This morning, I got a chance to attend the Ottawa premiere of Us Now, a UK documentary film about the implications of online collaboration for government. Fascinating film. There was a brief panel discussion also, including the director, Ivo Gormley, along with David Hume (of Mass LBP), Mark Kuznicki (ChangeCamp guy) and Maryantonett Flumian of the Univeristy of Ottawa.
Then dove in deeper with illustrations that were completely new to me– like the story of Ebbsfleet United, a struggling football club that crowdsourced its starting lineups for a season and eventually won their divisional championship. And Zopa, a company that uses principles of mass collaboration to re-imagine the banking business as a platform for individuals to lend and borrow, organized on micro-financing lines. All interspersed with insightful interviews with big thinkers like Don Tapscott and Clay Shirky.
Actually, I mentioned to someone after the event that watching the clips with Tapscott helped to crystallize his Wikinomics principles for me in a way that I just couldn’t get from the book. (Am I becoming more visual and less textual? Or is it just because it’s a second encounter with these ideas?)
The panel afterwards felt a bit rushed, but at least I got to hear Gormley mention that mass collaboration is not the only path forward for government 2.0, rather it will start to take hold in situations where it makes practical sense. Almost as if the participatory web will self-organize to take over those roles of government that can best be handled this way (Not sure if I’ve paraphrased it right here, because it seems a bit deterministic when written like that).
I was madly scribbling notes throughout the film, there were lots of great things I felt I needed to record for later. But thinking about it again now, I feel like I was distracting myself a little. I’m thinking that I really should watch the film again without pen in hand, to give it my undivided attention. Luckily, at the end of the panel session, the emcee will be another screening at the Canada School of the Public Service in March.