Trust, Transparency and the Gov 2.0 Triage

Republished from http://www.silberberginnovations.com

Lately there has been lots of news about a breakdown in trust of those in Government. Bell, California is just the latest obnoxious example of gross malpractice and criminal activity in a Government. Trust is something we have always tried to demand from those running our Governments. It does not always work out that way though. One would think that with social media we would have become more aware. One would think that with “OpenGov” initiatives sprouting up like weeds the days of Government officials doing things in secret would be over. Don’t go to Vegas and bet on that.

    If anything, there is a dark side to Gov 2.0 – that it may conveniently offer up yet another bureaucratic layer if not implemented carefully.

I have been working on a political campaign this cycle. It’s blog was hacked recently, and attempts were made to hack the website too. In this case the hacker is known to the campaign, and is being dealt with appropriately. But it brought another side of the trust prism to light: through social media we let total strangers “into” our lives, both digitally and sometimes literally. Little things that seem innocuous suddenly loom huge. Strangers get to peek in, you get to in return. To what end? How does this flow to the people’s oversight of the Government?

Recently I wrote about the need for the “G” chip – my name for it. My point, and I am going to quote from what I wrote:

” * How do you know when you go from a commercial site to a government site? This will become a more complicated issue as governments start rolling out new sites with commercial elements on them.

* How do you know if the government site you are on is using persistent tracking cookies or other web information services to not only identify you but deliver appropriate services?

* How do you know if the government site you are on has partnerships with another company; say, Google? Whose terms of service are you under?

My anti-virus program uses red and green lights to indicate safety of my system and safety of websites I may be visiting. Perhaps we need a “G” chip dashboard with a similar layout. One that lets you know you are crossing into government owned e-space, and one that alerts you to different persistent tracking techniques, and one that alerts you to multiple Terms of Services on one site.”

This would go a long way towards addressing the the open wounds that failures in trust and transparency have created. A “Triage” if you will from Gov 2.0 and even You 2.0. But there is more to it than just knowing where you are and how you got there. Part of what the Gov 2.0 Revolution is inspiring beyond new companies and and ideas into a new way of Governing too.

Gov 2.0 will be meaningful in a very deep way when it transcends from a nifty way to do something to an embedded and permanent transparency window into how our Government officials serve us, the people.

The many Voices of Gov 2.0

Republished from Silberberg Innovations.

Government 2.0.
Let that sit there for a second.
The term is widely credited with having been invented by William Eggers. If you do not know who he is, it may be because others would like you to think they came up with the term. Don’t let them fool you.

The Gov 2.0 World is Growing Fast. I have said that on many occasions and written it all over the place. One of the reasons it is growing so fast is that despite efforts to the contrary – there has been and continues to be more than one voice representing the Gov 2.0 Revolution. This is a vitally important and crucial aspect of the continued organic growth in this space. Collaboration and ideas flow together naturally. When an un-natural dam is placed in that flow, it merely diverts the flow, but does not stop it.

The past three years have been an exciting time for many, here in the United States and abroad. The voices in Government 2.0 abound. Below I have chosen to list just some of the ones that come to the top of my head and also ones you may never have heard of and are in no particular order. So in addition to the cast of the “usual suspects” we all know and read each day in the #gov20 stream on Twitter and elsewhere, I offer some others.

Dominic Campbell
Nick Charney
Craig Newmark
Luke Fretwell aka Govfresh
Seth Grimes
John F. Moore
Karine Barzilai-Nahon
Gwyn Kostin
Mike Kujawski
David Osimo
Lovisa Williams

Something to think about as the Gov 2.0 world heats up: The inclusion of voices; acceptance of different types of events, camps, conferences is a critical part to all of us growing this into not only an industry, but one where the freedom of ideas runs parallel with the hard nosed business tactics already being deployed.

Gov 2.0 needs You 2.0

republished from Silberberg Innovations.

As a longtime proponent of the need to break down citizen engagement with our governments into simple to understand segments, I am thrilled by the recent conversations again about the importance of People and language. It is something the planners of Gov20LA 2010 took very seriously. The discussion around Government 2.0 – the revolutionary approach of applying working web applications to solve old time government problems. But really, it is about getting your “You 2.0” on. Engage. Roll up your sleeves. Fix the problems.

So in advance of the coming fall Gov 2.0 conferences, un-conferences, camps, uncamps, etc – I want to take it a step further. So you can now solve some basic problems with your local governments You can in many states now go online and handle the majority of your DMV related issues, as in this case in California.

What else has the Government 2.0 Revolution done for you? Or for a neighborhood near you?

Here are some examples:

These are just but a few of the many examples around the World of the Government 2.0 revolution taking root with engaged Citizens 2.0. Yes, there will be stumbling blocks. Yes, there are still those who would prefer to hide their heads in the sand and pretend this day was not coming. But, Gov 2.0 is here to stay. Now when are you getting your Citizen 2.0 on? Or even better, when are you getting “You 2.0” on?

Gov 2.0 and Gov 3.0 Mashup.

The semantic web (Web 3.0) is coming to a Government 2.0 app near you!

In one of the first International Strategic Alliances in the Gov 2.0 / Gov 3.0 space, Silberberg Innovations is announcing our partnership with Bubbleideas, of Singapore. We are extremely excited about this collaboration and both companies will be seeing tremendous leverage arising out of the alliance.

Government 2.0 is taking the world by a storm. Citizen driven campaigns, open-source projects, large companies, smaller start-ups and even individuals are flocking around Gov 2.0, each tackling different set of problems and solving them with innovative little solutions. The eco-system is all set to push out a very new and unique format of Governance. The very approach brings us into thinking the future of the web: Semantic – where websites are dynamic applications that talk to each other, data is meaningfully connected and the aggregate of services offered over the web react optimally to actions from one platform to another. One such application that is path breaking the route for Government 2.0 & Enterprise 2.0 is BubbleIdeas (in beta) – the World’s first Semantic Collaboration Tool.

BubbleIdeas is designed to allow mass conversations between citizens and leaders. The way BubbleIdeas works is by opening enterprise scale terminals for celebrities, leaders or organizations which pull out the relevant conversations and ideas that would be worthwhile for the leaders to act upon. The terminals offer customizable HTML5 layouts with access to CSS and dashboard for more creativity by designers around the world. It boasts of features such as ‘protection of minority interest’, ‘multiple sortings’ and best of all – a simple straightforward ‘signup-less’ process to converse which ensures that no human is demotivated from participating.

BubbleIdeas is in many ways an opposite to Twitter, where broadcasting happens between bunches of people to celebrities, leaders or organizations. One of the founders of the company says “if you have a million followers on Twitter, it is easy to announce. But it is nearly as impossible to listen to what your followers have to say. BubbleIdeas is expected to change that, and complete the conversation loop between power-centers and followers”.

The company will provide access to “RDF” to developers for downstream work and integration per the prescribed international standards of semantic web and make all the public data “available” for meaningful linking outside of BubbleIdeas. “This would ensure interoperability and openness at a level desired by the semantic web, and perhaps align best with the objective of most Government & non-Government organizations – i.e. actionable transparency” said Arvind Nigam the CEO of Bubbleideas. He continues: “We are focused on matured markets, at this point of time. We have also opened a platform for social media experts to join the next wave of Government 2.0 and use our resources to do their bit in spreading the desired level of social skills to agencies and organizations.”

Silberberg Innovations is building a network of sales consultants around Bubbleideas Semantic Government 2.0 applications. As part of our commitment to excellence in Gov 2.0 we are providing a unique chance for top technology people to take a Web 3.0 platform to the market. During this time of economic strain, we are pleased to be able to empower job creation.

Gov 2.0 Leadership and Visionary Moves

Well. Here we are.

As of May 24, 2010 – “You2Gov.com, You2Gov.org, You2Gov.net” are all now officially part of the History of the evolution of both the Internet and Government 2.0 The site is still up, and you will notice it up and down over next several weeks. It is not an identity crisis. It is not a retreat. It is a next step as one of the leading Gov 2.0 Companies in the United States.

Yes. It is true.

Being one of the pioneering and visionary Government 2.0 Websites in the United States and helping to unleash the Government 2.0 and Citizen 2.0 Movements is hard work. Along with being one of the principal private companies driving the innovative ideas now percolating through Capitols; State and Local, Federal and International, it is time for us to take a pause.  It is time to breathe.

We have worked tirelessly to build a citizen engagement platform. The Government loves us. The media loves us. But few people take the time to actually make use of these tools as of right now. After two years of providing cutting edge Government 2.0 capabilities – guess what happened? The Government 2.0 Community is growing. Fast. It is growing on Facebook, it is growing on Twitter, it is coming to a locality near you. But NOT necessarily as a platform. It may involve a real fabric of tools and applications; carefully woven together to increase transparency, open our governments to all of us, and stop organized corruption.

Instead of competing in a bloody red ocean over yet-to-be defined profit points – we have  decided to close the platform side of our business while focusing on other areas like further innovation and strategic consulting. Why? There is tremendous competition that is extremely well funded that is now just on the horizon, in those clouds over there. There is also amazing opportunity on the innovation, strategic consulting and multi-media aspects.

You2Gov is not going black.

Just our websites (sometimes) until the next generation of it/them appears.  That might seem counter-intuitive. But we are not focusing on this side of the Gov 2.0 equation anymore. We do have our sights focused on some other pieces that many are yet to be talking about. So instead of focusing our efforts on a platform that is now being replicated by many others in different forms, we will be addressing new areas of the Gov 2.0 and Gov 3.0 space.

Some of our highlights to now:

Being named to PC Magazine’s Best of 2008 List after only two months in existence.

Craig Newmark Taking an Interest in You2Gov’s Mission and following thru.

Rollout of Direct Democracy 3,0

Being Interviewed by Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris (several times, even with kids in tow!)

Creating the groundbreaking (and Taking Lots of Heat for it) GOV20LA

Executing on an incredible Gov20LA 2010. See all the  Long Form Videos Here.

Thanks to all who have in your own way helped to make this early part of You2Gov’s existence be such an exciting ride.

I especially want to note the following: Ralph J. Shapira, Lisa Cohen, Craig Newmark, Lewis Shepherd, Lovisa Williams, Bev Godwin, Naomi Caietti, Debra Bowen, Scott Johnson, my brother, my parents and everyone around us who support what the You2Gov platform is all about.

Sign up on the right over there —– subscribe to this blog, and learn about all of our next moves. Because – there is lots coming down the pike – and sometimes as progress and changes happen, so do unexpected movements. Innovation requires forward thinking and sometimes innovators make moves that are not clearly understood at the time, but reveal themselves as part and parcel of a larger process.

Alan W. Silberberg

Co-Founder, CEO, You2Gov, LLc.