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Applying the New Capitalist Manifesto to Open Government

Posted on by Stephen Collins in Featured | 6 Comments

As a part of the research work I’m doing for my book, I’m read­ing rad­i­cal econ­o­mist, Umair Haque’s, The New Cap­i­tal­ist Man­i­festo. In it, Haque posits a set of Laws for the 21st Cen­tury busi­ness and describes some­thing that, though referred to in the book, is laid out else­where as The Mean­ing Organ­i­sa­tion. Given my deep inter­est not only in the busi­ness inno­va­tion Haque’s book argues for, but also in open gov­ern­ment, I’ve been think­ing about how these laws might be mod­i­fied to fit a world of open gov­ern­ment, fit to gov­ern for the future. Cer­tainly, gov­ern­ment around the world oper­ates much like the dinosaur busi­nesses Haque argues against. Much gov­ern­ing, and indeed pol­i­tics, is done in the cause of expe­di­ency, for a quick fix or to quiet a restive cit­i­zenry or oppo­si­tion. While the over­all aims of most demo­c­ra­tic gov­ern­ment may be wor­thy, gov­ern­ing is rarely done with gen­er­a­tional social …

AGIMO releases Government 2.0 Primer

Posted on by Stephen Collins in Featured | Comments Off

It’s taken sev­eral months from incep­tion to release, and it’s under­gone a num­ber of changes and addi­tions since I last saw it, but a project acid­labs con­tributed to for AGIMO sev­eral months ago  —  The Gov­ern­ment 2.0 Primer  —  has finally been released. And with an appro­pri­ately open license of CC-​​​​BY, no less! It’s a piece of work that I’m par­tic­u­larly proud to have had a hand in, as I think it adds real value and sub­stance to the cor­pus of Aus­tralian (and poten­tially inter­na­tional) Gov­ern­ment 2.0 think­ing. A great num­ber of peo­ple, both here and overseas,  helped acid­labs pre­pare our con­tri­bu­tion to the Primer. Most par­tic­u­larly, I’d like to acknowl­edge case stud­ies, head-​​​​checks and read-​​​​throughs from the fol­low­ing peo­ple: Reem Abde­laty, Local Gov­ern­ment and Shires Asso­ci­a­tion of New South Wales Nathanael Boehm, Depart­ment of Human Ser­vices Dom Camp­bell, Future­Gov Madeleine Clif­ford, Depart­ment of Health and Age­ing Alli­son Denny-​​​​Collins, Aus­tralian Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion Ser­vice Hilary Hartley, …

Open government in a Wikileaks world

Posted on by Stephen Collins in Featured | 3 Comments

This item was writ­ten for Gov­ern­ment Tech­nol­ogy Review and will be pub­lished in the Decem­ber 2010 edi­tion. There’s an uncom­fort­able feel­ing in the open gov­ern­ment world at the moment. Many of us, keen to see the agen­cies we work for and with embrace a more open way of doing their work  —  shar­ing infor­ma­tion, data and policy-​​​​making with an inter­ested pub­lic and other agen­cies  —  con­tinue to strive to bring our col­leagues, employ­ers and clients into the world of open gov­ern­ment. On the flip side of the coin (or maybe not), we have organ­i­sa­tions such as Wik­ileaks reveal­ing large vol­umes of for­merly con­fi­den­tial infor­ma­tion (some­times it’s at higher clas­si­fi­ca­tions, which makes it more prob­lem­atic). Unsur­pris­ingly, some orga­ni­za­tions (and the peo­ple in them) express valid con­cerns about mass scale leaks and the rev­e­la­tions they could hold if some­one like Wik­ileaks obtained them and chose to release them. They see these con­cerns as a jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for …

One to watch

Posted on by Stephen Collins in Featured | 4 Comments

Smart­Com­pany and noted Aus­tralian busi­ness jour­nal­ist, Brad Howarth, have included acid­labs in their list of Australia’s 25 top busi­ness blogs. That’s quite the call, and we’re espe­cially proud of being included. Whether we’re work­ing with clients, writ­ing about our views, deliv­er­ing con­fer­ence talks or organ­is­ing events like TEDx­Can­berra, we focus on being informed and infor­ma­tive and to mak­ing a dif­fer­ence to the organ­i­sa­tions, busi­nesses and peo­ple we touch. Thanks!

What now for Government 2.0 in Australia?

Posted on by Stephen Collins in Featured | 3 Comments

Now that gov­ern­ment has been formed, we get to return to busi­ness. This raises some real ques­tions for those inter­ested in Gov­ern­ment 2.0 and open gov­ern­ment in this coun­try. Given Labor has been returned, albeit in a sin­gu­larly inter­est­ing and dif­fer­ent form, the work of the last 18 months to reform gov­ern­ment in Aus­tralia can con­tinue. In her speech yes­ter­day, the Prime Min­is­ter declared hers would be one of the most “open and account­able” gov­ern­ments Aus­tralia has ever had. Cou­pled with the Dec­la­ra­tion of Open Gov­ern­ment, this bodes well, but the Aus­tralian peo­ple, espe­cially those of us actively inter­ested in these things, should hold the gov­ern­ment account­able for this dec­la­ra­tion. This shouldn’t be too hard. I don’t believe these were empty words; I really do think that this gov­ern­ment, and the APS, want to be more open. We’re in a good posi­tion for a renais­sance. Now that we have some parliamentary …

Government 2.0…it can be a reality

Posted on by Stephen Collins in Featured | Comments Off

Aus­tralian pub­lic pol­icy blog, Unleashed, pub­lished by our national broad­caster, the ABC, has a new piece by me enti­tled Gov­ern­ment 2.0…it can be a real­ity on what it would take to trans­form gov­ern­ment to really get Gov­ern­ment 2.0 right. At around 800 words, it doesn’t go deep. It’s just the first of sev­eral pieces I intend writ­ing on this theme. I’ve repro­duced the arti­cle below should you wish to com­ment here, though I’d be glad for your com­ments and crit­i­cisms either at Unleashed or here. Since com­ing to power in late 2007, the gov­ern­ment has run a con­sis­tent agenda of pub­lic sec­tor reform. Begin­ning with the amend­ments to the Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act to encour­age a pro-​​​​disclosure model for the release of pub­lic sec­tor infor­ma­tion (PSI), there has now also been the report of the Gov­ern­ment 2.0 Task­force, PM&C Sec­re­tary, Terry Moran’s blue­print for pub­lic sec­tor reform and the Aus­tralian Pub­lic Ser­vice Man­age­ment Advi­sory Com­mit­tee report onpub­lic sector …

Government response to the Government 2.0 Taskforce Report — my thoughts

Posted on by Stephen Collins in Featured | 8 Comments

Today, the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment responded to the report of the Gov­ern­ment 2.0 Task­force. While this response has taken rather longer than I would have hoped, that the gov­ern­ment has responded in what appears to be an emerg­ing elec­tion period, with many pol­icy changes cur­rently in the pub­lic eye, means I am more than pleased that the response has taken place. In the spirit of Sen­a­tor Kate Lundy’s invi­ta­tion to respond in her announce­ment today, my response is offered in a sim­i­lar spirit; I am aware that work­ing with and for the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment is a sig­nif­i­cant part of the bread and but­ter that is acid­labs’ busi­ness, but nobody and no pol­icy from the gov­ern­ment ought be immune to crit­i­cism, whether pos­i­tive or neg­a­tive in nature. I hope that politi­cians involved in this process and the pub­lic ser­vants work­ing for them read this post and con­sider these views along with the inevitable …

Focussing on the voice of the customer

Posted on by Stephen Collins in Featured | 11 Comments

When we’re design­ing prod­ucts, appli­ca­tions and ser­vices, we always bang on about how impor­tant it is to con­sider the cus­tomer, or user (I’m going to use those terms inter­change­ably in this post). But just how much do we really con­sider them? And how often do we com­pro­mise in favor of some prod­uct or busi­ness lim­i­ta­tion? While I realise (abun­dantly so) that we can prob­a­bly never cre­ate the per­fect prod­uct or ser­vice, I’d like to argue in this post that the pri­mary con­sid­er­a­tion we need to focus on as user expe­ri­ence design­ers, ser­vice design­ers, mar­keters or what­ever, is the voice and view of the cus­tomer. I don’t think it hap­pens nearly enough, nor well enough. And, truth be told, I’m as guilty as any­one of this. Let me set the scene. You’re design­ing, or redesign­ing your prod­uct or ser­vice or your web site or your bricks and mor­tar store (or doing it for …

Much promise, many miles to travel — my thoughts on the Government 2.0 Taskforce draft report

Posted on by Stephen Collins in Featured | 7 Comments

The release ear­lier this week of the draft report of the Gov­ern­ment 2.0 Task­force has the poten­tial to be a water­shed moment in the man­age­ment and deliv­ery of gov­ern­ment and its ser­vices to the peo­ple of Aus­tralia. I find it more than a lit­tle inter­est­ing that after not much more than pass­ing inter­est in the Taskforce’s work from any­thing except the Aus­tralian tech­nol­ogy media, the main­stream media has now picked up the story and seems fas­ci­nated. It’s also more than a touch humor­ous that the report from Australia’s lead­ing finan­cial news­pa­per, the Aus­tralian Finan­cial Review, had to be copy-​​​​pasted into a post at the Task­force blog because of the AFR’s ridicu­lous and reader-​​​​unfriendly pay­wall. Oth­ers, both in the pub­lic sec­tor and exter­nal to it have voiced the view that the report is well writ­ten, addresses all the right issues and sug­gests a num­ber of well-​​​​considered approaches to the prob­lems of …