Government 2.0 – only connect…

“Only connect… Live in fragments no longer.” E. M. Forster, Howards End (1910).

Government 2.0?

The lightweight, collaborative, multiway technologies emerging across the web, and the new patterns of social interaction associated with them, are about to transform the shape of government, our experience of government, and our participation in government. To misquote Clay Shirky: government that’s targeted at you but doesn’t include you may not be worth sitting still for.

But what kinds of government will emerge from this process?

Paul Johnston and the Connected Republic team have been thinking deeply about this, and today published Seven Principles of Government 2.0 that articulate their sense of the ways in which things may be different.

Their suggested principles are:

  1. A less Hierarchical Public Sector: Government 2.0 will have moved away from command and control, devolving much more decision-making to local units and frontline staff.
  2. A Collaborative, Joined-up Public Sector: Government 2.0 will offer a more joined-up face to citizens and will use collaborative models and tools to break down silo barriers, maximise the use of precious resources and dramatically reduce process time cycles.
  3. A Public Purpose Sector: The boundaries of Government 2.0 will be wider and more flexible, enabling creation of public value by a ‘public purpose’ sector which will be much broader and more diverse than the traditional public sector.
  4. Empowered Citizens: Government 2.0 will enable citizens to do more for themselves, either individually or collectively, as co-producers of services and shapers of public policies.
  5. A Feedback-driven Public Sector: Government 2.0 will be radically closer to citizens and will give multiple and real opportunities for feedback, and will ensure the feedback has a real impact in shaping its decisions.
  6. Open and Transparent Government: Government 2.0 will be radically more open and transparent than current models in relation to policy making, service delivery, internal administration and accountability processes.
  7. Facilitative Government: Government 2.0 will see government’s role shift much more towards creating context, orchestrating and facilitating, rather than controlling and delivering, public discourse and service delivery.

In keeping with the spirit of the analysis, the principles are open for discussion on a new wiki on the Connected Republic site.

On your way over to wiki, you might also like to glance at: Personal Democracy Forum 2008: Rebooting the System, From Wikinomics to Government 2.0 (via Don Tapscott), How Web 2.0 can Reinvent Government, and Liza Sabater’s The Cluetrain Manifesto for People Powered Politics.


3 Responses to “Government 2.0 – only connect…”

  1. Nick Booth on May 14th, 2008 5:53 pm

    This are clearly great aspirations and ones which I share.

    A couple of things though: greater freedom of communication will, to a certain degree, require some of these things to come aout. At the same time the political instinct to sniff out power and control it will probably be at odds with that process.

    The interesting analysis lies in how we navigate the messy space between those aspirations and reality.

  2. David on May 14th, 2008 11:14 pm

    Thanks Nick: interesting indeed; not least because it’s an exploratory process for all involved.

    The potentially transformatory realisation, I think, from a government perspective is that the inherent loosening of control leads to greater influence.

    The potentially transformatory realisation, I think, from a citizen’s perspective, is that the inherent loosening of control leads to greater responsibility.

  3. Confluence: Self Service on June 26th, 2008 9:00 am


    What Is Web 2.0…

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