Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Crowdsourcing serious government policy - now not only thinkable, but desirable

Crowdsourcing is often used in government for 'light' topics, such as selecting a logo or sourcing audience-created videos or photos.

However it also offers enormous potential for informing and developing government policy in areas that are considered both sensitive and serious - such as security.

About a year ago the Atlantic Council released its recommendations report from the 2010 Security Jam.

Unlike previous closed-room security discussions, the Security Jam ran on an open basis, bringing 4,000 military, diplomatic and civilian experts from 124 countries together online to thrash out the challenges facing global security.

Held from 4-9 February, the Jam, run by Security and Defense Agenda in partnership with the Atlantic Council and with support from IBM, was supported by both the European Commission and NATO.

The thousands of participant included defense and security specialists and non-specialists in order to broaden the security debate beyond purely military matters.

According to Robert Hunter, former US Ambassador to NATO, "The Security Jam has done something that NATO's Group of Experts has not - to reach out beyond the ‘usual suspects’, to people who have truly original ideas and a range of analysis that goes to the heart of today's and tomorrow's security issues."

Imagine applying the principles of the Security Jam to Australia's Commonwealth and state policy issues.

With the comments in Terry Moran's speech last week it is clear that this type of approach is not only becoming thinkable, but desirable.

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