07 Sep Urgency and Government 2.0
Many people involved in the movement that is Government 2.0 want it to happen. Now. Not least of all, I’ve been guilty of harbouring such desires. But perhaps it’s not necessary, as Andrea Di Maio noted recently.
Like all things good, open government will eventually come to those of us who wait. Of course, that’s not to say we shouldn’t be doing something active in the meantime. Passivity has no value in this case. We can be all of anxious for change within government, encouraging and doing something of our own to trigger that change.
I’m progressively more of the view that in the case of open government, Government 2.0, or whatever else we choose to call it, one of two things will happen – either governments will take some level (there’s obviously a continuum here) of action, or they’ll do nothing.
In the former case, that action will lie somewhere between releasing a little data, or starting an open consultation or any number of other things that are “toe in the water” efforts, and something toward the opposite end of the scale where they both release an action plan as the Victorian (Australia) Government has and enforce it through a combination of coercive and encouraging actions.
Most governments in the West, on a whole-of-government level, seem to be doing something. It’s at the agency and individual level that reticence becomes more visible. This will change, over time, as do all things associated with complex cultural shifts. Make no mistake, Government 2.0 is a profound cultural shift for both organisations and the individuals within them.
In the case of doing nothing, eventually the community will route around the damage and do something for themselves, making the bits of government that could have had a hand in the solution more or less redundant. With smarts, sometimes those bits of government then come on board.
So, no, Government 2.0 isn’t necessarily urgent in and of itself, because it’s already happening. However we all have a hand in making it happen, whether we’re inside a government agency, a citizen anxious for government to interact more openly with us, a developer keen to make something amazing with open PSI.
Where we can and where it’s appropriate, certainly, we should encourage urgency. But it needn’t be in every case.