Interesting elsewhere – 22 December 2010

Things which caught my eye elsewhere on the web

  • Sphereless: Tis the Season To Be Open In other words, it is not enough to use transparency to justify decisions already made, and to prevent bad decisions being made in future through the threat of later accountability. Openness in data needs to go hand-in-hand with an openness to change – to influence new ways of contributing, of collaborating, and of voting for those who we trust. Even new ways of thinking and feeling about why the decisions are being made in the first place.
  • Achilles and the Tortoise do Identity Management – honestlyreal
    T: But that sort of “hard identity” stuff makes sense for things involving money – especially where someone might steal some from me (or steal details that would help them pretend to be me and get money diverted that should come to me). It just seems like complete overkill for finding out when my bins will be emptied.A: Quite possibly – but you wanted all your government business in one place, didn’t you?T: Did I?

    A: I thought you did. Somebody did. All I hear about is “make government more like Amazon”, “make it all simply accessible in one place” blah blah blah. You mean that might not be the requirement?

    T: So far, Achilles, we’ve piddled around changing the requirement through a massive spectrum of parameters including data richness, hardness of trust, ease of use, and personalisation. I’m beginning to suspect that people blithely use this concept of “easy access in one place” without actually thinking through what sort of requirement that implies in practice.

  • moreopen We encourage, support and connect people who want to make the UK public sector more transparent about its work, more open to new ideas and more creative about how it works together and with others.
  • Stephen Hale – A wonky gene and the web – my son and my job If my son had been born 10 years ago, his medical treatment would have been largely the same. But I would have been far less informed about his condition, and it would have been much harder to make contact, or stay in contact, with anyone else with the same condition. I am much better able to care for him because of the web.This sometimes seems quite a long way removed from my day job. When I am working on finding better ways to publish policy documents, run effective online consultations, or communicate the proposed changes to the health and care system, it’s difficult to imagine how any of it will affect my son’s life directly. But of course, that’s really what it’s all about, and I often think about his life, and the lives of others like him, when I’m wondering about the point of what I do.
  • Software thinking for political decisions « Curiouscatherine’s Blog There are some really strong parallels between the pressures that have moved software development from an engineering / waterfall type model to a RAD or Agile method that could be used to discuss the changes need to the policy forming process to both involve citizens more directly and also to speed up the process. One big barrier to this is the get popular acceptance for the idea of a non-perfect policy enroute to a good one – ie that mistakes can happen – but as people grow up with a digital footprint of youth indiscretions we will have to get more tolerant of ‘mistakes’ on public life generally.
  • Crowdsourcing or crowdpleasing? Thoughts from #fdem10 « Curiouscatherine’s Blog And this is where I think we really need to consider what crowdsourcing means. Government is an age of enlightenment exercise that assumes a huge amount of rationality from its participants. Crowds are not rational. It may be a great idea to involve as many people as possible in setting the agenda but this is not going to work for policy formation which needs to actively involve experts – problem solvers as well as problem owners – in a process of design and reflection which is then democratically evaluated and adopted/rejected.And just one other point – there is a tendency in the narrative around this stuff to ignore or discount the expertise of civil servants in favour of the knowledge of the crowd. I think this veers from shortsighted to insulting and I think we need to value our experts a little more.