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

Blegging the power of the bleg

2009 December 13
by Nicholas Gruen

I was just reading the bleg – relatively successful it seems – of Michael Neilsen seeking information on the fascinating phenomenon of some of Intel’s chips which were designed without any single person knowing the whole story about how they were designed.  Sounds a bit like government.  Anyway, it struck me that if people out there have any examples of particularly successful blegs which have turned up needles in haystacks which have turned out to be very helpful to whomever has blegged – preferably in a government context but neither bleggers nor beggers can be choosers – can they please come forward with examples in comments documented with links.

Also we’re trying to come up with a nice diagram to encapsulate our message which is summed up in the para below.  Haven’t read it?  No – that’s because since we’ve stepped back and had a look at our Draft Report we’ve seen that this seems to be our core message – from the current draft of the final (no promises it will appear in precisely this form). (And we’ve taken note that a blood feud will ensue if we remove the Google Group’s excellent definition of Govt 2.0 and it seems to be staying in – so far anyway). So here is the quote and the diagram. Please sing out if you can improve the diagram.

Government 2.0 involves a public policy shift to create a culture of openness and transparency, where government is willing to engage with and listen to its citizens; and to make available the vast national resource of non-sensitive public sector information. Government 2.0 empowers citizens and public servants alike to directly collaborate in their own governance by harnessing the opportunities presented by technology.
The three pillars of Government 2.0 are:

  • The application of Web 2.0 collaborative tools and practices to the processes of government
  • Open access to public sector information (PSI)
  • Leadership, policy and governance to achieve the necessary shifts in public sector culture and practice

Government 2.0 will subtly change the relationship between government and its citizens.

Engagement Three Pillars

10 Responses
  1. 2009 December 13

    A more successful past example:

    The question was whether anyone knew of cases where the semantic web had been instrumental in a scientific discovery. What’s interesting here is that despite getting a lot of feedback from knowledgeable people, my question remained unanswered. That suggests the right answer is “It’s never been instrumental”.

  2. 2009 December 14

    I think the last bullet point, re: culture, should come first. Far more important than the techy stuff.

    Also the last sentence needs to be reworded. Done properly, there’s nothing subtle going on here – we’re talking a complete transformation of the relationship between government and governed.

  3. 2009 December 14
    Kerry Webb permalink

    I’d change the first para to:

    Government 2.0 will create a better relationship between the government and the community, as each finds more effective ways to communicate with the other through technology and the sharing of non-sensitive data. The three pillars are : …

    (thanks to the work of William Zinsser – simplify, simplify, simplify)

  4. 2009 December 14
    Kevin Cox permalink


    You need look no further than open transparent market places for examples. The power of open markets is that they allow collective action decide the most efficient allocation of resources. No one person or group decides the best way to supply food for our tables.

    Government 2.0 is an enabler of “markets” in ideas (memes) to flourish and gives both governments and citizens ideas from which they may choose.

    You never know the idea of encouraging departments to give individuals electronic access to their own information may even make the grade:)

  5. 2009 December 14

    I don’t know if the relationship change will necessarily be ’subtle’ :)

  6. 2009 December 17

    It’s a significant shift in the relationship…moving from a benevolent but paternalistic one to that of an active partnership will
    require a readiness to embrace openness and to be less fearful of potential embarrassment by robust citizen activism

  7. 2009 December 17
    Neil Henderson permalink

    Is there any possibility of using words which which suggest that the community becomes a participant in government and therefore can help shape the development of policy, rather than a just recipient of government services? I would not expect the community to necessarily own or share the risk because that is governments role but I think the idea of showing the community that government considers their role to participatory would be good.
    The closer the communication between community & government the more the lines of separation are blurred (I would hope). So what about engendering the idea of community and government becoming a team without getting too cheesy about it?!

  8. 2009 December 19
    Nicholas Gruen permalink

    Not a bad bit of work – solving a tricky mathematical problem.

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