Malcolm Turnbull's speech to the Australian Computer Society outlining his Gov 2.0 Vision is well worth a read. As some people have tweeted "Turnbull gets it". But let's not forget the brilliant work of Kate Lundy and Lindsay Tanner.

I want to highlight a few of Malcolm's comments as they very much go to the heart of the matter in relation to Gov 2.0 and, I suspect, could provide some additional momentum.


a public sector culture which is also yet to make the necessary adjustments in attitude needed for Government 2.0 and is frankly, that it is not yet fully adept with the technologies it involves. Technology is often not the challenge; it is the technological imagination that is in greatest scarcity.


Most media interviews with politicians are not designed to elicit information but are designed to trap politicians because the whole culture of the media’s engagement with politicians nowadays is largely a ‘gotcha’ exercise. It’s not invariably the case but it’s very often the case. So what politicians have got to do is to be able to say if there is an issue out there and there are ten options or more, talk knowledgeably about them, canvass a few pros and cons, when they say ‘will you rule out doing this?’ say ‘hang on, we’ve got a process going on here and I’m going to respect it, I’m going to respect it. I am not going to shut anything off because that would be treating the people with whom we are engaging with contempt and we’re not going to do that so we’re going to engage them.’


So to make Government 2.0 to work, it requires a change in the mindset of both politicians and public servants. It requires a degree of humility and a preparedness to look out for, to seek out, the views of others in a very engaging way. Often when the public are invited to make submissions about policies, those submissions are ignored or are treated as just the untutored, naïve contributions of the ill-educated. We all have to do a lot better than that, quite frankly.


Back in July 2011 I posed the question Are Australian politicians really comfortable with Gov 2.0? Malcolm has said it so much better. It is very much a mindset kind of thing.


As Malcolm also points out Gov 2.0 is also about a change in the mindset of public servants. This raises an interesting question. What about those public servants who don't change their mindset because they don't want to 'get it'? If they are holding back Gov 2.0 then should they be retired?


Malcolm also highlights the problem of public sector culture - a problem I have spoken about many a time. The only nuance I would add that is that when you look at where the cultural characteristics that hold back Gov 2.0 come from it is often from those corporate areas within agencies that effectively shape the culture people experience.


Communications areas, strategic human resources and organisational development areas and, oddly enough, corporate IT areas. And let's not forget areas responsible for corporate governance. All play a pivotal role in shaping the culture of the public sector.


This is not about blame. It's about recognising which areas need to change to shift the culture. Given the seismic shifts in community expectations and the pace of change we do not, I believe, have the luxury of a glacial approach to change within the public sector. Especially where Gov 2.0 is concerned.


Now on a lighter note. Check out the Kate Lundy : Malcolm Turnbull Infographic.





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Comment by simonfj on March 25, 2012 at 6:20am

I'll admit Kate, Lindsey and Mal do describe (very well) the changes, which are required to transition from a representatiive democracy to a participatory model. But my hero(ine)s are more the people like Pia Waugh who can demonstrate, in practice, how it may be implemented. And a few other good transmedia teachers.

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