WRITTEN ON December 19th, 2008 BY William Heath AND STORED IN Data nitwittery, Design: Co-creation, Foundation of Trust, Transformational Government, What do we want?, Wibbipedia/MindtheGap

The idea of user-driven data (also called buyer-centric commerce, customer managaged relationships, or vendor relationship management – VRM) offers a powerful antidote to the database state. Instead of endless central registers sharing data to form a sort of toxic soup, users (citizens, taxpayers, parents, patients – you and me) would be equipped with a data store and the ability selectively to disclose or share what was appropriate with differents parts of the public service.

We know it better, it’s our data, and we care more about having the right data in the right place and right time. It’s the easy and respectful way to achieve a proper healthy ecosystem of personalisaton and choice. And it supports the sort of data minimisation and privacy by design that would reduce data nitwittery and start to restore trust.

Now Doc Searls has drafted some “founding principles” for the VRM wiki:

VRM Principles

1. Relationships are voluntary.
2. Customers are born free and independent of vendors.
3. Customers control their own data. They can share data selectively and control the terms of its use.
4. Customers are points of integration and origination for their own data.
5. Customers can assert their own terms of engagement and service.
6. Customers are free to express their demands and intentions outside any company’s control.

These can all be summed up in the statement Free customers are more valuable than captive ones.

In a broader way, the same should be true of individuals relating to organizations. With VRM, however, our primary focus is on customer relationships with vendors, or sellers.

I think that, just like Kim’s seven laws of identity all those years ago, this early draft needs some feedback so that the principles of VRM are broadened to address the CRM-like problems of Transformational Government. I think that means a small broadening of principles, and a revision of the language. What do you think?

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