Monday, March 29, 2010

Rating government performance online

Cheryl from the Victorian eGovernment Resource Centre recently brought to my attention the launch of the BrandKarma website.

The website aggregates information about top brands and allows the public to indicate whether they love, hate or want to watch them. It also allows comments and, in the best social networking style, the creation of personal profiles and 'friending' of others.

With a little more development the site will also probably support communities around brands - people who hate them and people who love them, potentially becoming a source of information and influence for others.

How is this important for government? Substitute 'brand' with 'agency' and you get a very interesting approach to rating government agencies and collecting user feedback.

It would be interesting to see how many people, for example, loved DIITR rather than hated them, and in comparison how many loved and hated DEEWR, DAFF, DHS or Defense - and why.

This type of site could make many public servants and politicians uncomfortable, just as BrandKarma is likely to make companies uncomfortable. However it also offers enormous opportunity for brands (or agencies) to engage, address their faults and, where necessary, turn community views around.

This type of internet-based public customer feedback is part of the new reality - just as PatientOpinion is now part of the UK's health landscape.

What is particularly interesting to me is whether governments will take the step of making it possible to publicly laud or complain about their agencies, or whether it will be left to the private sector - leaving government with less ability to influence.

Time will tell - but maybe not much time. It wouldn't require much modification to BrandKarma to launch GovernmentKarma.

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