Interesting elsewhere – 1-4 October 2009

Things which caught my eye elsewhere on the web

ChangeThis :: Below C-Level Strategy

Whereas C- level strategic planning is for people that ‘make’ budgets; below C-level strategic planning is for those of us that are given a budget. Folks at the C-level make broad reaching decisions that direct people and departments across the entire organization, while those of us below C-level often have to focus on the few places within the organization where we do have impact, influence and some level of control. Luckily, the most important strategies for creating a highly successful organization fall into a handful of key result areas, most of which are completely within your control

The value to citizen model | Public

Social marketing is a process that can help in shifting the power balance by developing better informed, planned, executed and evaluated interventions and also by ensuring that all service provision is designed around the needs of citizens.

The Three Laws of Open Government Data – David Eaves

The Three Laws of Open Government Data:

1. If it can’t be spidered or indexed, it doesn’t exist
2. If it isn’t available in open and machine readable format, it can’t engage
3. If a legal framework doesn’t allow it to be repurposed, it doesn’t empower

Rescuing The Reporters « Clay Shirky

There are dozen or so reporters and editors in Columbia, Missouri, whose daily and public work is critical to the orderly functioning of that town, and those people are trapped inside a burning business model. With that framing of the problem, the question is how to get them out safely.

Evolution is the real hidden hand in business

Large and complex corporations not only are, but could only be, the product of incremental change and adaptation. The specific mechanisms of organisational evolution differ from those of biological evolution. But their common essential characteristic is inexact replication. Such replication is associated with a tendency to favour modifications that improve the fit between the organism and the environment.

Forget ‘clients’ and ‘users’ – public services are about people | Madeleine Bunting | Comment is free | The Guardian

If US managerialism has crippled the spirit of the public service workforce, the model of a professionalised, managerialised central welfare state has crippled the interface with society. With no alternative, those who depend on public services are reduced to a relationship characterised by apathy and entitlement. The latter only breeds frustration both for those charged to deliver services and those who receive them. Even the language has been corrupted: those who use public services are now “users” or “clients”. It’s been reduced to a contractual relationship and that limits the human engagement on both sides.

Unauthentication – Bruce Schneier

Designing systems for usability is hard, especially when security is involved. Almost by definition, making something secure makes it less usable. Choosing an unauthentication method depends a lot on how the system is used as well as the threat model. You have to balance increasing security with pissing the users off, and getting that balance right takes time and testing, and is much more an art than a science.

Digital technology for public services and communities could make bottom up more effective than top down | Charles Arthur | Comment is free | The Guardian

The top-down approach, habitual to central and local government, with its necessity to dictate how everything works, is part of the reason why big government IT projects so often overrun on costs and under-deliver. The internet wouldn’t work with a top-down approach; instead it sets (comparatively) simple rules for how its edges interact… The plans made at the start of any large project imagine machines already out of date when it begins to be used. The internet, by contrast, is going stronger than ever after 40 years.