What does Wiki Government mean for me?

And by me, I mean you. I want you to ask this, especially if you’re a Government minister and even more so if you’re a citizen.

In their Digital City leadership paper, New York CIty blends together a business strategy with new media technologies, and they also describe the use of “Crowdsourcing” techniques, such as ‘Integrate crowdsourcing tools for emergency situations’, and ‘Crowdsourcing and Competitions – Cultivating Public Participation’.

As described on Wikipedia, Crowdsourcing refers to using the Internet to harness groups of people to apply them as a single collective towards a particular task. It’s also known as Collective Intelligence and also Open Innovation.

Wiki Government – Collaborative democracy

The key point from these explanations is that its not just same random effect, but a repeatable best practice model, and when applied within the public sector it can be explicitly referenced as ‘Wiki Government’.

It’s often labelled as Government 2.0 however this is somewhat generic, whereas in contrast Wiki Government is a very specific topic based on real-world, pioneering thought leadership.

Indeed it’s specifically a book, written by Beth Noveck who pioneered the set up of the Open Government initiative for President Obama. Beth moved on to this role following her Peer to Patent portal, a groundbreaking project in transforming a Government process from “closed to Open.”

In this 40 page Harvard white paper Beth describes how the US Patent Office was building up a huge backlog of patent applications due to a ‘closed’ approach where only staff from the USPTO could review, contribute and decide upon applications. To address this bottleneck she migrated the process to an online, Open version where contributors from across multiple organizations could help move an application through the process via open web site inputs.

Peer to Patent is a headline example of the power of Open Government, because it demonstrates its about far more than simply publishing reporting information online in an open manner, so that they public can inspect data like procurement spending numbers. Rather it’s about changing the core decision-making processes entirely, reinventing how Government itself works from the inside out, reinventing it from a centralized hierarchical monolith to an agile, distributed peer to peer network.

This is what Participation is all about, and it delivers huge benefits. Governments are notoriously bureaucratic, and this causes slow workflows and associated heavy costs. “Openizing” them this way speeds them up and better yet, reduces their costs at the same time.

So, imagine this transformation applied to all Government processes! How much more efficient would Government become? What huge sums of cost savings could be achieved?

This is the essence of the headline question. Beth has written a book which distills the essence of Peer to Patent into a repeatable formula, so it can be rolled out this way. You can view it here and even download a sample chapter.

Read it, and then ask ‘What does Wiki Government mean for me?’

If you’re a citizen, ask how you want to participate more directly in Government?

If you’re the minister of an Government agency, ask how you can Openize your processes and deliver these public benefits and cost reductions?

Original post

Leave a Comment

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply