Friday, February 13, 2009

Distributed governance: what it means to Us, now

David Eaves, whom I met at VanChangecamp on Wednesday, is involved in panel discussions on the Future of the Public Service stories. A good gig.

What's needed are public service illustrations of Here Comes Everybody (the fact that Shirky appears in the US Now trailer is not a fluke) - i.e. they are stories that have to do with recognising and using distributed intelligence in governance.

As in all times of upheaval, the political center is not holding - if only for financial reasons. It makes sense that in this new climate, we leverage better what we have - in governance, as in all things, we see a move to optimizing distributed intelligence. Wikipedia applied to governance...

The Bowen roads tool story is proof of concept/ illustration of distributed intelligence in action, that enhances public service. That the Govt should share data and everybody use it ( the 2005-6 TTC story) is also a good thread. Note that the Bowen tool thread is a little different: an example of ground-up data production that impacts governance.

Hypothesis: over the next few years, big changes in
- the average politicians' job and psychographic profile
- the average govt beurocrat's administrator's job and psychographic profile

Overall, less to do with making policy from nothing, at the central level, and more on facilitating and filtering it.

There are many positive impacts of better use of distributed intelligence. For example: Open and accessible tools can do more make us aware that there are lonely people in our neighborhood: they engage us in solving this problem. What a (paid) municipal agency would do in this case is not clear, but if some of its role is taken back by citizens, it follows that the agency would need less funding.

So, we can plan both for role changes at the administration and political level, as govt make room for Everybody. We can also expect to require fewer municipal employees.

No comments: