I was rather excited reading the issues paper and having had some discussions with task force members.
I must admit that I am rather shocked about the list of proposed projects on http://gov2.net.au/consultation/2009/08/18/project-proposals/ : all of the 10 proposals are directed internally into government and are basically reporting projects that analyse what has been done in Australia or elsewhere.
If we restrict the work of the task force to analysis / reporting, that is a really poor way to spend $2.45 million.
If funding is only spent on reporting, there is no learning for agencies involved, because most learning comes from doing in this space.
If funding is only spent on reporting, there are no new services created that bring value to citizens or the community.
If funding is only spent internally with government agencies, then we lose out on all the great ideas that come from the community and that need support from one or more agencies to execute.
My suggestion is to fund projects that have come from outside government and been elected by agencies to be supported. These projects would most certainly require mentorship by the task force, which needs to be the catalyst to making the projects successful. During executing of such projects, the task force would develop documents and processes that will help such collaborations to happen in future. This would be a successful outcome of a gov 2.0 task force IMHO.
As for some ideas for projects, I’ll repeat what I posted in some comments:
1. Video as a communication means
Every government agency has some video that could go on the Website or even better be published through YouTube (or another social video network) and re-embedded. (BTW: Not all videos should be uploaded to YouTube, but for those that should be spread widely and be available it makes a lot of sense. US government even has special arrangements with such sites: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/government_agencies_sign_agreement_with_web20_services.php)
The project develops a cross-agency site for government video resources, something like a govtube (similar to http://www.youtube.com/user/USGovernment). This should include YouTube channels, but also if possible other videos and video sites, since YouTube’s limitation to 10 min long videos is rather restrictive. It should also include search.
To create some examples of good use of videos and to activate and support the agencies, the project would involve maybe 2-3 agencies that are keen to make better use of videos online. We would help them create a good video strategy, e.g. for educating or communicating with the public, we would help execute it, and make it part of the govtube.
The pilots determine any obstacles with publishing videos and thus pave the path for other agencies. Ultimately, these pilots are examples for other agencies on what is possible and works.
2. Twitter/Identi.ca access to government agencies
If you’ve seen tweetmp, you will understand what I mean with this proposal. I am looking for a site that allows a citizen to easily find out about twitter/identi.ca access to any government agency. Such a project would imply the setup of government agencies with twitter accounts. The site could also archive twitter messages and make them searchable, so people can find out answers to their questions that others had already been given. This gives citizens the advantage that rather than having to go to each agency website and labouriously having to find out if they somewhere publish a page with a twitter/identi.ca connection, it is a central site to find out all direct citizen access to agencies. It could be extended with statistics and comparisons between agencies and the like over time. Most important is the listing though.
3. Blog aggregator
How many government agencies are blogging? Who is blogging? And what are they blogging about? A website that would be a blog aggregator of all agency-provided blogs would be a good way to keep citizens across everything that is happening or not happening in agencies. Incidentally – are there any government agencies with existing blogs – and more interestingly: are agencies even allowed to have a blog?
4. Transparency of parliamentary recordings
And last but not least, I would like to suggest to support the OpenAustralia group in their efforts to gain access to the video recordings of parliament and senate. A site similar to Metavid http://www.metavid.org/ will allow for improved transparency about the work that our elected representatives are doing for us. It will also allow politicians to clarify some of the excerpts in use by the press and taken out of context by providing the ability to point to the full context. Incidentally, Metavid is run by open source software only and using open formats only, making it a relatively inexpensive effort. Metavid is run only with the support of donations. It in fact uses some technology originally developed by the CSIRO, making it even more surprising that the US is running such a site before us.
To conclude: I would like to see some real value for citizens come out of the gov2.0 TF and its large amount of funding. Actual trial projects will create much more impact than a large amount of reports and will help raise the understanding and impact of gov 2.0.