Archive for the ‘ egovernment ’ Category

John Naughton on the White House’s use of Drupal

John Naughton follows up Tim O’Reilly’s post that the White House website is now powered by Drupal with the following comment:

Particularly interesting is the fact that the team cites greater security as one of the reasons for moving. this suggests a pretty sophisticated β€” for policymakers, anyway β€” understanding of the argument that proprietary software is, paradoxically, likely to be less secure than open software.

Somehow, I can’t see the UK government getting that. Brown & Co still think Microsoft is cutting edge.

They may well do John. But its the geeks, not the politicians, that push these things on. Have you not noticed all the WordPress love around Whitehall over the last two years?

Craig Newmark on the challenges to transformational government

Craig Newmark, founder of the awesome Craigslist, was in London a recently as part of the Travelling Geeks visit to the UK. I was lucky enough to meet him (briefly) at Reboot Britain. Its not often you get to meet a god of the web…..(Incidentally, Craig gave an interesting talk at Reboot Britain on how the internet aids democracy. Worth checking out – its the sixth vid clip down).

On his blog, and back home in the US, he reflects on the challenges to transformational government in the UK and US (hint, its not rationalising websites). He says something that I am hearing (and agreeing with) increasingly often:

“the tech is the easy part, the real challenge involves professional and emotional buy-in and commitment…”

Though he refers to government tech workers, I think the challenge lies beyond them and points more towards the non-tech literates (or tech illiterates?). In particular, the senior decision makers who have the power to enable change.

If you hadn’t already seen his piece, its well worth a read.

Its getting busy north of the border

Scotland that is, not Ulster πŸ™‚

Old mucker Alex Stobart, another recent escapee from the civil service and organiser of the first government social media type event in Scotland, is building up a head of steam pushing the web2 agenda in the public sector.

He recently launched a website, Scotweb2, to map developments in scottish government online participation, collaboration et al.

But that’s not all, as well as getting a scottish public sector barcamp off the ground later this month, there’s a Scotweb2 event on 19th June and he’s also involved in bringing ****** ********** **** (something really good) to Scotland the same weekend (Update: Wasn’t supposed to mention that yet. More news when I have it).

Nice one Alex, keep it up.

Us Now – go see

I was lucky enough to snag a ticket to go and see Us Now at the RSA on Wednesday night.

Us Now, by Ivo Gormley, is a film about the power of online collaboration and communities – and what that might mean for future government. Its very powerful, highlighting some excellent case studies and interviewing a range of experts (its worth seeing for Ed Miliband’s appearance alone I think).

Others have already written better reviews than I could so all I will say is – its fantastic, go and see it.

There’s another preview viewing next Wednesday evening in London and there are still (free) tickets available. If you’re around, I highly recommend going along. This is one hour of your life you won’t regret giving up.

Ticket details here.

Government barcamp – the sequel

People have been asking me almost since the end of the last one when the next government barcamp would be held.

I’ve been reluctant to be involved in planning or organising it, partly because I thought there were plenty of others who could take it on (and it was a lot of work to get off the ground), partly because I wasn’t sure why we needed to have another one (otherwise someone else would have organised it?).

Doing something to follow up the barcamp has been on my mind for some time and I’ve thrown out all sorts of ideas without any real conclusion to the discussions.

Anyway it just so happened that two days ago discussion about a follow up barcamp came up on three separate occasions. Over lunch with two of my fellow conspirators from the first barcamp I was persuaded encouraged by them that now is the right time to think about another event.

Why? Because so much has happened in the last year of egovernment. In January 2008 it was all about making connections, getting the network going, and thinking about the possibilities.

But a year on, there’s a lot to show for the energy generated by the barcamp. Great social media projects, brilliant initiatives to make better use of government data, excellent work to improve existing government websites, and a geek minister.

Its never easy for us all to get together to share what we’ve done, how we did it, what went well, what went not so well. What you’re planning next.

So, what are you doing on Saturday 31st January 2009? Don’t know where it will be yet (but have a few ideas) or what will happen. But as I learnt to my cost last year, that’s all part of the fun. Hope you can make it.