Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Changing the World, One Step at a Time

As some readers of this blog may be aware, I've had the opportunity to present on a number of occasions on the topic of government and Web 2.0. It's pretty obvious from where I'm standing that there is a lot of interest in pursuing Web 2.0 to enable the kind of cross organizational and government assistance collaboration required to make government really successful.

Paul MacMillan
and I have tended to structure the presentation in two parts, where Paul gives a brief introduction of Web 2.0 and then proceeds to provide some great examples of where Web 2.0 is currently being used by governments around the world. I then tend to follow up with a discussion on what are some of the first things government organization should do in order to adopt not only Web 2.0 technology but a Web 2.0 "culture". I was genuinely surprised by the incredibly positive feedback and enthusiasm expressed by the audience concerning Web 2.0 adoption. Clearly the issue of how to get started is on the top of a lot of people's minds within government. The Canadian federal government is also starting to make some "Web 2.0" purchases, which while encouraging, might indicate an attempt to follow a traditional top-down mindset to a topic that clearly requires more collaborative, grassroots driven thinking to take close off.

Because of the perceived interest, we have started working on a
sequel to our original government 2.0 paper, Change the World or the World Will Change You that will be focused on advice, best practices, and
that could make governments more successful when adopting Web 2.0. I plan to leverage a lot of the excellent patterns posted on wikipatterns , as well as continue to contribute patterns on an ongoing basis. Rather than developing the paper exclusively within our organization, I'm hoping to be able to share my thoughts and comments with the public as they evolve, and try to get feedback from anybody else out there who is equally passionate about the topic. So please feel free to suggest, flame, argue or otherwise criticize/contribute to any of the posts relating to Government 2.0 adoption.

To start, I've posted a overview of what I feel to be a successful government web 2.0 that emphasizes adoption in three stages. The first stage involves numerous incubation pilots, where the focus is on creativity, small targeted objectives, and a lot of learning by doing. In my opinion, members of government need to start getting more comfortable with experimentation and prototyping using a small team close rather than massive upfront design on massive scale. The second stage could still be thought of as prototyping, but now the effort focuses on how to better integrate Web 2.0 technology and culture within a government organization. Basically the focus here is creating a set of blueprints that can serve as the basis for larger adoption, again learning by doing and trial and error is way more important than philosophy and conjecture. The final stage, mainstream adoption is basically a self-fulfilling prophecy, providing leadership continues to focus on removing many of the roadblocks that will get in the way.

Feel free to post any initial comments here, or on the
overview itself.

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