Blog post

Citizen-driven does not mean weak government

By Andrea Di Maio | April 14, 2009 | 0 Comments

social networks in government

Earlier today I was having an email conversation with a few colleagues about the whole concept of citizen-driven government(Gartner clients can see the relevant research note) and I realized that the term can be interpreted in different ways. One extreme interpretation is that somebody may decide not to pay taxes just because it is not equitable, or people may decide to take justice in their own ends by replacing juries with crowds who decide about whether somebody is guilty or not by voting on the Internet.

Whereas one cannot rule out such extreme scenarios in a more distant future, I believe that the most interesting aspect of citizen-driven government today is that it can help and complement governments in areas that are being challenged by the lack of resources or just the scale of the problem to face. Examples include social security and employment support, as well as the immense task of ensuring that stimulus or financial bail-out money get spent wisely and effectively: in all these cases engaging citizens through social media can help.

This view of citizen-driven government is one where governments focus of the objectives they are trying to achieve, and on outcomes rather than outputs. They are obsessed with striking the right balance between tasks for which they need to retain direct control and those for which they can rely on self-organized citizen groups (be they businesses, charities, or social networks).

Citizen-driven means smarter, not weaker government.

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