WRITTEN ON June 14th, 2010 BY William Heath AND STORED IN Design: Co-creation, Ideal Goverment - project

The original “Ideal Government” agenda – quick wins; co-creative service design; foundation of trust – is now happening so thick and fast I’m not even pretending to keep up with it. That’s because Ideal Government stuff is now a fringe hobby topic for me; I’m fully focussed on new ways we can all protect, manage and realise the value of our personal data (with Mydex CIC) and with what this means in terms of opportunities and threats for large organisations (Ctrl-Shift Ltd).

What I’d say on the “ideal government” agenda which we’ve been watching and commenting on here since 2004 is just this:

– much or most government IT is still “far from ideal” too expensive; ineffective; poorly designed; large parts of it of dubious legality under European data protection and human rights law

– there’s a terrific start in open data and the quick wins arising from mashups etc, but we’re barely 5% into just this part of the new agenda. There’s so much more to come. We can have theories about the implications of it but we’ve yet to see the reality in all its glory and unintended/unexpected consequences.

– We haven’t yet seriously started on co-creation or participative public services where the systems delivered are formally designed successfully to meet a real need, and created, measured and improved with active input from those it’s intended to help

– Nor have we seriously addressed the questions around personal data and the foundation of trust. Cancellation of the benighted ID scheme and Contactpoint is barely more than a welcome signal of intent.

We have yet to deliver really good public-service IT in the manner Google started to deliver good search in c. 2001. When it’s really convenient and helpful people (cf Google then, or Facebook c 2007) people will adopt it. Martha will prevail, eventually.

Only once we/they’ve adopted it en masse will people seriously think about the consequences and underlying implications and start to ask the hard questions about whether we’re right to trust it (cf Google Buzz 2010, Facebook 2010 or even BP 2010). What Ross Anderson and FIPR have to say is both urgent and important now, but I fear it may be 20-25 years until people catch up with it.

All that is just a preamble, or context, to the observation that this visualisation of government IT spend is wonderful. Thank heavens people such as dharmafly and the Open Knowledge Foundation are getting excited and making stuff.

2 Responses to “Ideal Government context to a wonderful bit of gov spend visualisation”


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The mother of invention? | Local Democracy wrote on June 22nd, 2010 12:18 pm :

[…] you’re not a regular over at William Heath’s Ideal Government blog, this post is a good introduction to his general themes. In his overview of his preoccupations, this one […]