Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Don't forget the why of Gov 2.0

In any job it is easy to get caught up in the details - the what and how of what we need to do, day in and day out, to deliver the outputs demanded of us.

Whether it's writing a brief, building a website, managing a social media channel, responding to a crisis or some other activity driving our actions, the focus is on what we need to do and how we need to deliver.

However amongst all this activity it is important to take time out periodically to consider why we are doing what we do.

What is the purpose of our activities, what are the outcomes we want, not simply the outputs.

This is particularly important for Government 2.0, which is essentially a set of strategies, tools and techniques - not a goal in and of itself.

When, as an individual or an agency, we decide to use social media to communicate or collaborate with our stakeholders and citizens, or release data in machine-readable formats for reuse, we need to consider why we are taking these steps. What is the goal we're trying to accomplish, or the change we're trying to make.

We shouldn't be engaging in Gov 2.0 activities because of the 'bling' of working with cool technologies, the thrill of doing something new first or the kudos from peers, speaking engagements and awards.

The Gov 2.0 activities need to help us deliver on the why we are there. Helping the public to make better choices, helping government better understand its customers and what they need to live full and rich lives.

Government 2.0, just like government, is a tool to achieve a desired goal - a happy, healthy, fair society where everyone can live securely and with mutual respect and understanding under a transparent and accountable system.

So stop, take a breath and consider why you're doing what you're doing. Think about whether you've picked the right approach - the 'how'- and whether there's more, less, or different things which you could do to best achieve your why.

Put your why first - decide why you are going to do what you are going to do - before you decide what you will do and how.

Also consider the video below - the power of considering the why - it can do much more than assist aligning your Government 2.0 initiatives, it can reshape organisations or revolutionise the world.


  1. Super post! I`ll send it to all my friends!

  2. Simon Sinek is great! I invite you to have a look at the OCOPOMO Open COllaboration for POlicy MOdelling website: It's a European research project developing an agent based model with the support of stakeholders. What do you think?

  3. Nice post Craig, why you want to use social media is the first question I ask when people mention social tools. It's amazing how they can go from wanting to use 5 or 6 different tools to just a few or none at all sometimes.