History lesson

Two recent stories consider how we have now got to e-government (indirectly). The first was posted on the MIT Technology Review and reveals some of the background behind the Internet’s development, less a case of a military requirement than one of sharing resources and developing open source.

The second was a posting on Richard Heek’s blog ICTs for Development entitled ‘The First e-Government Research Paper’, which reveals a paper from W. Howard Gammon published in Public Administration Review in 1954. The paper, whilst it couldn’t actually use the term ‘e-government’ which appeared in the 1990’s, was about government ICT. Richard picks out eight examples of advice that Gammon gave to those considering government ICT, all of which remain appropriate today, particularly now we have the DWP doing its own thing around Universal Credit!

The highlights include:

  • knowing what must be done rather than the technology to do it
  • employing trials
  • looking at the system first
  • top management support
  • hybrid management
  • procedural, economic and social problems must be resolved first
  • impact assessment needs total cost of ownership
In April 2008 I wrote a post about ‘History repeating itself‘, one would hope humankind and its politicians, and enforcers, will someday learn from history.

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