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Changing the Game by Red 2
Minouche Besters, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Red 2 team is
Minouche Besters, email@example.com
Bengt Svenson, Bengt.Svenson@skl.se
Marcello Verona, firstname.lastname@example.org
Arend van Beek, email@example.com
John Doyle, firstname.lastname@example.org
The internet, and especially social media and 2.0 technology is making it possible for everyone, from citizen to employee to gov’t official to really engage in the world around us. There no longer is a hard line between who is professional and who is not, between who is in the know and who is not and who can make things happen and who can’t. Because simply, we all can now. And we increasingly all expect to be addressed that way.
Therefore, we propose that a true digital agenda is about:
- Connecting and co-creating with Citizens
- Organic, responsive systems
- Going around the mountains
- Citizens-data belong to the Citizen
Two really strong developments supporting this transition to real participation are:
- Going Beta and Open by Default
Below we explain what we mean and we give examples from our own experiences and network. We encourage and warmly invite you to share your thoughts and practices. So that together we can grow a directory of practices. Because, this is all about doing. Taking the first step, and thereby inviting or better infecting others to come along. So be infectious, spread the virus of change
1. Connecting and co-creating with Citizens
Co-creation is a situation in which an organization cooperates with groups of consumers, end users or other stakeholders to increase value of a product or service.
How can we as (local) Government connect better to civilians? We could invite them to take part in the discussion and development of issues, which affect all of us in society, not only as civilians, but also as civil servants and subject specialists.
Everywhere city budget cuts are the talk of the day: Deventer, in the East of the Netherlands, decided to ask its civilians and professionals organizations (online and offline) to come up with ways to cut spending. The end result: 60% of the city cutback proposal came from the people itself. There was little discussion (or outrage, as is often in these instances) about the proposals, because of the co-creation and therefore great legitimacy. Other cities are following: Leiden is doing the same thing for the new plans for cultural sector.
The Quality Institute Dutch Governments (KING) has written out a co-creation. “By taking part at this co-creation you decide (together with other local governments) in which way King will support your implementation of the National Implementation Program Services and Electronic Government, in short NUP”. 150 civil servants took part in this project. Thanks to their input the original plan got a different direction.
2. Organic, responsive systems (Local, Regional, National, European).
We have separate systems: gov’ts work in their own reality, civilians act from their own reality and so every other institution works from their own perspective. We have composed ways for these systems to interact: elections, information evenings, all sorts of official meetings. If you want something you have to go through these channels. This system is no longer working. And it is frustrating everyone who want to get something done inside and outside gov’ts. The way of the internet is showing that you can be better connected, organised and inspired by each other. So govt’s and other official organisations: draw only the big picture and leave room for others to fill it in. Be responsive to other ideas, leave space to adjust your long terms plans.
Open up you organization for really working together: software in the cloud, workspaces for visitors, WIFI everywhere, co-working in social networking environments. Organize everything around the needs of the goal of the work that needs to be done, instead of the logic (and fears) of the organization).
If the law doesn’t work, change it: perfect example at the local2020.eu is the idea to change the way to unlock the structural funds. Now they aren’t being used, so apparently something is not working right in the system.
3. Going around the mountains
There are multiple developments taking place, which will benefit society and civilians. However some of these developments find their way to the civilians incredibly slowly. A reason for this problem is: there are institutes, which stand in the way. Because of this, decision-making goes very slowly. It also happens that these same institutes have different interests.
The transition to Green Energy is not going as fast as many people would like to. The national government believes it is up to the market. The big energy concerns have their own business models to think of, so things change slowly. To slowly according to a group of people: why don’t we do it ourselves? In numerous places people join and develop new business models for green energy. In the Netherlands an aggregated demand initiative for solar panels popped up, bringing the prices for solar panels down (www.wijwillenzon.nl – we want sun). Farmers and civilians team up – no roof of your won, put the solar panels on the farm: sun energy for all participants.
Another example is the introduction of the ‘intelligent energy indicator’. In a couple of South-European countries this energy indicator has lead to a decrease of energy use of 12,5% per household. The intelligent energy indicator is used to read and calculate the factual use of energy in a household. This is a different rendering than used in other countries.
Civilians can group together to use products anyway and with this they go around the mountains (read institutes).
4. Citizens – Data belongs to the Citizen
WHAT & HOW
Many discussions on really relevant new technologies strand on the discussion of privacy, the usage of personal data and wether the gov’t should anyone access to it. Think of the electronic patient files. There’s a world to win with better connectivity and access to patient records, but more than ten years of discussion have not solved the privacy issues.
We believe it is really simple. The data of the civilian is of that civilians. My data is my data, your data is your data, and we both decide who we share it with. So if someone else comes up with the platform, for lets say integrated health systems that have real meaning to me, I can decide wether or not I join and thus share my data. In fact, we feel it is actually really strange that a doctor has more knowledge about me and that I have to do paperwork to get access to my own file. Because that’s the other side of the story. Let’s fix all that and make innovation happen by giving me my right to own my data.
5. Two strong enablers for participation are Going Beta and Open by Default
With enablers we mean that if you bring these two concepts in to the daily practice of your work, you will probably end up enabling one or more of the three things mentioned above.
Software is often released in beta, and all software is updated regularly because it is only in the real world that you find out how the theory actually plays out (see point about structural funds). The software engineers look closely how their software is used, what is working well and what is not, what other needs the users could have. Theory is great, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Arnhem released their public city WIFI network in beta to test its usages and start improving from there.
OPEN BY DEFAULT
Distrust is costing our societies a bundle in several ways: besides the financial cost of checking and double checking for misuse and fraud (outweighs the cost of actual misuse and fraud by factor….) it creates big blockades for participation, for lean and mean organizations, for innovations to happen. Not to mention what it does for a society if one doesn’t trust the other: who does well, meets well. That also works the other ways around.
So the question is:
Does a product always have to be completely perfect before we can use it? Couldn’t we go forward a lot faster if we take products in use to see if they work efficiently? Take Firefox for example… it works… but people are still working on it.
GOT ALL THAT?
It’s a bit of a story. And perhaps it seems very difficult. But really, this is already happening everywhere in Europe. Look at the young people and the innovative companies, they are challenging the systems. Probably they are not even aware of it, because since they live and breath the digital live they don’t know any other way. It’s time we join them! So start simple, share your experiences and be infectious!
We love to see you change the game!
Red 2 Team