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Information Follows the Hierarchy

Information wants to be free may be a slogan that is en vogue with technology activists but it is also a slogan that diametrically opposed to how bureaucracy actually works.

Le triangle des bermudes

On the Internet information is omnidirectional; it is easy to find, verify and re-purpose. Whereas in the bureaucracy, information is at best bidirectional (much of it is actually unidirectional); it is difficult to locate, verify and re-purpose.

In short, inside the bureaucracy information follows the hierarchy, which in turn creates a need-to-know culture, a culture where information is parceled out slowly if at all.

This, in my humble opinion, will be the core challenge that needs to be addressed in back offices of any bureaucracy looking to deliver on Open Government for its citizenry.

Originally published by Nick Charney at cpsrenewal.ca


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Mark Forman

Fascinating post. We live in a world where these unidirectional silos of information are also redundant. More importantly, almost all of government information comes from data collected using government forms. There are 6000 federal forms used to collect government information. How many in your organization? How much of the unidirectional information is just a rehash or version of similar information collected from a single entity by mulitple government data collection forms, and how much of that is now available on-line?