Building an app store for government: challenges and opportunities

Category: NGOs & Government
Published on Jan 27, 2010

As part of a multi-year research effort to understand how wikinomics and web 2.0 was changing the nature of government and democracy, my research associates and I argued that governments–perhaps more than any other institution–could benefit enormously from broad-based shift to cloud computing. That idea is gathering steam and in some leading jurisdictions it’s becoming a reality. Where most governments build mainframes and buy expensive software, a growing number of IT leaders in government are consolidating computing […]

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Rebooting Iceland with Wikinomics

Category: Business & Economics | NGOs & Government
Published on Jan 18, 2010

Less than four weeks after Lehman Brothers collapsed on September 15, 2008, Iceland became one of the first and most dramatic national casualties of the global financial crisis. Its three largest banks had all been nationalized. Its government was driven from office. The national debt skyrocketed and the value of its currency plummeted as mass unemployment and inflation brought the whole economy to a virtual standstill. It appeared that Iceland, once considered a rising star, was […]

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China’s information society dilemma and the Ghosts of Tiananmen

Category: Media & Technology | NGOs & Government
Published on Jan 14, 2010

Google’s clash with China raises some more fundamental questions. It’s now been 20 years since the June 4th incident in Tiananmen and political change has been, as Mao predicted, “like crossing a river, feeling for the pebbles one at a time.” The question, over the long term, is whether the ghosts of Tiananmen will come back to haunt China in ways its leadership could not have predicted. Just as India aspires to be more than the […]

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History repeated? Combining the efficiency of markets with the values of community

Category: Business & Economics | NGOs & Government
Published on Apr 06, 2009

My quote of the day comes straight out of a political science textbook, but it rings so true today: “The lesson that capitalist countries needed to combine the efficiency of markets with the broader values of community … did not come to them easily. It took the calamitous collapse of the Victorian era of globalization — into worldwide war, followed by extreme left wing revolution in Russia, extreme right wing revolution in Italy and Germany, […]

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Open Forum Europe: the Openness Imperative

Category: NGOs & Government
Published on Apr 06, 2009

Open Forum Europe 2009 is another highlight in a lengthing list of engagements this spring. I will giving a keynote, along with Vint Cerf,  at what promises to be a lively dialogue between the open source community and European policy-makers. Open standards and open source software already enjoy widespread support in Europe, particularly among governments who fear the influence of Microsoft and other proprietary software vendors. So this year’s conference will examine some of the issues […]

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Georgetown U’s public policy dialogue

Category: NGOs & Government
Published on Apr 06, 2009

I’ve been invited to give a talk at Georgetown University on April 16th as part of its public policy dialogue series. The talk is open to the public, but space is limited so RRSP soon if you’d like to attend. Here’s a summary: From its first few weeks in office, the new administration has emphasized the need for innovation in the public sector and called for dramatically more productive, equitable and transparent services. Fortunately, new […]

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The New Transparency

Category: NGOs & Government
Published on Mar 10, 2009

I was on the Agenda with Steve Paikin last Friday discussing transparency in government along with Maryantonett Flumian,  a professor of public and international affairs at the University of Ottawa, Leslie Harris, president of the Center for Democracy and Technology, and Globe and Mail columnist Mathew Ingram (Ingram 2.0).  You can view the replay below.

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What Do They Know? Making Freedom of Information Requests Easy

Category: NGOs & Government
Published on Mar 10, 2009

The right to make freedom of information requests is in enshrined in most democratic countries (Wikipedia says 70 countries have such legislation). But how often is that right actually invoked? My guess is that it’s vastly underutilized and that most members of the public would be surprised to know what they could find out  if only they asked. Part of the issue is that few people are aware of the appropriate process for filing a […]

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Stimulus Watch

Category: NGOs & Government
Published on Feb 20, 2009

There’s something else missing from recovery.gov altogether (see below):  the ability for citizens to have input into which projects get funded in their jurisdictions. Stimuluswatch.org, evidently a work in progress, provides an interesting (albeit imperfect) example of how this might work. Launched by team led by Jerry Brito at George Mason University, the site encourages citizens around the country with local knowledge about the proposed “shovel-ready” projects in their city to find, discuss and rate those projects. The list […]

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Recovery.gov: Off to a slow start

Category: NGOs & Government
Published on Feb 20, 2009

Although recovery.gov was launched on the same day Obama signed the stimulus bill, I’ve been holding back on posting until there was a bit more substance to report on. There’s still no meat unfortunately (the graphic below is about as detailed as the information currently gets), but I’ll provide my 2 cents anyways. Obama has promised that the spending authorized by the stimulus bill will be subject to unprecedented transparency and accountability. Although there is […]

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