Dave Winer on Twitter’s growing pains:
And all the trouble scaling has meant that new features show up in the center at a snail’s pace, while the pace of innovation at the edges is furious, and limited by the slow growth at the center.
Me: wondering how the centre/edge analogy might apply to government? I work at the centre more or less, in one of the larger, core Departments of the GoC here in the capital. Innovation is tricky for us, since we are dominated by process, by concerns over policy compliance, by byzantine layers of approvals. The mere size of the org means that it takes a long time to figure out who you need to know to be able to do whatever new thing it is you want to do.
Aside: somebody slipped me a copy of the approvals chart they use for their situation — it had more than 10 executives listed on it. Crazy! It’s a wonder anything gets a green light at all in a system like that.
So maybe this is a case of “grass is greener” thinking, but I wonder if at the edges of the federal government, innovating is any easier? By edges:
- in geographic terms, such as in regional offices – the idea being that the further you are from Ottawa, the less what goes on in Ottawa tends to matter
- in terms of reporting relationships, such as the various “arm’s length” organizations or crown corporations or partnerships of various types (fed-prov f’r instance), which seem to be able to do their own thing more successfully
- or perhaps even in terms of size, since there’s fewer people to win over in small orgs. Come to think of it, small orgs tend to be edge more than centre in the first two senses also.
So I wonder.