The design method

May 10, 2012

On a slightly tangential track, and those who know me know I love tangents, I found a great post on Richard Layman’s blog on urban design. His recent post ‘All the talk of e-government, digital government, and open source government is really about employing the design method’ actually says it all in the title, and if that isn’t clear to you he writes that all these things are essentially about process redesign – how true!

As well as promoting the work of John Friedmann, of which I wasn’t aware but now am going to read, he links this to design method and design thinking, which wouldn’t appear to be a million miles away from systems thinking. Richard then goes on to criticize the thinking that believes social media, apps, web and cloud will change government. He recognizes that it’s all really about processes – it doesn’t matter how good an app is, if the process behind it is rubbish, it’ll be rubbish. Similarly he states that ‘”open government” is really about process redesign’.

If all town/transport planners were as broad thinking I suspect the world would be a different place…


Gov 2.0 again

January 1, 2010

Andrea di Maio of Gartner has hit one particular nail on the head in his blog from December 23 2009 entitled “Vendors and Consultants Should Not Be Driving Government 2.0“. In my view, they shouldn’t have been driving Government 1.o or e-government, but largely were, either having got themselves into political seats of power or acting as the power behind the thrones.

What should happening? Well better procurement for a start, instead of getting picked off one-by-one by suppliers and consultancy companies, government bodies and local authorities should be getting together and telling the suppliers and consultants what the citizen wants and what their role might be in providing that, if they want the business.

Money is short now at the taxpayer level and if we are going to match that situation at a government level we’ll have to sharpen up process and outcome across the board and stop reinventing wobbly wheels! We can’t keep shelling out for every new technical fad and fashion or be expected to pay for the bloatware some suppliers sell us as software applications.

United we stand, divided we keep paying through the nose!

Andrea also picks up am interesting “Top ten for Gov 2.0 in 2009“. Government IT staff will appreciate number one!


December 14, 2009

A long-time lurker on the W3C e-government  group, J.H.Snider, posted links to his  2001 commentary in Government Technology, E-Government vs. E-Democracy where he argued “that it is harmful to equate e-government with e-democracy reform because the motivations leading to the two types of reform are so different.  If you are a government official opposed to e-democracy but supportive of e-government, I think conflating the two terms is good political strategy.  But if you’re a democratic reformer, you want to reserve separate terms for e-government and e-democracy.”

He also provides a link to a more recent article of his on the politics of e-democracy entitled “Would You Ask Turkeys to Mandate Thanksgiving? The Dismal Politics of Legislative Transparency“, published in the Spring 2009 issue of the Journal of Information Technology & Politics.  

I have little trouble agreeing with him having found e-democracy often sidelined, one way or the other, in the e-government debate by officials, politicials and academics. Some using e-democracy as a sales pitch for e-government, some the other way, whilst some just mix the two up. I continue to ask, as Snider does,
whether politicians are going to delegate power that easily!

If you are of a less cynical outlook you may be more appreciative of the new 388 page book from Stanford University “Online Deliberation: Design, Research, and Practice” from editors Todd Davies and Seeta Pena Gangadharan  (Creative Commons licensed) and its free for the PDF!

E-government – back in the news?

November 22, 2009

On Thursday 19 November 2009 The Guardian’s Michael Cross published a piece entitled “It’s now time for e-government policy to take the spotlight.”

In his usual charming manner Michael highlights the ignorance of one minister just three years ago, but concludes that 13 years on from the Conservative Green Paper, something might finally happen. I suspect that 13 years is still too soon and Micahel is being optimistic, but what is the cause of his optimism? It’s the EU Ministerial Conference in Malmo, Sweden. For the UK, Bill McCluggage, John Suffolk’s deputy was talking about “A Future that is Efficient, Sustainable and Responsible.”

Andrea di Maio picks up the latest declatation on his blog and does his usual thorough analysis and ends up slightly confused as to where it stands with Gov 2.0, although I suspect for the UK this probably takes on the observation by Michael Cross as to which way we go next year after the election – there are, of course, at least two choices, open up the data or give it to the private sector to open up!

William Heath was also in attendance anf he praises Ton Zilstra’s summary of the event.

Vote for the Great E-mancipator

October 8, 2009

Vote for the Great E-mancipator in the Computer Weekly 2009 Blog Awards

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