This site was developed to support the Government 2.0 Taskforce, which operated from June to December 2009. The Government responded to the Government 2.0 Taskforce's report on 3 May 2010. As such, comments are now closed but you are encouraged to continue the conversation at

Inquiries 2.0: Part 3.0

2009 October 23
by Nicholas Gruen

Here (.doc) are the notes for the talk I gave to the Government 2.0 conference in Canberra on Monday. In it I further expanded the idea of Inquiries 2.0. I’ll leave it to you to read the notes I made for the talk which are attached. In the meantime, I thought I’d abstract two more ‘2.0’ aspects of this inquiry. Just as the new FOI act states that public information is to be managed “for public purposes, and [as] a national resource” (pdf) so it seems to us that we should manage our blog, and more particularly the community that you’ve helped us build around it “for public purposes and as a national resource”.

So we’ve told those parties who have won tenders to provide us with research projects that they are welcome to send us drafts of guest posts if they wish to use our blog to consult the community or pose any blegs to the community.

And we’ve also put together an international reference group of prominent people ‘in this space’ as people have become fond of saying – namely pundits and practitioners on Web 2.0. And if those doing projects feel an introduction to one of the members of the group would be worthwhile, we’ll consider it (though we’ll think carefully about it because they’re busy people.)

Anyway, since you asked, here are the names of the people who’ve agreed to be on our group.

  • Richard Allan (Director of Policy, Facebook Europe)
  • Charlie Beckett (Director of the LSE’s media think tank, Polis)
  • Steven Clift (Online strategist and innovator)
  • David Eaves (Writer and speaker on public policy)
  • Ed Felten (Director Centre for Information Technology Policy Princeton University)
  • Michael Geist (Canada Research Chair in Internet and e-commerce law at University of Ottawa)
  • William Heath (IdealGovernment.Gov)
  • Andrew Hoppin (CIO of New York State Senate)
  • Eric Ketelaar (Emeritus Professor of Archivistics, University of Amsterdam)
  • Charles Leadbeater (Authority on innovation and creativity)
  • Viktor Mayer-Schönberger (Associate Professor of Public Policy, National University of Singapore)
  • Ed Mayo (CEO of Consumer Focus)
  • Michal Migurski (Technology Head at Stamen)
  • Laurence Millar (Former NZ CIO)
  • Geoff Mulgan (Director, Young Foundation)
  • Cameron Neylon (Biophysicist, Senior Scientist, Science and Technology Facilities Council)
  • John Palfry (Professor of Law at Harvard Law School)
  • Jason Ryan (State Service Commission, NZ)
  • Tom Steinberg (Founder and Director of
  • Hon. Mozelle W. Thompson (Facebook – USA)
  • Nat Torkington (Writer and chair of the O’Reilly Open Source Convention)
  • Joe Trippi (Writer and political strategist)
  • Carol Tullo (Head of the UK Office of Public Sector Information)
  • Tom Watson (Labour Party MP for West Bromwich East)
  • David Weinberger (Fellow, Harvard’s Berkman Institute for the Internet and Society)
  • Dr Andy Williamson (Director of the UK Hansard Society’s eDemocracy Programme)

Their duties? Returning the email I sent them, and agreeing to put our blog on their feed readers and to read a post at least once a week and to comment if they’re feeling energetic. And to respond to the odd email seeking advice. I’m looking forward to running some of the ideas we’re working up for our report past them.

8 Responses
  1. 2009 October 23
    Andy Williamson permalink

    Nicholas and team, Thanks for the opportunity to participate in the Gov2.0 taksforce. Having just returned from Canberra, I was exicted about the buzz there. It feels like things are happening in this space downunder (and as a kiwi exiled in the wintery north, that’s great news!!) What was most refreshing for me was hearing not just the right words (especially from senior politicians) but seeing demonstrable buy-in and action from government as well as those outside government. It was pleasing of itself to meet so many people with senior roles inside government (commonwealth and state) who were talking up and taking seriously the potential for web2.0 in government.

    As I said on Monday in Canberra, it’s not the role of one or other side to do this, it’s for both – government and citizens. Data is a national treasure, absolutely, and it’s a public resource – and government doesn’t always know what best to do with it. Government holds this data in trust and has a duty to release it just as citizens have a right to access it. Now the challange is on one hand to find innovative new ways to disapate, connect and add value to this data and, on the other, to continue responsible stewardship for the integrity of that data.

    We don’t consume democracy, we are active participants in it and Web2.0 has removed the excuses for this becoming a reality. But not the barriers, they remain cultural and attitudinal, so let’s not lose sight of the step-change in organisaitonal culture that must accompany this digital revolution. No longer are there any fair excuses preventing government opeing up data or from citizen-built initiatives feeding into the policy process just as government-built ones do.

    I’m looking forward to seeing the taskforce develop, to the ideas that come out of it and above all the continued dialogue (and I hope that I can contribute a little as we go along this journey).


  2. 2009 October 26
    simonfj permalink

    Nic, that’s just wonderful!

    Let’s be clear about one thing though. public information is to be managed “for public purposes, and [as] an INTERnational resource.

    If that’s the case then we need to introduce the international e-gov communities to those in e-research, so they can share a few tools. Here’s the programme. And here are a couple of engineers who are addressing the real time comms cultural conundrum, from a global engineer’s perspective. Can’t have you wearing out your shoeleather, or airline seat, getting to and from conferences, can we?

    Coming up with a way to run (a series of) distributed conferences (say three sites at one time) shouldn’t be too hard to forumulate. Recording them is built into EVO. Systemizing the streaming through this domain and porting them to a broadcast station, like a-pac or a researchchannel, shouldn’t be too hard either. (they could use the content)

    But I think the team needs to, apart from considering a real online forum, think about the archive for our global inquiry. This is going to be important, especially if, like craig is talking about with “a shareable (template) strategy”, we will see this domain pointing at records held at other domains, like twitter and facebook. Cause everyone is going to start copy you shortly.

  3. 2009 November 1
    Nicholas Gruen permalink

    Postscript: you can now watch the talk here.

  4. 2010 April 12
    Madeleine Kingston permalink

    Have to agree with Andy Williamson in his penultimate para above that there are no longer any excuses for active citizen-government partnerships not to become a reality.

    Ron Lubensky in “Crowd-sourcing is not empowering enough” refers to the “seed of democracy” that has accompanied technological progression and appears skeptical about its value.

    I disagree. The time is ripe for considering new ways to embrace democracy, with new opportunities. Let us not waste the chances to find out if there is a better way of governance.

    I have the same concerns as others about the biggest challenge being cultural and attitudinal organizational adjustment, which must be prefaced by education and persuasion so that the collaborative concept is not lost.

    Entrenched organizational culture has been the vexing subject of much management theory literature. It is potentially the most significant barrier. Readiness for change is not something that can be manufactured like a tangible commodity, but without the right stage of readiness it would be hard to move ahead.

    As a scroll through postings and background of Gov2 can’t help but feel the sense of excitement and buzz that have grabbed those involved.

    It’s infectious. Carry on.

    Madeleine, Newcomer

  5. 2010 April 12
    Madeleine Kingston permalink


    Love the idea of officials being prepared to respond with photo IDs. Challenges the concept of Mia Garlick’s gripping wordless article on The Faceless Bureaucrat.

    Some of us have not been part of the face-to-face dialogue, but have commencing the e-dialogue cold – but warming up, like climate change.

    In any case if you are all as warm and enthusiastic as you sound, what’s in a face?



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