Tag Archives: edemocracy

Show us a better way…

How about letting the community decide which idea has the most relevance to them? If that isn’t possible, why not try letting the community decide on a shortlist from the PoI taskforce? The facility to vote on an idea exists on the OPSI data unlocking service, it should with the show us a better way competition as well.

Show us a better way and make citizens rise to the challenge (and obligation) of deciding what they’d like to see achieved.

We can suggest the solution to a problem fairly easily – make us own it as well.

Your project: the PM responds

One of the things we face as civil servants, or consultants to the civil service, is the fact that we are not only designing and building policy, tools and services, but as citizens we are also end-users of the ‘products’ we develop. An occasional result of ‘ticking all the boxes’ leads to slowly delivered solutions that may have been achieved far faster if the ‘right’ person, at the ‘right’ time, provided some critical appraisal of the ‘product’.

Doesn’t always work though.

ZDNet reports on Bill Gates’ frustration in trying to install and use Moviemaker and Digital Plus Pro. Amongst his comments:

I am quite disappointed at how Windows Usability has been going backwards and the program management groups don’t drive usability issues.

He adds:

So after more than an hour of craziness and making my programs list garbage and being scared and seeing that Microsoft.com is a terrible website I haven’t run Moviemaker and I haven’t got the plus package.

And then ends with (which I would perceive as a gentle hint):

When I really get to use the stuff I am sure I will have more feedback.

What is so valuable here is Gates reporting his experience as a user. He tested the user experience and it didn’t work.

So, Digital People, how would your project stand up if the PM was the end-user? Why should it make a difference if it was a user named G. Brown or Prime Minister?

Each comment counts. It improves what we’re doing. As Gates says:

There’s not a day that I don’t send a piece of e-mail … like that piece of e-mail. That’s my job.

It’s ours as well.

Red Card for Twitter Use

I’m particularly interested in how political campaign teams are using social media to extend the reach of campaign messages, so I’ve been watching the US primaries with interest. From this side of the pond, the level of adoption by most campaign teams appears quite high and there is clear evidence of a range of ‘blogger outreach’ programmes to support on and offline activities.

It’s not surprising then, that with increased use of online tools to recruit, manage and leverage communities, that there is also a higher degree of focus on what is being said and by whom.

Friday brought news of Soren Dayton, a McCain (remember him?) staffer that has been suspended for tweeting the existence of a video mashup on you tube: Is Obama Wright

I’m not sure what the conditions of Soren’s employment were, but his twitter profile left little in the way of speculation to who he was and who he worked for. Obviously enough people were following Dayton to break the news about his linking to the video, and the McCain campaign felt that this provided sufficient grounds to ‘suspend’ him.

Interestingly, social networking tools are also being used to spearhead the campaign to defend Soren. Joshua Trevino from the Pacific Research Institute was quick to respond with a ‘Save Soren’ campaign on Facebook.

It would be easy to dismiss this as another case of an employee not understanding the boundaries between ‘public’ and ‘private’ communications. Unfortunately, as Soren is an experienced political campaigner and was using his profile to promote the McCain campaign, he should have understood that his tweets could be perceived as tacit endorsement by the McCain campaign for the video. So, as far as I can tell, Soren either:

(a) made an honest mistake

(b) is part of a very clever political machine working to keep the Obama/Wright issue in the news

(c) wasn’t told, or didn’t understand, what he should and shouldn’t say.

I’m going to go with option (c).  

Soren either didn’t know what he should or shouldn’t say, or didn’t understand the guidance he was given (hoping, of course, he was given some). Without a clear steer on what campaign staff should and shouldn’t say online, there are bound to be more mistakes like this.

Given recent discussions in the UK about links and libel, civil servants blogging and the implications this has, I wonder how many employees and employers have considered this in the same way for twitter?