Armchair Auditor – Nice clean and simple example of what can be done with open government spending data by @adrianshort
Supreme Court’s untendered website cost revealed – "You need to ask yourself whether £360,000 seems like a fair price for such a website. I'd suggest it isn't. Even with a significant allocation for design, I'd have thought you could produce a similar result – with better functionality – for 95% less."
Why I’m fed up of talking about social media, really – "Sure it’s great that lots of councils are interested in social media and what it can do for their communications. But what is really starting to annoy me is that too many councils are asking the wrong questions."
Zotero | Home – "Zotero is a free, easy-to-use Firefox extension to help you collect, manage, cite, and share your research sources." – via @jjn1
Local Data wiki – Great idea to create a wiki explaining opendata to local government types.
Centre for Digital Citizenship – "The CdC’s mission is to promote outstanding research on the changing nature of citizenship in a digitally networked society and to contribute to the analysis and development of policy in this area."
Beauty is the new must-have feature – “I’m predicting that we’ll start to have a non-functional requirement around making beautiful experiences when we build systems, and that we’ll be rubbish at it when it happens.”
Follow Finder by Google – “Follow Finder analyzes public social graph information (following and follower lists) on Twitter to find people you might want to follow.”
Enterprise 2.0 and improved business performance – “Despite growing evidence, which I’ve presented here and elsewhere, there still remains for many people a real question about the overall ability of social software to improve how organizations get things done.”
Why does government struggle with innovation? – “If innovation is becoming a core attribute required by government organisations, merely to keep up with the rate of change in society and the development of new ways to deliver services and fulfil public needs, perhaps we need to rewrite some of the rulebook, sacrificing part of our desire for stability in return for greater change.”
The Biggest Obstacle to Innovation – “There are many candidates for the biggest obstacle to innovation. You could try lack of management support, no employee initiative, not enough good ideas, too many good ideas but no follow-through just for starters. My nominee for The Biggest Obstacle to Innovation is: Inertia”
Social Media Security – "We have found a huge lack of accurate information around security issues and awareness of social media. This website aims to help educate users of social media of the threats, risks and privacy concerns that go with using them."
E-government is not a financial cure-all – "Whoever is in charge after 6 May, I expect the drive towards "smarter government" (or whatever catch phrase replaces it) to continue. There are simply no other tools in the box. But whoever is in charge will avidly wish someone had made a bolder start while the going was good."
Two models of open innovation – "Based on our recent experience of working on open innovation projects, and also building upon a great paper by Kevin Boudreau and Karim Lakhani, we have concluded that there are two distinct ways of doing open innovation – creating competitive markets or collaborative communities"
Let government screw up – "I have the opportunity to speak to groups across government about the benefits, challenges and potential costs of social media. In the face of institutional anxiety, I’ve argued that social media is a positive environment that encourages experimentation. In fact, online users are willing to accept mis-steps and stumbles from government organizati0ns simply because it demonstrates initiative and ambition, if not expertise."
Can Open Office Escape From Under A Cloud? – "I do see a future for Open Office in the enterprise — one that’s closely tied to integration with collaboration, content management, and business processes and facilitated by the likes of Oracle and IBM."
Digital exclusion, porn and games – "I wonder if – as with mobile phones – there’s a certain, influential generation that see the technology as being more than just a technology. And instead, a marker for a whole way of life they just haven’t accepted yet."
The Seven Needs of Real-Time Curators – "I keep hearing people throw around the word “curation” at various conferences, most recently at SXSW. The thing is most of the time when I dig into what they are saying they usually have no clue about what curation really is or how it could be applied to the real-time world."
How Not To Tender For e-Consultation Software | Delib Blog – "This is an issue that’s vexed us for some years here, but having just seen the most ridiculous tender process we’ve ever come across, we really have to say something for the good of all. After all, if we ignore history, we are bound to repeat it."
Coding Horror: The Opposite of Fitts’ Law – "If we should make UI elements we want users to click on large, and ideally place them at corners or edges for maximum clickability — what should we do with UI elements we don't want users to click on? Like, say, the "delete all my work" button?"
Opinion Space – "The U.S. Department of State is interested in your perspectives and input on a series of important foreign policy questions. "Opinion Space" is a new discussion forum designed to engage participants from around the world."
It’s a bit like picking a scab, this – kinda painful but at the same time irresistable. Anyway, seeing as this blog has become semi-official place for ICELE-related news, I thought it only reasonable to provide the latest in the saga – this time in the form of a press release from ICELE:
Cllr Matthew Ellis, Chairman of the International Centre of Excellence for Local eDemocracy, said:”Whilst it has been made clear that Lichfield DC would not be seeking to take ICELE forwards in the future, we have been calling for a formal decision to be made by the Minister for some time. It takes considerable time and money to create a trusted and recognised brand, which ICELE has now become, not just in the UK, but in Europe. It would be unfortunate if the Centre was closed down before a useful and sustainable home for both its products and its brand can be secured.”
He continued: “The Centre now has partners across the UK and Europe, having been successful in securing, with others, future funding for specific areas of work. We believe it would be unfortunate if ICELE, as a focal point for sharing information and best practice, and some of the projects were simply abandoned. I’m hopeful that the talks we are now having with CLG will ensure that a thorough review is undertaken to find a sustainable future for areas of potentially ongoing work.”
Although ICELE will cease operations at the end of June, with the interim funding recently agreed with CLG it could provide resources for work to be undertaken to secure a future for VOICE and other aspects of the Centre’s work.
I’m not sure what to say, really, which makes a change. I am, however, started to put things in place for a community driven way forward on this stuff. If you’re interested, email me or leave a comment.
It’s also time for more industry leaders to push politicians to take a more forward-thinking approach to how government distributes public information. We hear a lot these days about how the internet is affecting the election, which PdF will cover from every conceivable angle, but in some ways it’s far more important to look at how we can start rethinking how government works, and how it can more effectively connect with American citizens to help solve problems. PdF is expanding to two days this year to devote a whole day to this issue, and my guess is that come 2009, we’re going to have an administration (either Obama or McCain) that is more open to trying to use the tools of the social web-blogs, wikis, crowd sourcing, etc-to open up governance.
More evidence of the increasing overlap between the tech communities and the eGovernment/eDemocracy crowds – something that has recently been discussed on the UKGovWeb list as we plan another Barcamp-style event.