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Posts Tagged ‘wikinomics’

I find often that discussions about social media and web 2.0 in government often turn to demographics to answer the “why should we care about this stuff?” question.

Fair enough, there’s value in the idea of getting on the 2.0 train because this is what the digital natives who are starting to enter the workforce expect from the workplace, and it’s also what digital natives — who will become our biggest stakeholder segment soon — will expect from their government.

But that actually gives an excuse to bureaucrats who aren’t digital natives to continue NOT caring. I guess the thinking would go along the lines of “oh, it’s not about me, it’s about those kids with their iPods” or “I’m gonna retire soon so I can leave this stuff to the poor sucker gets stuck in my job after I’m outta here.”

So I find myself turning to the economic (wikinomics) argument for getting into web 2.0 in government. That web 2.0 represents a new mode of production that is in the making – based on collaboration and sharing, rather than protecting data, information and intelligence.

This is a much more radical, far-reaching notion. If we really are embarking on a new way of generating wealth and economic value, then this cannot be ignored. It affects everyone, whether digital native or immigrant (or luddite!). But it’s not as straightforward an argument to make, since it’s about the big picture. There’s huge policy implications that we are only just starting to get a glimpse of.

I know that I haven’t really got a good handle on the wikinomics idea (I still haven’t finished reading the book, not that that’ll really help me and my wee communicators’ brain) — but I think it’s pretty clear that we are seeing some radical changes around us thanks to massive-scale digital networking. Whether it’s Google’s ascendancy, the death spiral of the big record labels and Hollywood studios, or Barack Obama’s campaign 2.0 south of the 49th. And those are just three quick examples …

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I discovered two PS Renewal focussed blogs this week – CPSRenewal.ca and Contrarian Thinking. Like me, these folks are federal public servants blogging from a personal point of view in an effort to push things forward. Both good reads, worth the time to check them out.

One of these bloggers asked me what my focus was — while this blog is mainly about exploring social media and web 2.0 from a government communicator’s perspective in an effort to see what sticks (like a spaghetti test, see?), I think there are obvious links with the GoC’s current PS Renewal agenda. After all, if you are looking to attract digital natives to come work for the civil service, you are going to have to accept online social networks, wikis and similar technologies.

And it would seem that federal policy makers are saying the right things about this. Here’s an infographic from that presentation on Govt 2.0 that I mentioned recently:

infographic of the GoC\'s web 2.0 objectives highlighted to show overlap with PS Renewal.

(click on the graphic to see it at full size)

I think that this shows quite clearly how adopting Web 2.0 in government can support PS Renewal efforts: according to this slide, the GoC’s Web 2.0 strategy aims to “help create a modern, vibrant government workplace to attract bright, young talent to the public service.”

But it’s more than just the technologies themselves — it’s what they imply, too. F’r instance, using Web 2.0 technologies requires open collaboration and sharing (a Wikinomics approach). Contrast this to the usual “silo” setup where different government organizations don’t talk to each other unless they absolutely have to. There has to be a cultural shift in order to really make Government 2.0 work — and that kind of change is going to take a LOT of time and effort. Much harder to effect than getting the adoption of the technologies alone.

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