One of the most profound short term needs in government is for a modern knowledge management system. Why start with Jimmy Kimmel? Those of you familiar with the US comedian know that he occassionally sends out folks to interview the average person on the street about issues facing their lives. In this case it was about the US Government’s Affordable Care Act. To save anyone embarrassment further on, the Affordable Care Act supports Health Insurance Marketplaces where Americans who are uninsured can purchase insurance. And yes, the website crashed on the opening day, but that is another, unrelated matter. What you need to know is that the Affordable Care Act is also known as ObamaCare.
As I am profoundly apolitical, the only point here is that Kimmel had the question posed, “Which do you prefer, the Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare?” Now you know, wherever you are, that they are the same thing. But here is the answer that was typically given:
When asked about ObamaCare, the answer was, “I think there’s a lot of holes in it, and I think it needs to be revamped,” “The Affordable Care Act is better,” ….
When asked about the Affordable Care Act, the answer was: “Yes, I favor it over ObamaCare.
The issue of Knowledge is of tremendous concern, frustration, and waste. Consider a tiny effect of the US Government Shutdown: US National Park Rangers are unaware of exactly what they can or cannot, may or should do or say to citizens or visitors who want to enter National Parks. They are forced to rely on information phoned in and messaged from person to person, and the result is massive misinformation, disinformation, and lack of information. These amazing and friendly government workers (and if you have ever interacted with them, you know too that they are just incredible and dedicated) end up sounding unintelligent, causing frustration all around.
There is no need for these knowledge gaps. Modern knowledge management systems understand syntax, they understand context, they get semantics, they are great at deep and contextual search of a broad array of information sources.
So what is lacking? So far governments have not embarked on an audit of the true cost of poor knowledge management. It undoubtedly stretches into the many billions of dollars in wasted time spent by citizens and government employees.
Who in government will step up and decide to serve the people? What will make the change happen?
You are always a great source of good examples: let me know what you have seen that works and I’ll pass it on!!!