Cloud-Powered Webocracy

· Open Government
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Open Innovation Model of the book

Image via Wikipedia

Open Government also refers to how business processes can be re-engineered too, from closed to Open.

It doesn’t mean just moving it from offline and paper-based to an online web version either, it’s possible to move an offline, closed process to an equally closed online process, so in essence there are two distinct steps to this modernization: Moving it online ‘into the Cloud’, electronically, and secondly also in terms of “Openizing” it so that it can feature ‘crowd-sourcing’ in terms of who can participate.

The headline example I use in the white paper is the same one written about here, the Peer to Patent project, because it applies a cutting edge Open Innovation approach to business process workflow, and that workflow itself happens to be backbone of innovation itself, the Intellectual Property registration process. What a powerhouse combo.

Enterprise 2.0 Digital Switchover

This migration highlights the nature of the required technology, applications that can not only automate the case management of paper-based forms workflow, but also surround it with knowledge-centric social media, such as blogs, wikis and communities of practice.

Technologies like OpenText for example, or Drupal and Plone for FOSS equivalents. These offer the ability to build forms-based workflows and augment them with all these additional features.

It also highlights the likely growth market for this type of solution, because other countries will want this type of enhancement not only to their patent application workflow, but to any and all government processes.

Indeed in the UK they are mandated to move them all to a predominately online method, known as ‘Digital Switchover’ as part of their Digital Britain strategy.

“If, as expected, the volume of digital content will increase 10x to 100x over the next 3 to 5 years then we are on the verge of a “big bang” in the communications industry that will provide the UK with enormous economic and industrial opportunities. For the public sector, these capabilities and trends are an integral part of the financial solution for the public finances. An ambitious and clear programme of The Digital Switchover of Public Services, to primarily electronic and online delivery, will unlock significant cost savings, whilst at the same time serving to increase levels of satisfaction. As a matter of urgency we need to develop a comprehensive model, accounting for the cost of deployment, as well as the revenues.”

Webocracy

This migration doesn’t stop at business process workflow, indeed it’s part of a shift to wholesale ‘webocracy’ – The complete reinvention of politics itself in the same manner.

It is inevitable that the approach of a citizen casting one vote every four years to choose between two parties will become increasingly perceived as obsolete in the 21st century as it refuses this sense of participation; the public feels shut out from the major, and minor, decisions that ultimately govern them.

Projects like the e-Petitions program represent the first baby steps of this evolution, that ultimately offers the potential to re-invent the entire system of politics itself, moving to a model that could be described as ‘policy-centric politics’ where citizens are democratically involved at all levels and at all phases of government policy setting.

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