Web 3.0

February 17, 2011

If you didn’t have enough problems keeping up with social media and Web 2.0, watch out because Web 3.0 is on the horizon, or is at least being talked about! Colleagues in the USA are considering it right now as a way of anticipating citizens requirements, says an article in GovTech dated 1 February 2011.

Personally I’m not sure about this yet. The Circles of Need developed by Aperia for Chorley Borough Council are one way of anticipating requirements by citizens but the addition of layers of technology, because we can are able to may lead to the potential nightmares highlighted in the concept of the new conditionality.

In fact the article converges on a combination of employing open data, the semantic web and what is currently science fiction. I’m sure citizens would be better served by the rationalizing of government processes and silo-breaking across government agencies. Apart from that, where’s Gov 2.0 got us?

ICT, in all its forms, should be just a tool to assist in improving life, not adding further complexity


Multi-channel engagement – part 3

May 18, 2010

In the time-honoured tradition of the media industry, I’m rolling this topic out a for a further episode!  When one is writing a dissertation you are expected to keep up to speed with the academic literature on the topic, so having quoted papers from 2006 and 2007 in the previous post I’ve now uncovered a more recent one from Sweden following the similar line of inquiry.

From a special edition, vol 2009:2,  of the International Journal of Public Information Systems we have “Public e-Services from the Citizens’ Perspective – Adopting a Market Orientation” by Åsa Wallström, Anne Engström, Esmail Salehi-Sangari and Maria Ek Styvén.

The authors’ approach to better e-government is by employing a marketing one, something that has already been encouraged in the UK by the Cabinet Office. However, they do accept that this approach needs to be tailored for the public sector! Importantly they take a differing approach to segmentation, as on p.127 –

“In education, for example, a distinction can be made among those who ultimately pay for the service (taxpayers), those who are responsible for how the money is used (Ministry of Education and Research), those who decide what services should be supplied (principals and teachers), and those who are the direct users of the educational service (pupils/students) [Stokes and Lomax, 2008]. In such a case, who is the customer? Due to the difficulty in identifying the customer, public organizations must carefully consider to whom the marketing initiative should be addressed, e.g., who should be informed, educated, convinced and how? In education, for example, a distinction can be made among those who ultimately pay for the service (taxpayers), those who are responsible for how the money is used (Ministry of Education and Research), those who decide what services should be supplied (principals and teachers), and those who are the direct users of the educational service (pupils/students). In such a case, who is the customer? Due to the difficulty in identifying the customer, public organizations must carefully consider to whom the marketing initiative should be addressed, e.g., who should be informed, educated, convinced and how?”

Having said this, it is still necessary to be mindful of where we begin the process, which they pick up in their conclusion on p.131 –

“By following a market-oriented approach and placing citizens at the point of departure, public organizations can develop customized e-services. An understanding of citizens’ needs, attitudes, and behaviors is crucial in order to be able to develop, implement, and communicate public e-services that citizens will use.”

Not a million miles from some UK initiatives, such as the Chorley “Circle of Needs”, but again, they do emphasize the necessity of not borrowing wholesale from the private sector!


Need and satisfaction

May 6, 2009

My thanks go to Ian (Cuddles) Cuddy at Public Sector Forums, who on the same day he’d discovered the news, informed me about the publication on Chorley Council’s web site of the final documents to come out of all their work on ‘circles of need’.

It must be a year since I mentioned the original introductory report that had been done. The latest documents fill out a lot of the detail and learning since the original proposal. Bravely, on page 34 there is an admission that: “If published, such a model would be too complex to be useful and by saying everything says nothing. ” So they decided to focus on the strongest links. Well done!

Importantly from this person’s view there is an even braver admission: “There is plenty of evidence from Local Authorities that customers are cheaper to server if they are migrated to cheaper channels such as the telephone or the Internet, but there is no way of knowing if these customers in the longer term  are ‘cheaper to serve’.” On this basis, the project has developed a ‘cost to access’ formula, and a ‘customer satisfaction tool’ (an eleven question survey).

Incidentally, there is also the output from Chorley et al’s work on a Business Process Architecture , which is mentioned in the report.