As a Gartner analyst I travel and live a lot outside of my home country, which is Italy. Actually, my entire professional life, even before joining Gartner, has led me to work abroad with international partners and client. This means that I have plenty of opportunities to look at my country almost as an outsider,
This morning a colleague told me about a recent statement from Mr. Renato Brunetta, the Italian Minister for Public Administration and Innovation, who just announced that he wants to prevent government employees from accessing Facebook (see news in Italian), most likely in an attempt to increase their productivity. Over the last year, Mr Brunetta led several battles to fight absenteeism and to make employees more productive.
This particular one, though, is almost ironical. In fact, as a politician, Mr Brunetta has his own page on Facebook, with over 50,000 fans: on that page he has often spoken highly about the innovative power of the Internet (see this, also in Italian). However when it comes to employees, he threatens to introduce filters that will make Facebook inaccessible.
I have been covering this topic a number of times in my blog, and what I observe outside Italy is the exact opposite. Government departments that used to prevent access to external media sites, now allow access either on case by case basis or to all employees (see my latest post). Later today or tomorrow I will post about further interesting client conversations in North America and how social media are becoming mission-critical to government organizations.
On the other hand many would say that the irony of this case is embedded in the name of Mr.Brunetta’s ministry: maybe Public Administration and Innovation make an oxymoron, and certainly so in my country.