Noted Gov 2.0 advisor and commentator John Wells is facilitating a panel session about Connected Government at the CeBIT Gov 2.0 Conference, to be held in Canberra on October 23-24 2012.
The Gov 2.0 conference panel session facilitated by John will feature international keynote speaker Zach Tumin (who leads the Harvard Kennedy School’s project in Information and Communications Technology and Public Policy), Deirdre O’Donnell (NSW Information Commissioner) and Martin Stewart-Weeks (internationally regarded public sector advisor and commentator from Cisco Systems Internet Business Services Group).
We spoke with John to shed light on the current big picture view of Gov 2.0 and Connected Government. He told us that:
“At Cofluence, together with my partner Allison Hornery, we’ve been looking at connected government around the world for the last few years”.
Through our international program Gov 2.0 Radio we’ve had the opportunity to talk with public sector leaders and commentators across a wide range of experiences and jurisdictions, from the White House to regional England; from open data gurus to citizen engagement practitioners”.
“Surprisingly perhaps, some still feel that Gov 2.0 is basically about social media, rather than an aspirational view of how to do better, more engaged government”.
“By connected government we mean the transition from an IT-focus to e-government through to Gov 2.0 and beyond to open government. In the jurisdictions that have done this well, this seems to be an evolutionary process of phases building on each other rather than a staged, linear ‘we’re done with this, let’s move on’ approach as some believe.”
“During this conference panel session we want to look at such issues as where Australian governments have arrived with Gov 2.0 as well as the future directions in which it may go, and how it meshes with emerging open government agendas for all governments, whether federal, state or local”.
“One of the things we’ll explore is the perceived challenges of open government and how they can often also be great opportunities for new ways of improving service delivery and linking with citizens in important ways. Together with the international keynote Zach Tumin we will be mashing up the international, national and the local perspectives on connected government”.
John said that it should be a great panel session because:
“Deirdre O’Donnell appreciates what it means to be implementing new policies for a major government jurisdiction in times of rapid and constant transition as well austerity that face most western governments”.
“Open Government is one of the 32 key deliverables of the NSW State Plan and the Information Commissioner has the mandate to oversee the implementation of open government for the state of NSW. Deirdre is well regarded as someone who takes that mandate seriously and is currently partway through the process of engaging with all state departments and other relevant interests”.
“Martin Stewart-Weeks has a global perspective of the drivers behind connected government. He was part of an initiative that surveyed over 100 senior public servants around the world in 2011 to ‘map the mood’ of the public service.”
“One significant theme was resilience. Commonly, public servants are needing to know how to meet more needs, in more cost-effective ways. The challenge for any tech-driven program is to prove it can deliver services, engage citizens and better enable the public conversation without being a huge hit to the departmental hip pocket”.
“Promisingly, one of the new things we’re seeing happen for government in Australia at federal and state levels is the emergence of grassroots-led exploratory innovation events, such as GovCamps and GovJams. These are providing an opportunity for experimentation in open collaborative dialogue around Gov 2.0 and open government as well as important new thinking around public service innovation. There’s been a few now in Canberra, Sydney and elsewhere”.
“Around the world, GovCamps, TransparencyCamps, CrisisCamps and others are creating spaces where people from a wide cross section of roles in the public service can meet and share ideas with civic minded people who may be policy consultants, hackers or civic innovators looking to contribute to making constructive change around innovation for public service”.
“As the head of one leading department in Australia has said recently, ‘The public sector cannot hold all the answers and must look beyond itself in developing solutions to public issues.’ It’s encouraging to see the signs of truly connected government sprouting in ways that point to new opportunities for the public service as well as citizens. It’s a challenging time, but it’s also an exciting time”.