I went yesterday to the first Public Services 2.0 workshop I had ever heard about. It was held in Brussels by epractice.eu, an initiative of the European Commission. There were supposed to be around 100 people, though I didn’t count more than 60 and at the end of the session I think there were no more than 20 people in the room. Anyway, I took note of some very interesting practices.
Take good note of what the British and Dutch governments are doing, as Richard Stirling and Davied Van Berlo exposed. There are also some very interesting iniatives being carried out by IBM and Google, though this last company complained that transportation data are not standardized and it needs a person to do this work for GoogleTransit.
In the UK the private sector is doing many interesting things, such as the Social Innovation Camp or the social inclusion initiatives (for example, creating social networks for gypsies) of On Road Media. Many of the projects that were exposed were more democratization systems, as the Spanish 1001ideas para la sanidad pública, than Government 2.0 projects.
Anyway, the main conclusion is that social media is not only delivering transparency and efficiency to governments, but also user-involvement, user-empowerment and mass collaboration. And this is they key issue, though one of the hardest in Mediterranean countries. Last but not least, introducing open innovation in government projects can be a great recipe to avoid those huge technical projects that often do fail.
Other interesting initiatives that the British and Dutch governments are promoting:
– Public data will become open and standardized
– Governments will go where users are, which right now is in social networks. This means that governments will make widgets for Facebook
– Civil servants should participate in social media. This is why the British government is encouraging it through a recently published policy. Good to know their blog, Power of Information Task Force and their site, Show Us A Better Way
– Taxpayers should have a voice in deciding how public services are being delivered. Platforms for opinion making are being developed