Andrea Di Maio doesn’t mince words when discussing Gov 2.0 on his blog. Di Maio, Gartner Research VP Distinguished Analyst, shares his thoughts on Gov 2.0 globally, what will happen in 2010 and how to filter the signal from the noise.
What’s your assessment of Gov 2.0 execution across the globe?
Gov 2.0 is primarily a bottom-up phenomenon. So, while nation-wide strategies on gov 2.0 in the US, UK and Australia, make people think those are the most advanced countries, reality is that there are many local and regional authorities as well as individual agencies across the globe that are trying out and sometimes succeeding in getting value out of gov 2.0. The assessment also depends on what people define as Gov 2.0. In most cases, this is equated to the combination of open government (more public data more easily available to people over the Internet) and the use of web 2.0 technologies for internal collaboration and external engagement. In my view, gov 2.0 is something much deeper, like the tip of the iceberg of socialization and commoditization of government data, processes and services. What we are seeing is the first phase, but the real (and disruptive) potential of gov 2.0 is still ahead of us.
What’s the signal v. noise in Gov 2.0?
Undoubtedly it is a much hyped phenomenon, so I would say that in many instances the ratio is not so good. However, if you apply the right filters, you can find interesting developments in several areas. I do believe people start getting the fundamentals of social media usage right: although many still look at that as a complementary communication channel and focus on developing agency and department Facebook pages, client conversation tell me that there is now a better understanding that engagement has to take place on the citizen’s turf, i.e. on their rather than on the government’s terms.
What does 2010 look like for Gov 2.0?
It is time to move from vision to execution and to fully understand that the single most important success factor is to empower government employees. The focus must be on refining social media policies and creating management frameworks that enable employees to use external social media in order to engage with existing groups and to advise their own agencies about whether and where to create a more institutional presence on selected social media and for selected topics. The other important aspect is to shift focus from information provision to information intelligence: in fact, while many governments (at all levels) seem obsessed with making public data more easily accessible (which is good), they are not putting sufficient emphasis on identifying, assessing and leveraging information that citizens collect on social media and can help in both service delivery and policy-making.
What’s your advice to Gov 2.0 implementers?
Make sure gov 2.0 is not limited to a small elite of visionary officials who blog, tweet and join barcamps and govcamps. The business value of joining communities and engaging external stakeholders must be shown by socializing examples where value has actually been created, and not only an idea that has a great potential. Also, look at the information management aspect: how to find communities and content that are relevant and how to identify external patterns that may help agencies do their job. We have seen early examples in areas like law enforcement or tax and benefit auditing, where examining external information (on Youtube, Flickr, Google Maps and the likes) has revealed patterns of fraudulent or criminal behavior. The same should be applied to more positive patterns: where is knowledge that can help fight unemployment or improve child welfare or better prioritize local policies?