Government As A Platform

Government is a lot like the weather. Everybody complains about it, nobody does anything about it.
I was once told, “The problem with government workers is they don’t have any customers.” That would create behavior. No customers means no meaningful feedback, no praise for doing right. That’s an ugly career.
Something has to change. Our current system is too expensive in money, exertion, citizen effort, and value created.
Tim O’Reilly has a three minute video on the next generation of government where he says we should consider government as a platform.
What’s A Platform?
When was the last time you got a message from Amazon that said go to the back of the line and spend two hours coming back to the counter, as the form we just gave you is out of date?
I’m a library addict. I know the staff, and we’ve been through some entertaining years adopting technology.
I now order more than half of my books from the library over the Internet. They send an email when the book is available. They send daily emails when a book is about to be overdue.
Yesterday was they first time they scanned, but didn’t stamp, card, or write a return date on the book. The Librarian said, “We’ll send you an email before they are due.”
A completed system, easier for the librarians, much easier for the customers. More books checked out per hour, better control of the assets, maybe even time to guide readers. Not a clerk, a librarian!
And that’s government as a platform.

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Phil Simon

Platforms make things easier in part because much of the innovation is externalized. Companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google are all doing well because they’ve effectively harnessed the power of their ecosystems. Government ought to do the same.

Phil Simon

Dick Davies

“Innovation is externalized” and you get to use the best.

Hadn’t thought of that. Thanks Phil!

…and thank you for commentin’!

Chris Cairns

I like the idea. There are a lot of government services that I’m not sure how you’d “platformize” exactly, but as long as you think about the ultimate customer or stakeholder of that service, then I’m sure you could.

Dick Davies

Good thought Chris. We have to concentrate on the benefit to the customer. When I hear professors saying education includes staring at a bucolic campus, I wonder how important that is.

…and thank you for commenting!