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Citizen-driven does not mean weak government

by Andrea Di Maio  |  April 14, 2009  |  5 Comments

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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Category: social-networks-in-government  

Tags: citizen-driven  

Andrea Di Maio
Managing VP
19 years at Gartner
33 years IT industry

Andrea Di Maio is a managing vice president for public sector in Gartner Research, covering government and education. His personal research focus is on digital government strategies, open government, the business value of IT, smart cities, and the impact of technology on the future of government Read Full Bio

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