Here’s his thoughts on how web 2.0 can be best applied in government:
What area of government offers the biggest opportunity for improvement via Web 2.0 tools?
My background is in conflict studies and organizational management, so it’s no surprise that the largest opportunity I see is better internal collaboration enabled by Web 2.0. For example, since the adoption of GCPEDIA (the Government of Canada’s official government-wide wiki) I have seen innovation through collaboration that would have been otherwise unattainable, and we are only at the tip of the iceberg.
I agree, my experience with GCpedia (sorry, link internal to GoC) has been really good so far – much better then I would have expected in fact. This wiki and other platforms (especially Twitter) have allowed me to connect with other public servants who’ve got similar interests and are dealing with similar issues. So, government 2.0 as public servants using collaborative technology to work more effectively. Fair enough; and an obvious first step.
But I would think that the greatest opportunities for government 2.0 are those with external focus – using the web to improve our relationship with citizens and stakeholders. After all, public service is ultimately what us bureaucrats are here for.
So what exactly? Just adding blog-style commenting functionality to government web content would be a huge improvement. But here’s some more evolved forms of externally focused web 2.0 use by government:
- policy consultations: I’m thinking true online consultations here, where discussion can occur in a visible way, rather than the more usual way of asking for input online via an email address for making submissions. Recent examples bookmarked in my delicious account.
- service delivery: many opportunities here, from providing data online (the idea behind data.gov) to web-based updates of more traditional forms of customer service, such as help desks – I could see use of Twitter in this light.
- marketing and promotion: various marketing activities are a natural for web 2.0 use by government: social marketing (for example, lookit this cool thing from getprepared.gc.ca – complete with a Common Craft video!) and recruitment campaigns spring instantly to mind.
- media/public/stakeholder relations: the rise of the participatory web means that if government wants to get the story out about issue X or program Y, it needs to be present in the social media space – both listening and storytelling. So being in touch with key bloggers, being present on social networks, the list goes on.