Interesting elsewhere – 15 March 2010

Things which caught my eye elsewhere on the web

Ceci n’est pas une pipe

I know that digital inclusion is not a magic bullet but equally I do not believe that digital inclusion is a means of doing the same thing but doing it for less cost. I know that there needs to be a starting point, I do not believe that the coercion of citizens into participating in centralised service delivery is the right one. People have disengaged, they have done so for a reason; they have created networks of support that reflect their beliefs and meet their needs more appropriately. Re-engaging them with a wider community through digital channels alone will not work. By simply constructing a digital facade over the thing from which people disengaged in the first place we will not create an inclusive society.

The poor don’t care about broadband? Of course they do

“You can’t get a job as a stocker at Target right now if you don’t know how to use a mouse and a keyboard,” one interviewee told them, “because they’re only taking applications through their own kiosk that way. And for many entry-level positions you now have to actually e-mail an application to initiate the process. People don’t know how to do that. There’s also a fear factor, and I think people really need to keep that in mind.”

Ragan Social Media Governance

The hard truth: if you allow social networking at work is no longer the issue; how you manage it is.

Shit happens, or how I learned to love the incident | The IT Skeptic

Complex systems are by definition broken. They will always break and sometimes they will break when everybody did what they are supposed to. Fixing the problem won’t necessarily reduce the risk of another incident.

[h/t @marxculture]

Andreessen’s Advice To Old Media: “Burn The Boats”

Legend has it that when Cortes landed in Mexico in the 1500s, he ordered his men to burn the ships that had brought them there to remove the possibility of doing anything other than going forward into the unknown. Marc Andreessen has the same advice for old media companies: “Burn the boats.”

Renewed Evangelism: BloggerCon Format. (Scripting News)

The format is not far from the Socratic classroom, a discussion leader who pulls the interesting bits from the minds of the people in the room, with no sense of one person being a speaker and another being audience. Everyone is both a source and destination of thought.

The format solves the problems of the typical professional conference, the problem of droning self-important speakers who bore the audience and force the good stuff out into the hallway. The first goal of the format is to suck the good stuff back into the room. Everything about the format is designed to eliminate the boring, self-serving droning.

The PM’s Advisory Committee on the Public Service: The Good, The Bad, The Hopeful

I frequently argue that one reason public servants are so stressed is that they live double lives. They already live in a networked workplace and play by network rules in order to get their job done, however, they are perpetually told they live in a hierarchy and have to pretend they abide by that more traditional rule set. Double lives are always stressful…

Delivering Public Services That work

‘Someone rang me just to thank me this morning. They didn’t want anything. They just wanted to thank me. I’ve worked here for 8 years and that’s never happened before. I was so surprised I didn’t know what to say.’ Team member, Stroud District Council, quoted in Delivering Public Services that Work

Light Blue Touchpaper » Blog Archive » Evaluating statistical attacks on personal knowledge questions

Combined with previous results on other attack methods, there should be no doubt that personal knowledge questions are no longer viable for email, which has come to play too critical a role in web security.

You read it here first … | Matthew Taylor’s blog

Any claimant who moves online with their claim and who commits to continuing to transact in this way should be given a £30 online shopping voucher…

For the Government the £15 cost would be substantially less than the savings in staff time and paperwork. For the retailers, they would show their corporate responsibility and open up the online shopping market to a new group of consumers. And for claimants their lives would be easier, they would get a free bag of shopping and by picking up online skills they would improve their employability and access to other services. A scheme like this could realistically aim for 50% of existing claimants and 90% of new claimants to be online within three months.

Applying for JSA online – would it work?

A couple of years ago we discovered that 70% of forms submitted to our local Jobcentre were being filled in wrongly and rejected. It took up a lot of staff time and meant delays of 6-8 weeks before people started receiving their benefits. People were struggling to fill in the forms correctly because they spoke English as a second language, or struggled with literacy. A simple solution – installing volunteers in the Jobcentre to help people fill in the forms – reduced the rejection rate from 70% to 1%, and waiting times from 8 weeks to 3 days. We calculated it saved over a year of staff time, and the Jobcentre became one of the best performing in the country.