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Friday, September 04, 2009

Gov 2.0: Beyond the Platform

Originator of the phrase Web 2.0, Tim O’Reilly seeks to breathe new life and purpose into the phrase Gov 2.0.

His mantra …Gov 2.0: It’s All About The Platform.

As Tim emphasizes, innovative new platforms are game-changers – for companies, economies, all of us. Think how interstate highways, personal computers, the Internet, GPS, even the iPhone each transformed society. Each was a new platform for commerce and people to use.

Today, new technologies are helping redefine what governments as a platform can accomplish. Gov 2.0 means more than simply government use of social media. Absolutely right.

However, let us not lose sight of the whole purpose of Gov 2.0. It is not all about the platform. The platform has a purpose: real-time public service.

Gov 2.0 must keep its eyes on that prize. O’Reilly is closest when he imagines Gov 2.0 as an “organizing engine for civic action.”

What makes Gov 2.0 enormously transformative is that government, powered by new technologies, is more than a platform; it is a catalyst for innovations in real-time, public service. Government offers not only a scalable operating system for services, but also adds raw data, standards, APIs, apps, even investment dollars in some cases.

Gov 2.0 is an open ecosystem in which anyone — a start-up, an agency, an entrepreneurial individual — can invent, enhance or crowdsource a service aimed at the public, or some segment of it. Government becomes one delivery channel among many.

Gov 2.0, in many ways, echoes President Kennedy’s famous words:

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