Thursday, November 27, 2014

Govinnovate 2014 liveblog Day 3

We're into the third and final day for GovInnovate 2014, with masterclasses from Mark Headd and Dominic Campbell.

For the proceedings, follow #govinnovate on Twitter or the liveblog below.

Live Blog GovInnovate 2014 liveblog day 3

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Becoming an iPhone, not a vending machine - GovInnovate 2014

This morning at GovInnovate 2014, Mark Headd from Accela spoke on the topic of civic hacking - a movement that involves people helping improve their society through spontaneous and unpaid volunteering.

He highlighted the example of a group in the UK who, while out on a night out, found a broken bike rack and set about repairing it.

These types of acts are contrary to the popularised notion of hacking, which involves malicious invasion, theft and destruction of virtual properties - data, systems, websites and physical devices connected to digital networks.

However civic hacking is a very powerful force and an expression of people's desire to improve their own environments and societies, to contribute in a positive way.

Mark spoke about government as a platform, suggesting that government must become more like an iPhone than a vending machine, in that rather than delivering everything itself, end-to-end, that government focus on the 'irreducible core' of functions and allow the community, not-for-profits and businesses deliver everything else, including services build on and for government.

He said that Apple's most significant innovation was opening up the iPhone to third part apps, resulting in an explosion of creativity and innovation, and building the iOS platform, first phones and then tablets, into the phenomenon it is today.

The challenge for government is in ensuring that it releases data and services in appropriate services for reuse - not simply dumping spreadsheets online as open data, but developing APIs and other data services which allow data and government services to have a community endpoint, enabling civic hackers to generate services and solutions of value to the community.

He also said that where government is focused on delivering services, it must take note of the 'design paths', the routes chosen by citizens to achieve a destination.

Similar to worn paths across public areas, civic hackers are now creating design paths technologically - redeveloping government and commercial services to suit their own needs.

Governments that adopt these two principles - enable civic hackers, and follow the design paths, are likely to become vastly more effective at meeting citizen needs while reducing costs and complexity.

Mark finished by saying that the window for innovation is still open for government, however that window may not remain open indefinitely - technology is not forgiving and the community is powering ahead.

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Liveblog for Govinnovate 2014 Day 2

We're into day 2 of GovInnovate, with a focus on IT security.

Keep an eye on the liveblog below and the Twitter hashtag #govinnovate

Live Blog GovInnovate 2014 liveblog Day 2

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

GovInnovate Day 1: Government must do more than tinker around the edges

This morning at GovInnovate 2014 we heard a keynote from Dominic Campbell, founder and CEO of FutureGov.
Dominic made a strong point that governments can't continue to cut 5% from their costs each year and expect to continue to improve service delivery.

He said that ultimately this strategy would stop agencies from being able to deliver effectively services, potentially resulting in disastrous collapses, social damage and even deaths.

As such, Dominic suggested that governments needed to invest in redesigning their service delivery from end-to-end, employing a design-based process and codesign principles to involve the people who receive the services in the conceptual design of how the service is access and delivered.

As an example, Dominic pointed to the Casserole system his company had codesigned as a replacement to increasingly costly and unviable 'meals on wheels' services.

Taking a transactional approach, Casserole recognised that meal delivery was based on supply and demand. Some people wanted to eat, while some had surplus food or enjoyed to cook - what they had to do was design a system to connect the two groups in a mutually beneficial way.

Using a codesign approach, FutureGov developed Casserole to connect home cooks with people needing food provision.

Casserole was developed without the involvement of government, initially prototyping on a single street. It subsequently expanded to a council region and now extends across many council regions in the UK - to the places where it is wanted and needed.

Over 5,000 cooks are now registered with the system, with relationships between food provider and receiver having lasted up to three years so far.
The keys to the success of the service were the inclusion of users in the design process and the elegant design of the solution, which respects users and makes it as easy as possible to access and use.

The project has had side social benefits as well, fostering strong relationships between people which improves their quality of life.

Dominic believes that this kind of design process, involving the 'relentless exposure of bureaucrats to communities' will lead to far better services for citizens, delivered at lower costs to governments.
However they do not naturally evolve from a progressive cost-reduction approach. They require a reinvention of government services.

In conclusion Dominic pointed out that the community is done waiting for government and increasingly looking for alternative solutions to meet its needs.

If government doesn't get on this curve, it will become increasingly ineffective and irrelevant, undermining the supposed 'efficiency' of reduced cost through degraded service delivery.

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Liveblog for Govinnovate 2014 Day 1

Over the next few days I will be liveblogging and tweeting from GovInnovate 2014, so follow my blog and Twitter feed for all the latest views on the use of digital within government.

Live Blog GovInnovate 2014 Day 1

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