Proposition 4: Public Services in a Networked World

Proposition facilitator: Carrie Bishop, Director, FutureGov

Local Authorities exist in a networked world; a world of web
technology, smartphones and social media; a world where information is
constantly at our fingertips, where we are using different tools to take
control of our lives, and where we expect to play a part in shaping services to
meet our personal needs. This discussion will consider what skills and
behaviours leaders need to not just survive but flourish in this networked
world, and how they might wield the best bits of web technology to deliver
excellent public services. As well as highlighting the benefits, we will
consider the risks of going online and when not to apply web-technology. We
will also be exploring the discipline of Design Thinking and how it can be
applied to public services; we hear a lot about “co-designing” and
“co-producing” services but what does it really mean to design and implement
services with, rather than for, people?

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4 Responses to Proposition 4: Public Services in a Networked World

  1. Pingback: Welcome to the Solace Summit 2011 | Solace Summit 2011

  2. Roger White says:

    Hi – just clicked through to this site having seen Mike’s most recent member briefing. No other comments published yet so am I the first?!

    I believe proposition 4 merits major discussion and I’m sure will get it. In respect of “how local government can best focus on meeting the needs” of young people there *is* a big generation gap. Visit some of the forums and discussions inhabited by younger local government staff and witness their frustration at their inability to get over to senior people the implications of some of those changes. Ask yourself if you, your authority or your senior members use social media like Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and so on, whether that use is effective and if so how you know.

    Having seeded that I’m happy to provide further thoughts and examples if helpful.

    • Thanks for your comment and for kick starting what I hope will be a lively conversation.

      It is true that the more senior members of our communities are least familiar with forms of social media and of course we are not suggesting that the same medium would be used for all age groups. We do, however, often overlook the overlap between the needs of young people and the elderly – both can experience feelings of concern, isolation or vulnerability and equally both groups want excellent public services tailored to their personal needs.

      It is also an interesting question to ask how we can know if use of social media is effective or not? I am sure there will be experts at the SOLACE summit well placed to comment on this.

  3. Ruth Hyde says:

    In this networked world debate we could do a lot worse than take the so called “5 principles of wikinomics”(Tapscott and Williams ( 2006) “How mass collaboration changes everything” and “Macrowikinomics: Rebooting business and the world” ( 2010) – same authors – and look at how they apply to local govt.
    1. Collaboration: one of the points Tapscott and Williams stress here is the need to change the old hierachical way of doing things and move from social networking to social production – whereby collaborative innovation becomes as essential a skill as budgeting and planning. Collective knowledge, capability and resources embodied in horizontal networks can accomplish more than one organsiaiton or individual acting alone.
    2. Openness. Here I believe we are only just beginning to scratch the surface of what it means to have almost boundry-less organisations, and a standard of data transparency which is far beyond what we are even now struggling to achieve.
    3. Sharing: the new culture of sharing needs to progress beyond where we are now – talking about sharing back office services, to “redefine public space and public goods in an increasingly crowded and interdependent world : like a park in a village we need new global parks in the emerging global village” P31 (2010)
    4. Integrity. Isn’t it fascinating that this is one of the 5 principles – and what an opportunity for SOLACE! In the world of NOTW, rioting, banking etc, the values of honesty, objectivity and accountability are the foundations of trust. We are well placed to make a good contribution to this theme
    5.Interdependence Everything is connected to everything else and we live in a very complex world Local councillors and local councils are ideally placed to take a wider view. To identify where the conflicting interests are and make judgments in the interests of local communities will be increasingly important; and to ensure the vulnerable are not overlooked, to spot the unintended consequnces of actions, or scan the whole and identify the dangers and pitfalls that lie ahead.

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