “open data” movement, harnessing governments’ propensity for statistics to create handy mobile programs for organizing and accessing useful information on parking, recycling, available taxis and neighborhood crime data.
But I’ve always seen Gov 2.0’s greatest potential as unleashing projects like Let’s Do It, harnessing collective energy and talent to overcome big civic challenges. Could San Francisco create a Let’s Do It project to collectively map all of the dumping and graffiti in the city and take it on in a massive day of volunteer action involving muralists, City workers, business sponsors, neighbors and volunteers from around the Bay?
I think so.