An article on Computerworld Australia – quoting Guy Cranswick from IBRS – suggests that government 2.0 initiatives would be too inward-looking, scarcely focused on citizens and lacking a clear communication strategy.
I did not read Guy’s report, which most likely gives a much clearer explanation for this, but while the above looks bad at first sight, I actually think it is a good thing.
My objection to many government 2.0 initiatives is that there is too much focus on engaging citizens and too little on looking at it as a toolkit for employees at all levels to do their job more effectively and efficiently. There is too much excitement and sense of ownership by communication and PR folks that by business unit managers and their staff.
Especially in the current economic climate, I do not see much of a problem with government 2.0 being focused at efficiency, and even less with an insufficient focus on communication.
While Guy’s makes an excellent point in saying that “It’s not a case of pushing information out, it’s not about just supply; it is about demand”, I would add that understanding demand in the context of concrete problems that government agencies need to solve can provide a much better sense of direction.
The yin and yang between providing and gathering information, between engaging citizens and re-engaging employees, between the wisdom of the crowd and the experience of your staff will determine how successful government 2.0 will be at solving actual problems rather than just stating important but abstract principles.