Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The difference between Gov 1.0 and Gov 2.0 - as demonstrated by the Queensland and Victorian State Governments

I see a lot of examples of Gov 1.0 and Gov 2.0 these days, but one I saw recently struck me an an object example of the differences between these approaches - how far Australian government has come, and how far there is left to go.

In May the Victorian government quietly launched its ICT Plan Blog to consult online on issues related to the production and use of ICT.

As the blog's About us page states,
This ICT Plan Blog exists for people interested in contributing to the Victorian Government’s consideration of issues relating to the production and use of information and communication technology (ICT). Interested users are encouraged to share their ideas and thoughts. This discussion will assist in shaping the Victorian Government’s future policy and actions.

In the same month the Queensland government launched the quarterly ICT in Focus online newsletter, which was billed as,
your quarterly newsletter to keep you updated on the activities of Queensland Government ICT, the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Division of the Queensland Government Department of Public Works. The department is Queensland's lead agency in the application of whole-of-Government information management and ICT. The aim of this newsletter is to provide you with progress on our initiatives.

The difference between the two speaks volumes about the internal struggles in understanding and culture that are going on within governments in Australia and around the world.

Victoria's ICT PLan Blog is designed to consult and engage the public in an active debate about the state government's ICT plans and policies. It recognises that the community and commercial sector are involved and active participants in government with significant stakes in what government does and how it does it.

Queensland's ICT in Focus newsletter is designed to tell the public what the government has decided to do. Its approach suggests that the government knows best and, while acknowledging that the community have a right to know about the government's actions, it could be perceived as communicating that the public is simply a passive recipient of government's decisions.

Inherently there's nothing wrong with Queensland's approach, it is how many governments, of all persuasions, have engaged the public over many years.

However today, with Gov 2.0 progressively increasing its impact on jurisdictions around the world, Gov 1.0 approaches to inform communities may be beginning to appear more and more out of place.

Soon governments who seek to only inform and not engage may be perceived to be out-of-step with their peers (less competitive) and out-of-touch with their citizens (less democratic).

Or perhaps Governments still focused on informing and limiting engagement are already perceived as out-of-touch. What do you think?

2 comments:

  1. I think maybe you are being a bit unfair on the Qld-ers here, but take your point that it's generally better to consult with stakeholders during a change process. But surely we didn't need gov 2.0 to know that?

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  2. I think it's a fair comment, as it demonstrates the attitude change between Gov 1.0 and Gov 2.0. It's not that Vic used a lot of technology (it is, after all, just a basic Wordpress blog), but the willingness to carry out their thinking in public. As Craig pointed out, the blog provides us with a forum to influence the decisions, while the newsletter is just to inform us of the implementation of decisions made some time ago.

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