Interesting elsewhere – 11 March 2011

Things which caught my eye elsewhere on the web

  • That’s not my name « We Love Local Government So what are we to do? Firstly, stop getting so het up about how we describe the people who we serve. Secondly, realise that universal names don’t work. Universally decreeing that we must describe everyone as customers is not going to help any more than seeing everyone as merely a council tax payer. And if anyone fancies adding a few names to the list do let us know!
  • Public service blogging is not redundant | Patrick Butler | Society | The Guardian Bloggers, I believed, were rewriting the media script: the mainstream press would feel inauthentic by comparison; bloggers would become influential, and would, by virtue of their powerful truth-telling, influence policy and force institutions, from Whitehall to the town hall, to become more open and accountable. “It is bloggers… and not politicians, PR managers or the traditional media, who are beginning to tell the real inside story of public services,” I wrote.Was I right? No.
  • You wouldn’t do this to a dog… – honestlyreal And six times a year, I faithfully type out my full credit card details and address, having already repeated the names and school of my children. This is utter rubbish. A classic example of a government transaction that nobody seems to care about. Where even the rational benefits of reducing error and saving someone in the school the trouble of filling in all those little handwritten slips seem to count for absolutely nothing.[…]
    So it stays up there—yet another orphaned bastard child of an e-government movement that stubbornly refuses to stop looking utterly crap.
  • Who herded the cats? | Emma Mulqueeny The problem is that the future is catching up with us, and we need to free the thinkers again. A collective deep breath needs to be taken and we all need to be a little bit more brave and trust in our own abilities, despite the occasional hissing and spitting, and free up some time for those we respect. Of course there is a mammoth amount of work to do and people who still need help working through everything that has changed, but this needs to become part of the day job for everyone now.
  • Peak State revisited | Flip Chart Fairy Tales The welfare state, then, has peaked. It is now, like the UK’s relative economic position, in a steady long-term decline. We are unlikely to see high levels of state provision again. Historians of the future will no doubt argue about when the Peak State point was reached. What is almost certain, though, is that we are now well past it.
  • Method: Eight Things Stand-Up Comedy Teaches Us About Innovation | Co.Design Comedy, especially stand-up, is widely regarded as the most difficult gig in show business. Similarly, successful product innovation is so difficult, it could be regarded as the stand-up comedy of the business world.
  • How the Government Gateway works – honestlyreal For a service that plays a part in millions of online public service transactions a year, the Government Gateway is surprisingly poorly understood, and described. What you can find online varies from the noble attempt (but not exactly functionally descriptive) to the flamboyant, to the technical, and on to the slightly bizarre.But nothing in plain language that really sets out what’s going on. And, perhaps, what isn’t. I have something of a fascination around the mechanics of authorisation and authentication, particularly when applied to government services, so here goes.