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Web 2.0 in Government: Why and How?

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EUR 23358 EN - 2008
Web 2.0 in Government:
Why and How?
David Osimo
2
The mission of the IPTS is to provide customer-driven support to the EU policy-making
process by researching science-based responses to policy challenges that have both
a socio-economic and a scientific or technological dimension.
European Commission
Joint Research Centre
Institute for Prospective Technological Studies
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JRC 45269
EUR 23358 EN
ISSN 1018-5593
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3
Preface
At the European Council held in Lisbon in March 2000, EU15 Heads of Government set a
goal for Europe to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in
the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater
social cohesion. In 2005, the renewed Lisbon goals emphasized working for growth and jobs,
including facilitating innovation through the take up of ICT and investing more in human
capital.1
Information and Communication Technologies, and related policies, play a key role in
achieving the goals of the Lisbon strategy. In 2005, the new strategic framework for
Information Society policy, i2010,2 identified three policy priorities: the completion of a
single European information space; strengthening innovation and investment in ICT research;
achieving an inclusive European Information Society.
All three priorities, and especially the last one, consider the public sector to be a key ICT
application field, because of the impact that ICT-enabled public services can have on
economic growth, inclusion, and quality of life. Within this framework, policy actions have
been taken in the eGovernment field, the eGovernment Action Plan,3 the 7th Framework
Programme for Research and Development4 and the ICT policy support programme of the
Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP).5
The IPTS,6 as part of its mission to monitor emerging technologies and their socio-economic
impact, has been working on a specific research line on the emerging trends of web 2.0 since
2005. The results of this monitoring exercise have been presented at high level conferences
and experts group, validated in both the scientific and policy community, and published in
peer-reviewed journals (Pascu, Osimo et al. 2007; Pascu, Osimo et al. 2008).
In 2007, this research has continued in a dedicated exploratory research project, EROSC.
Furthermore, at the request of DG INFSO (European Commission), additional research was
carried out by IPTS specifically on the implications of web 2.0 for public services such as
eGovernment, eHealth and eLearning. These are all fields where IPTS has a long tradition of
research in support of European policies.7
1 http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/eeurope/i2010/index_en.htm
2 “i2010 – A European Information Society for growth and employment” COM(2005) 229
3 "I2010 eGovernment Action plan" COM(2006) 173
4 See http://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/ict/ and Official Journal L 412 of 30/12/2006
5 Official Journal L 310/15 of 9/11/2006
6 Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, one of the seven research institutes that make up the Joint
Research Centre of the European Commission
7 Further information on IPTS research in these fields is available at http://is.jrc.es/pages/EAP/eS.html
4
The results of the research on eGovernment are presented in this report, which combines a
scientific approach with a practical purpose, in order to support the scientific debate, the
policy decisions, and the actual implementation of web 2.0 projects.
Chapter 1 presents the background of eGovernment and web 2.0, which makes up the
rationale for this research. Chapter 2 presents the research questions and the methodology.
Chapter 3 proposes an operational definition of web 2.0 and of the different role of proactive
users. Chapter 4 illustrates the results of the research, by describing the implications of web
2.0 in a set of eGovernment domains, and by presenting 6 cases. Chapter 5 provides a cross-
analysis of the detailed results, in order to answer the main research questions. Chapter 6
draws the main conclusions from this analysis.
5
Table of contents
Preface........................................................................................................................................3
Executive summary....................................................................................................................7
1. Background and rationale.................................................................................................11
2. Research questions and methodology..............................................................................15
3. A working definition of web 2.0...................................................................................... 17
3.1. Different roles of proactive users...............................................................................18
4. Research findings............................................................................................................. 21
4.1. The domains of usage of web 2.0 in the government context.................................... 21
4.2. Web 2.0 for regulation ...............................................................................................23
4.3. Web 2.0 for cross-agency cooperation.......................................................................27
4.4. Web 2.0 for knowledge management.........................................................................28
4.5. Web 2.0 for political participation and transparency.................................................30
4.6. Web 2.0 for service provision.................................................................................... 33
4.7. Web 2.0 for law enforcement.....................................................................................36
4.8. Web 2.0 for other relevant domains of government ..................................................38
5. A cross-analysis: answering the research questions......................................................... 41
6. Conclusions: why and how web 2.0 in government?.......................................................49
Acknowledgements.................................................................................................................. 51
References................................................................................................................................ 53
6
List of Tables and Figures
Table 1: The eruptive growth of web 2.0 applications (source: Technorati; Wikipedia,
Myspace, Youtube, Nielsen-Netratings).................................................................................. 13
Table 2: Full list of operational research questions and related methods ................................16
Table 3: List of web 2.0 initiatives, and relative domains of relevance for government.........22
Table 4: Domains of impact of web 2.0 on government..........................................................23
Figure 1: % of services fully available online and % of citizens submitting forms or payments
through the Internet, EU27, 2002/2007 (source: Eurostat)...................................................... 12
Figure 2: Operational description of web 2.0 (adapted from O' Reilly and Forrester research)
..................................................................................................................................................17
Figure 3: The different role of users in web 2.0 applications. Source: IPTS re-elaboration of
(Deere 2006; Rainie 2007; Young 2007)................................................................................. 19
Figure 4: Screenshot of Peer-to-Patent.....................................................................................25
Figure 5: Screenshot of the KM system in Allen and Overy. (Source:
http://www.slideshare.net/leebryant/allen-overy-social-software-project-case-study)............ 29
Figure 6: Screenshot of e-petitions...........................................................................................32
Figure 7: Screenshot of PatientOpinion.com ...........................................................................35
Figure 8: Screenshot of mybikelane.com.................................................................................37
7
Executive summary
ICT has long been recognized as a key driver of government modernization. Accordingly,
eGovernment has been on the policy agenda for several years, and at EU level it has been a
policy priority since the eEurope Action Plan in 1999, up to the present eGovernment Action
Plan.
Since 2003, a new wave of web-based applications, which now go under the name of web 2.0,
have been launched with very little investment and have encountered dramatic success in
terms of take-up. These applications rely on the concept of the user as a producer of: content
(blog, wiki, Flickr), taste/emotion (Last.fm, de.li.cious), contacts (MySpace), and
reputation/feedback (eBay, TripAdvisor).
Recent research on the impact of these technologies emphasizes the disruptive impact they
have already had on the social life of people, as well as on industries such as advertising and
media.
In order to support EU policy development for eGovernment, this report by IPTS8 aims to
assess whether these trends are relevant and have implications for government-related
activities.
In particular, the research addresses the following general questions:
qA. Are web 2.0 applications relevant for the government context?
qB. If they are, in what way is web 2.0 likely to have an impact on government?
qC. How significant could this impact be?
qD. How are web 2.0 applications implemented in the government context?
To answer these questions, the research uses a combination of a web survey of existing
initiatives, desk research on the impact in the private sector, and in depth-case studies.
With regard to the scope, web 2.0 in this report is operationally defined as a combination of
technologies (e.g. Ajax), applications (e.g. wiki) and values (e.g. user as a producer). The
report does not only cover implementation inside and by government agencies, but also by
civil society, citizens and single civil servants.
qA. Are web 2.0 applications relevant for the government context?
The long list of web 2.0 applications in the public and the private sector, collected through the
web survey, shows that web 2.0 is indeed relevant and has already been applied in the
government context.
The most visible impact is certainly in the field of political participation. However, the impact
is visible in many other different domains, in both the front and back office:
Back office domains Front office domains
Regulation
Cross-agency collaboration
Knowledge management
Service provision
Political participation and transparency
Law enforcement
8 Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, one of the seven research institutes that make up the Joint
Research Centre of the European Commission
8
For each of these domains, the report illustrates the nature of the impact of web 2.0, and it
analyzes case studies of web 2.0 application adoption in government-related activities.
The case-studies analyzed are the following:
Regulation: Peer-to-Patent is a web-based platform where patent applications are
published and pre-assessed by self-appointed experts on a purely voluntary basis.
Evidence is then submitted to the US Patent Office for evaluation and decision.
Cross-agency collaboration: Intellipedia is a wiki platform managed by the CIA,
which enables the direct collaboration between the analysts of the 14 US Intelligence
agencies.
Knowledge management: an international law firm has implemented an internal
knowledge management platform which enables informal knowledge sharing through
blogs, group newsfeeds, group bookmarking. While this case is from the private
sector, it could easily be transferred to the public sector.
Service provision: PatientOpinion is a website which was launched by a General
Practitioner in order to improve the National Health Service. It collects and publishes
patients' feedback and ratings on the services they have received at hospitals.
Political participation: Petitions.gov.uk is an online service where citizens can submit
petitions directly to the Prime Minister, and view and sign petitions submitted by other
users.
Law enforcement: Mybikelane is a website where cyclists post photos of cars illegally
parked, with a view to raising awareness about the problem.
qB. In what way is web 2.0 likely to have an impact on government?
The nature of this impact is characterised mainly by a more active user role. Crucially, the
term "users" is intended to cover both civil servants and citizens. These user roles can be
diverse, as shown in the following figure:
9
In the figure, the central circle represents the minority of users who take an active part in
designing and delivering the service. In the cases analyzed for the government context, these
are, for example, analysts contributing to wiki-based intelligence reports in Intellipedia, or
citizens creating a new petition online.
The second circle represents a larger number of users who support the service by providing
comments and reviews, such as feedback on treatment they have received at hospitals in
PatientOpinion or the rating of evidence submitted to Peer-to-Patent. These people play a
fundamental role in ensuring the quality and relevance of content submitted by other users.
The third circle represents the people who use these web 2.0 applications, and benefit from
the services provided by other users. For instance, this refers to people reading other patients'
comments on PatientOpinion.
The fourth circle represents all Internet users, who, without any voluntary engagement,
provide automatic attention and taste data simply by using an online service. In the private
sector, a classic example is the "most read articles" page in online newspapers.
As levels of engagement decrease from the centre out, so the number of users increases.
The specific benefits of users taking a proactive role are identified as making government
more:
- Simple and user-oriented: for example, PatientOpinion helps government understand user
needs and the public feedback and rating system stimulates user-orientation.
- Transparent and accountable: applications such as theyworkforyou.com and
planningalerts.com enable citizen awareness and monitoring of government activities.
- Participative and inclusive: eParticipation solutions such as ePetitions stimulate debate and
participation in public decision-making.
- Joined-up and networked: Intellipedia and the knowledge management platform of Allen
and Overy enable better collaboration across and within organisations, and reduce the "silo
effect" and duplication of efforts.
Risks are also analysed - for example: low participation, participation restricted to an elite,
low quality of contributions and additional "noise", loss of control due to excessive
transparency, destructive behaviour by users, manipulation of content by interested parties
and privacy infringements.
qC. How significant could this impact be?
In terms of the significance of this impact, no fully-fledged impact analysis has been possible
due to the fact that these initiatives are still in the early stages. However, some evidence is
available to help frame the discussion:
Web 2.0 applications are already being used in government not only for soft issues, such
as public relations and public service announcements, but also for core internal tasks such
as intelligence services; reviewing patents; and enabling public participation in decision
making.
Significant take-up and impact is visible only in some cases, mostly in the back-office
activities and in political participation. Intellipedia is used by the majority of analysts and
led to key findings in Iraq and Nigeria; Peer-To-Patent has provided the key evidence
used by the US Patent Office to assess and reject 5 patent applications already; e-Petitions
has involved million of citizens and has contributed to blocking the bill proposal on road
10
tax charge. Take-up is particularly important as these applications rely on users input as a
mechanism for quality insurance, and low take-up could make the initiatives more
vulnerable to low-quality contributions, destructive behaviour and manipulation by vested
interests.
The impact of web 2.0 is converging with other long-term societal trends such as
demography, empowered customers, the rise of creative knowledge workers, the
importance of informal learning, user-driven innovation, the move from hierarchy to
network-based forms of organisations, and the consumerization of IT.
qD. How are web 2.0 applications implemented in the government context?
In terms of how web 2.0 applications are implemented, the most favourable context is
characterised by a high-trust, collaborative and knowledge-intensive environment. For these
reasons, implementation in small-sized back-office activities appears easier to start with.
Strong strategic motivation, either top-down or bottom-up, is of course important.
Transparency and the availability of public data are also important prerequisites for these
initiatives to flourish. However, all these prerequisites are also outputs stimulated by web 2.0-
based collaboration.
In terms of ownership, the government plays different roles, from active promoter to passive
subject. There are several examples of initiatives launched without any form of government
authorisation or even without government being aware of them. In terms of implementation,
the usability of applications is key, and this is achieved through continuous improvement
following user feedback (perpetual beta).
Appropriate governance mechanisms have to be in place in order to avoid the risks listed
above. User participation cannot simply be taken for granted but has to be proactively
cultivated. To overcome the risk of offensive, illegal, destructive or low quality contributions
quality insurance, authentication and moderation policies have been developed on a case-
by-case basis and are illustrated in the case studies and in the cross-analysis. Users also play
an important role in this governance model, for example by supporting quality insurance and
moderation.
The following common mistakes have also been identified: adopting only the technology,
but not the values; not putting in place the appropriate governance mechanisms; focussing on
developing a proprietary web 2.0 application, while most collaboration/conversation happens
outside government websites and/or across applications.
In conclusion, web 2.0 presents significant opportunities as well as risks for government, in
several areas. Civil Society Organizations, individual citizens and civil servants are already
using these applications in relation with government activities, outside the reach and control
of institutions. Thus, engaging with web 2.0, and learning how to cope with this loss of
control, appears not only to open avenues for a more effective administration, but also
constitutes a necessary element of a risk management strategy.
11
1. Background and rationale
Over at least the last twenty years, the role played by governments has moved further and
further away from direct service provision towards regulation and governance of services
provided by a multiplicity of private and non-profit entities. Governments have put reform
and innovation of the public sector into their programmes, striving to deliver more efficient
and effective public services, in order to meet the increasing expectations of citizens with
shrinking public budgets. The common features of the reform agenda are a more citizen-
oriented and open government, better public sector performance, new forms of accountability
and control, the use of market mechanisms, and more decentralised and meritocratic
management of employees (OECD 2005).
ICT has long been recognized as a key strategic tool to enable these reforms. Since the late
90s, it has been central in driving the policies for reforming government (Demmke 2006).
There has been substantial human and financial investment9 in European countries with the
objective "to deliver better quality public services, reduce waiting times and improve cost
effectiveness, raise productivity, and improve transparency and accountability" (EC 2003).
Substantial results have been certainly achieved in specific fields: for example, the most
important services are available on the Internet to all citizens, the majority of income tax
declarations are made electronically, and huge savings have been achieved through
eProcurement. However, achieving the expectations and goals of the early visions has been
more difficult than expected. While eGovernment included by definition a reorganisation of
public administration, this change has often proved very difficult to implement (Dunleavy,
Margetts et al. 2006).
Innovating the front-office also proved challenging. Citizens have been slow to adopt public
services made available online through significant investment and usage rates are still low
(EC 2003). As Figure 1 shows, in 2007, just above 10% of European citizens used public
services through the Internet at transaction level,10 despite the fact that the number of services
available online has grown considerably over the last few years and now includes the majority
of basic public services (Capgemini 2007).
9 11bn Euros were invested on eGovernment projects in EU countries in 2004 only (source: ECEG project)
10 Transaction is the most advanced level of interactivity of online services, enabling citizens to submit forms
online and carry out the payment.
12
36
47 49 51 59
05,3 6,1 8,8 12,6
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
% of services fully interactive online % of citizens using fully interactive services
Figure 1: % of services fully available online and % of citizens submitting forms or payments
through the Internet, EU27, 2002/2007 (source: Eurostat)
Against the slow growth of eGovernment usage from 2003 to today, it is somewhat ironic
that, precisely in 2003, a new wave of web-based applications, which now go under the name
of web 2.0, were launched with very little investment and encountered dramatic success in
terms of take-up. These applications relied on the concept of the user as a producer: of content
(blog, wiki, Flickr), of taste/emotion (Last.fm, de.li.cious), of goods (eBay), of contacts
(MySpace), of relevance (Google pagerank), of reputation/feedback (eBay, TripAdvisor), of
storage/server capacity (P2P), of connectivity (wifi sharing, mesh networks) or of intelligence
(business web 2.0). The number of users of blogs, wikis, social networking websites has
grown exponentially over the last 3 years (Pascu 2008)
13
Blogs 70M blogs
(March
2007),
doubling
every 6
months since
2003
Wiki Wikipedia
2M articles
in the
English
section, (July
2007),
300.000
authors since
2003
Social
networking Myspace
100M users,
Youtube
100M video
views/day,
45% of web
users visit
those sites
(2007)
Table 1: The eruptive growth of web 2.0 applications (source: Technorati; Wikipedia,
Myspace, Youtube, Nielsen-Netratings)
There is a paradox between the slow take-up of large-scale online public services and the
rapid take-up of low-budget user-driven applications. And this paradox is the starting point of
this research. It suggests the need to explore whether the impact of web 2.0 extends to the
government context, or it is limited to the private sphere, to personal relations and
entertainment.
0
50000
100000
150000
200000
250000
300000
350000
Sep 2006Mar 2006Sep 2005Mar 2005Sep 2004Mar 2004Sep 2003Mar 2003
15
2. Research questions and methodology
The general question on the significance of web 2.0 for eGovernment can be articulated as
follows:
qE. Are web 2.0 applications relevant for the government context?
qF. If they are, in what way is web 2.0 likely to have an impact on government?
qG. How significant could this impact be?
qH. How are web 2.0 applications implemented in the government context?
The following methods have been used to answer the questions:
m1. a web survey of existing innovative web 2.0 initiatives in government-related
activities, which have been tagged according to their domain of impact;
m2. A desk-based review of existing web 2.0 applications in the private sector, in order to
understand applications that could also have potential for government;
m3. A set of case studies of existing experiences, based on desk research and interviews
with the project managers.
In the following table, we present how the research questions will be operationalized in a
larger set of questions, and how they will be answered by each method.
Main research
questions Operational questions Method
qA. Is web 2.0 relevant for the government domain?
- Are web 2.0 applications
already being used in the
government context?
m1 web survey of existing innovative
web 2.0 initiatives in government-
related activities
- are there applications in the
private sector which can be
transferred in the government
context?
m1 web survey of existing innovative
web 2.0 initiatives in government-
related activities
m2 desk-based review of existing web
2.0 applications in private sector
qB. In what way is web 2.0 likely to have an impact on government?
- what government activities
are affected, and in what
way?
m1 web survey of existing innovative
web 2.0 initiatives in in government-
related activities
m2 desk-based review of existing web
2.0 applications in the private sector.
- What is the role of the users? m3 Case studies
16
Main research
questions Operational questions Method
- What are the opportunities
and the risks for
governments?
m3 Case studies
qC. How significant could this impact be?
- is it used only for public
relations activities, or also for
core/strategic tasks?
m1 web survey of existing innovative
web 2.0 initiatives in government-
related activities
- how does it help to meet the
strategic goals of
government?
m1 Web survey of existing innovative
web 2.0 initiatives in government-
related activities
- are the applications
encountering significant take-
up?
m3 Case studies
- have these applications had
visible impact? m3 Case studies
qD. How are web 2.0 applications implemented in government-related activities?
- What is the context and what
are the prerequisites of the
existing initiatives?
m3 Case study
- who has ownership of these
initiative? m3 Case study
- how is user participation
stimulated? m3 Case study
- how is the quality of user
contributions ensured? m3 Case study
- what are the mistakes to
avoid? m3 Case study
Table 2: Full list of operational research questions and related methods
17
3. A working definition of web 2.0
There are many definitions of web 2.0 and denominations for it (social software, social
computing, participative web, user-generated content), each one capturing some dimensions
and missing others (O' Reilly 2005).
In this paper, we refer to those applications which exploit the Internet’s connectivity
dimension to support the networking of relevant people and content. As Pang (2005) puts it,
"the brilliance of social-software applications like Flickr, Delicious, and Technorati is that
they recognize that computers are really good at doing certain things, like working with
gigantic quantities of data, and really bad at, for example, understanding the different
meanings of certain words, like 'depression.' They devote computing resources in ways that
basically enhance communication, collaboration, and thinking rather than trying to substitute
for them”. Furthermore, the user is an integral part and co-producer of each element of the
service delivered.
Therefore, we propose an operational description of what is included in the definition of web
2.0, instrumental to the purpose of this paper.
Web 2.0 is composed of a set of technologies, of applications, and "values" (see Figure 2).
Figure 2: Operational description of web 2.0 (adapted from O' Reilly and Forrester research)
From the technological point of view, the building blocks of web 2.0 are innovations
introduced over recent years to increase the usability, integration and re-use of web
applications. We refer to Ajax, XML, Open API, Microformats, Flash/Flex.
Largely based on these building blocks, new applications have been developed that allow for
easy publishing, information sharing, and collaboration, e.g. Blog, Wiki (e.g. Wikipedia),
Podcast, RSS feeds, Tagging (e.g. Flickr, del.icio.us), Social networks (e.g. Facebook,
Myspace), Search engine, Massive Multyplayer Online Games (e.g. World of Warcraft,
Second Life). These are the core applications which are commonly identified as web 2.0.
However, what really distinguishes these applications is that they share the same "values".
They build on the knowledge and skills of the user, and they can even enable the user to build
A
jax, XML, Open API, Microformats, Flash/Flex, Technologies
Blog, Wiki, Podcast, RSS feeds, Tagging, Social
networks, Search engine,MPOGames
Applications
User as producer, Collective intelligence,
Perpetual beta, Extreme ease of use
A
jax, XML, Open API, Microformats, Flash/Flex, Technologies
Blog, Wiki, Podcast, RSS feeds, Tagging, Social
networks, Search engine,MPOGames
Applications
User as producer, Collective intelligence,
Perpetual beta, Extreme ease of use
Values
18
a service (user as producer), as described in Figure 3, so that applications "get better the more
people use it"(O' Reilly 2005). User contributions are made more meaningful and rich through
collaboration and networking between users, so that the total is more than the sum of the
individual contributions (collective intelligence). The quality control system and filtering
relies strongly on peer review by other users. On the operational level of IT development,
applications are first released in beta format in order to include early user feedback, and often
are continuously improved (perpetual beta), rather than following a linear development
process from "definition of functional specification" to "final release". User feedback is
necessary to ensure maximum usability of the applications. Usability is important because
these applications rely on user contributions. Therefore take-up is not only an index of
success, but often a condition for the continued existence of the service delivered. Rather
than providing a full definition of these values, they will be illustrated by the cases in Chapter
4.
For this research, we take into account web 2.0 initiatives which adopt the technologies, the
applications and the values listed above.
3.1. Different roles of proactive users
New technological trends are difficult to capture by existing statistics. Few official statistics
exist, and data provided by private sources are not comparable and of diverse quality. The
different sources are, however, consistent in showing the exponential rise of web 2.0
application take-up over the last 3 years, albeit from a very small basis. In this chapter, we
will try to shed some light on the real significance of these trends, by describing how many
people, as a proportion of total internet users, are using web 2.0, and for what purpose.
By integrating existing data (Deere 2006; Rainie 2007; Young 2007),11 we can identify four
types of web 2.0 usage, with different degrees of user involvement, and find indications of the
percentage of internet users who are involved.
11 Eurostat data 2006 for overall Internet usage, Forrester (2007 – data from 2007), PEW (2007 – data from
2007) and IPSOS-MORI (2006 – data from 2006) for usage of web 2.0
19
Figure 3: The different role of users in web 2.0 applications. Source: IPTS re-elaboration of
(Deere 2006; Rainie 2007; Young 2007)
The core users of web 2.0 are those generating fully-fledged content, such as blogs, wikipedia
articles, videos on YouTube. These represent a small minority of Internet users, generally
younger and more IT-savvy. For European countries, (Deere 2006) estimates that 3% of
Internet users write blogs.12
A second circle represents those people who provide feedback, comments, and reviews of
existing content. This includes, for example, people who rate products, write reviews for
Amazon, tag bookmarks on del.icio.us, or even click on the "love or ban" buttons on online
radios such as LastFM. We estimate these to make up around 10% of the Internet population
in Europe.13
The third circle is composed of Internet users who access, read and watch the content
produced by the two inner circles. Although not active, these users benefit from new web 2.0
applications and values. For example, customers read others' reviews before booking a hotel
or buying a book. We estimate around 40% of Internet users fit into this category.14
The fourth circle regroups all Internet users who, though they do not deliberately use web 2.0
applications, provide input and intelligence that is transformed by web 2.0 applications into
services for other users. The act of buying a book on Amazon is exploited by the website
functionality "Customers who bought this book also bought". Reading a newspaper article on
elpais.com provides input into the "most read" section of the website. Searching for a term on
the website of the State of Delaware (US) becomes a tag which is displayed on the homepage
for other users to look at.
Of course, the data in Figure 3 are only estimates based on available data. However, the most
important point here is not about the exact percentage of people, but that web 2.0 is used not
only by the few people posting blog entries and videos on Youtube.com, but by a large share
of the population – for some applications, all Internet users.
This identification of four levels of participation is important because it sheds light on the
different potential services that can be built out of user engagement. It is no longer possible to
distinguish sharply between passive and active users, because web 2.0 applications are even
able to exploit the activity and the knowledge of passive users in order to build better services
for all users.
12 For the U.S, Rainie (2007) and Young (2007) propose a value of 13%.
13 Deere (2006) states that 7-11% of Internet users post reviews about product/services, and Young (2007)
proposes a figure of 19% for the category of "critics", and 15% for "collectors" in the U.S.
14 based on data by Deere (2006) (in Europe, 17% read blogs, 40% read other customer's reviews), Rainie
(2007) (36% of Internet users in U.S. use wikipedia) and Young (2007) (33% in U.S. are spectators).
21
4. Research findings
This chapter illustrates the main results of the study. First, it presents an overview of the
domains where web 2.0 applications can be used. It then outlines how each of these domains
could undergo change through the adoption of web 2.0 applications. Every domain of
relevance is described in a self-contained chapter, in order to help readers who may be
interested only in one, or a few domains. Therefore, some repetitions can be found between
chapters.
For six of these domains, case studies are presented. These provide a closer look at how this
happen in reality, analysing the context, implementation, governance, usage and benefit of
these cases. The case studies should not be considered necessarily as good practice, but as
examples that best illustrate the dynamics of web 2.0.
4.1. The domains of usage of web 2.0 in the government
context
In order to answer the first two research questions, a web survey and a review of existing
initiatives in the public and private sector was carried out.
This data collection showed that there are many initiatives that have adopted web 2.0
applications in the government context, and that there are relevant applications in the private
sector, which could be transferred to the government context.
Every initiative or type of initiative has been "tagged" with keywords indicating the domain
of government activity where it can be used. In the case of an initiative in the private sector,
the "tag" indicates the domain of government activity where it could be transferred.
Name Domains of usage in government link
Aboliamoli.eu Regulation, law enforcement www.aboliamoli.eu
Alaska State
agencies database, Cross-agency collaboration http://wikis.ala.org/godort/index.p
hp/alaska
CAISI wiki, Cross-agency collaboration www.caisi.ca
California wildfires Service provision http://gigaom.com/2007/10/23/web
-20-the-california-fire-crisis/
Caughtya Law enforcement www.caughtya.org
Census mash-ups Regulation, knowledge management http://www.gcensus.com/faq.php
Change Participation www.change.org
Chicagocrime Law enforcement, public sector information www.chicagocrime.org
Commentonthis Participation, www.commentonthis.com
Cyberbullying
campaign Public communication http://www.ifilm.com/video/28481
15
Davosconversation Participation, public communication www.davosconversation.org
Tag-based search of
Delaware State
portal
Service provision www.delaware.gov
Directionlessgov Service provision www.directionlessgov.com
Farmsubsidy Transparency, public sector information www.farmsubsidy.org
fixmystreet Service provision www.fixmystreet.com
France presidential
elections on
secondlife and blogs
Participation Not available (many different
blogs)
Ganfyd Knowledge management, human resources www.ganfyd.org
22
Name Domains of usage in government link
management
Gapminder Knowledge management, regulation, public
sector information www.gapminder.com
Intellipedia Cross-agency collaboration, knowledge
management, human resources management not available (intranet)
Katrina help Service provision http://katrinahelp.info/
Maplight.com Transparency, public sector information,
participation www.maplight.com
Mybikelane Law enforcement, transport www.mybikelane.com
Netmums Service provision www.netmums.com
OpenGorotto Public communication, human resources
management http://open-gorotto.jp/
PatientOpinion Service provision, human resources
management www.patientopinion.com
Peer-to-Patent Regulation, knowledge management, www.peertopatent.com
Planningalerts.com Transparency, public sector information www.planningalerts.com
Police using
YouTube Law enforcement, police www.youtube.com
Ratemyteachers Service provision www.ratemyteachers.com
San Francisco bus
passes Service provision, public sector information http://www.skot9000.com/muni/
Self-help groups
Equip Service provision http://www.equip.nhs.uk/
Theyworkforyou Participation, transparency, public sector
information, public communication www.theyworkforyou.com
UK floods Service provision, disaster management http://www.edparsons.com/?p=504
US agencies
recruiting online Human resources management http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/
index.php?id=1830
UtahNationalParks Service provision, Human resources
management http://davidfletcher.blogspot.com/2
006/12/state-parks-in-
tagzania.html
WebCameron Participation www.webcameron.org.uk
Schools Appeals Service provision www.schoolappeals.org.uk
Examples from the private sector
Allen and Overy Knowledge management, Human resources
management Not available (intranet)
Customer ratings Service provision e.g. www.tripadvisor.com
Corporate blogging
Public communication e.g. blog by Bob Lutz GM Vice-
chairman
http://fastlane.gmblogs.com/archiv
es/2007/04/let_me_tell_you_1.htm
l
Crowdsourcing
helpdesk Service provision http://www.businessweek.com/inn
ovate/content/feb2007/id20070201
_774736.htm
Reputation
management
systems
Public procurement systems www.ebay.com
GoogleEarth open
api Interoperability http://earth.google.com
Table 3: List of web 2.0 initiatives, and relative domains of relevance for government
23
This exercise enabled the identification of a set of domains of government activity for which
web 2.0 solutions could be relevant (see Table 4).
Back office domains Front office domains
Regulation
Cross-agency collaboration
Knowledge management
Political participation and transparency
Service provision
Law enforcement
Table 4: Domains of impact of web 2.0 on government
In addition, relevant impact is also envisaged, but not fully analysed, in areas such as
interoperability, human resource management, public procurement, reuse of public sector
information and public communication.
This tagging exercise shows that web 2.0 can affect many different domains of government
activity. While the debate is mostly focused on the impact in citizen-government relations (the
so-called front-office) at present, this analysis shows that web 2.0 applications are also
relevant for the back office activities of public administration.
These domains are not designed to be a fully self-consistent taxonomy of government
functions. Some are government activities, like regulation; some are specific processes, like
knowledge management; some are policy issues, like reuse of public sector information.
These are traditional domains of information-intensive government activity and concern,
where ICT plays a key role and many eGovernment initiatives have been launched (Bekkers
and Homburg 2005). They are therefore meaningful domains for policy-makers and
practitioners, where a significant degree of change can happen because of the adoption of web
2.0 solutions.
This list is not designed to be complete, either. Web 2.0 deployment is far from mature, and
its future development and adoption is difficult to predict. Some of these domains of usage
will prove irrelevant, and others will emerge. These applications are inherently subject to
creative adoption on the part of users, so it would be a contradiction to rigidly define "what
you can do" with web 2.0.
4.2. Web 2.0 for regulation
The role of government in western economies has changed significantly over the last twenty
years. Broadly speaking, its role has shifted from direct service provision to regulation, as in
the case of telecommunications, education, and healthcare. This does not imply that the role
of government is less important. As the OECD report on government modernization (OECD
2005) puts it: "government has a larger role in the societies of OECD countries than two
decades ago. But the nature of the public policy problems and the methods to deal with them
are still undergoing deep change. Governments are moving away from the direct provision of
services towards a greater role for private and non-profit entities and increased regulation of
markets. Governments’ regulatory reach is also extending into new socio-economic areas."
This trend, unlikely to change over the next few years, will pose challenges to government,
especially in view of the tightening of public budgets. The challenges are likely to be in terms
of (Noveck 2008):
- an increased quantity of work to be carried out with fewer resources, and
24
- the increasing need to make complex decisions without the benefit of adequate information
The effects of web 2.0 are already visible in regulatory activities, mainly:
in a more direct and open engagement of external resources (citizens and experts) in
specific phases of the decision-making process. For example, the case study on the
US Patent Office (below) shows how the patenting process could be opened up in the
initial intelligence-gathering phase, using the collaborative gathering and filtering of
existing evidence by self-appointed experts, in order to assess the inventive step of a
patent application. Other applications, such as sense.us and gapminder.com, use the
collaborative effort of individuals to elaborate and visualize large amounts of public
data on policy-relevant complex issues from different perspectives. This shows how
peer-based collaboration could support the regulatory process, which would however
remain in the remit of government.
At the same time, the regulation task of government is likely to change as consumers
are increasingly empowered by the availability of information on the Internet, and
particularly by the horizontal sharing of information among consumers, such as
customers' reviews, ratings, reputation management systems. This trend, reinforced
by web 2.0 applications, is reducing the information asymmetry between suppliers
and customers, and "making the market more perfect",15 thereby changing the role of
government in consumer protection.
Furthermore, individual citizens are likely to take a more proactive role in demanding
and pushing regulation by government. An example of this concerns the fees charged
by mobile operators in Italy for adding credit to a phone. A single citizen, having
failed to obtain an answer from the national regulator, collected 800,000 signatures
through blogs and websites, and sent them to the European Commission. Following a
clarification request from the EC, the Italian Antitrust authority started an
investigation and finally induced the Italian government to outlaw the additional
charge (www.aboliamoli.eu).
As this example shows, the decision about involving citizens in the regulatory process does
not lie in the hands of government only, but sometimes has to be accepted as a matter-of- fact.
4.2.1. CASE: Peer-to-Patent
Peer-to-Patent is an initiative launched by the New York Law School (Prof. Beth Noveck),
and endorsed by the US Patent Office. It aims to improve the process for reviewing patents,
which is made slower and less effective by the high number of patents to be processed and the
technical knowledge required. Peer-to-Patent opens up the first phase of the patent review
process (reviewing the prior art) to voluntary contributions by participants. These are assessed
and rated by the participants themselves. The most relevant references are then submitted to
the US Patent Office for the official review, which is made simpler by the contributions,
selection and comments made by the participants.
15 Interview with Bob Young, founder of Lulu.com (a provider of self-publishing services)
25
Figure 4: Screenshot of Peer-to-Patent
Challenge
addressed
Patent Offices worldwide are facing increasing challenges, because of the
increasing number of patent requests to be examined, and the difficulty to
ensure that the examiners have adequate knowledge. The result is a delay in
examining the applications, and very high rate of approval (more than 90%),
leading to a high rate of legal complaints.
Context This is a knowledge-intensive part of government activities. The Patent
Office is the paradigmatic example of the challenge facing regulatory
agencies: how to make complex decisions without the benefit of adequate
information.
Functionalities The Peer-to-Patent project opens up the initial phases of the patent
examination process.
In particular, it aims to involve external experts in assessing the current state
of the art on the issue addressed by the patent.
Experts review patent applications, propose relevant state-of-the-art material,
assess the proposed material and rank it, in order to enable the US Patent
Office to examine only the most relevant information ("top 10") when
deciding whether to grant the patent.
26
Role of users Participating experts research and find prior art (producing content).
Participating experts rate all submitted prior art (rating and commenting)
Government users (Patent Office) use the content and the ratings of the
experts (using user-generated content and ratings).
What is new? Open information on patent applications.
Voluntary engagement of external experts to perform an internal government
function.
Non-restricted participation - expertise is self-declared and valued ex-post by
other participants.
Content is rated and ranked according to its relevance by participants.
Ownership New York Law School launched the project, which was officially endorsed
by the US Patent Office. It is now a partnership of Government, academia
and the private sector (sponsors include IBM, Microsoft, HP etc.).
Cost New York Law School incubated and supported this project. In addition, the
one-off budget of approximately $1.5 Million has been funded half by
foundations, including the MacArthur Foundation and the Omidyar Network,
and half by corporate sponsors, including IBM, Microsoft, HP and other IT
companies.
Quality
assurance
The community is self-regulating:
1) Experts rank the claims of a patent application to identify the most
relevant/representative ones, in order to focus community attention and
labour where most needed,
2) Experts rank prior art submitted by the community in response to a patent
application, in order to create manageable and searchable output for patent
examiner,
3) Experts rate other participants, in order to encourage the right kind of
participation.
Authentication Weak: blog style. Participants provide only valid e-mail address, username
and password.
Usage Between the launch of Peer-to- Patent on June 15 2007 and February 2008:
1,932 people have signed up to be reviewers. Reviewers have posted 170
instances of prior art for 35 applications.
There are currently 7 applications available for public review from:
Microsoft , IBM, Red Hat, Intel, HP, GE
Drivers of
participation
Desire for peer recognition is the foreseen driver.
Benefits Faster decision-making process,
Better decisions,
Interest declared from Patent Offices in Europe.
Risks Low participation,
Low quality input,
Manipulation of input,
Abuse of information contained in patent applications.
Further
information
www.peertopatent.com
http://dotank.nyls.edu/communitypatent/
Box 1: The case of Peer-to-Patent
27
4.3. Web 2.0 for cross-agency cooperation
Internal fragmentation between institutional levels, agencies, departments, often referred to as
the silo effect, reduces the efficiency and effectiveness of government actions. In recent years,
disasters such as 9-11 and the Katrina Hurricane exposed how lack of collaboration between
separate government agencies can hinder the efforts for preventing or reacting to these
disasters.
Promoting more collaboration across agencies, or ‘joined-up’ government, has been one of
the key objectives of government modernization.
Wikis in particular are starting to be used in companies and also in government to enhance
cooperation within and across organisations.
Their application in the eGovernment context is to be found:
in the coordinated delivery of services to homeless people by different social and
health service providers (CAISI, Alaska social services),
in coordinating the reaction of the different agencies involved when reacting to natural
disasters, including possible contributions from citizens. Gartner devoted a report on
the usage of wiki in disaster recovery, mainly to collate information from disparate
sources,16
in warfare and intelligence, for collating information and drafting intelligence reports
across separate agencies and without regard to hierarchies (Intellipedia, see case
below),
in support of the internal policy-making process; for example, using wiki to streamline
inter-department or inter-governmental consultation.
4.3.1. CASE: Intellipedia
Intellipedia is a wiki-based platform which enables the direct collaborative drafting of
intelligence reports by analysts from different intelligence agencies, with little or no
hierarchical filtering (McConnell 2007). For obvious reasons, this being an internal
application, no screenshot is available.
Challenge
addressed
Silo effect within government, which can weaken the effectiveness of the
intelligence effort.
Context Intelligence agencies of the U.S. were under pressure after failing to prevent
9-11. Investigation pointed to the failure of internal coordination as one of
the reasons. Strong reform was then launched from the top, using wiki as a
tool. At the same time, younger analysts demanded this reform from the
bottom.
Functionalities This wikipedia-like software allows analysts from different agencies to
produce joint reports, which are more robust as they also include dissenting
voices.
Role of users Analysts produce joint reports (producing content).
Analysts edit and validate contributions from other analysts (providing
16 http://www.gartner.com/DisplayDocument?id=503986
28
ratings and feedback).
What is new? Direct analyst-to-analyst sharing of information.
Informal cooperation, no hierarchy.
Ownership Intellipedia is a project of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence,
which is the head of the U.S. intelligence community. Analysts belonging to
the 16 agencies of the community participate.
Cost No information available, but the MediaWiki software is free, distributed
under the terms of the GNU General Public Licence.
Quality
assurance
Self-regulated. Viewpoints are publicly attributed to the agencies, offices,
and individuals participating, and analysts whose judgments most often turn
out to be correct, are rewarded.
Authentication Strong, running on a super-secure intranet
Usage According to internal officials, it is used today by two-thirds of the analysts.
Sixteen months after its creation, officials say, the top-secret version of
Intellipedia (hosted on JWICS) has 29,255 articles, with an average of 114
new articles and more than 4,800 edits to articles added each working day.
Main tool used in drafting key intelligence reports (Nigeria, Iraqi insurgents
using chlorine in explosives).
Drivers of
participation
Intellipedia editors award shovels to users to reward exemplary contributions
("Wiki gardening") and to encourage others in the community to contribute.
Benefits Better decisions by avoiding the silo effect and information bottlenecks
Risks Possible breaches of sensitive information. But according to internal
officials, it is worth it: "the key is risk management, not risk avoidance".17
Further
information
http://defensenews.com/story.php?F=2733832&C=america
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellipedia
http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/techinnovations/2006-11-02-
intellipedia_x.htm
Box 2: The case of Intellipedia
4.4. Web 2.0 for knowledge management
Governments are typically considered knowledge-intensive organisations, and will become
increasingly so in the future (OECD 2005). Knowledge management is key to improving the
efficiency and effectiveness of government.
While traditional knowledge management systems are applied to structured knowledge, web
2.0 applications (social software, folksonomies, and wiki) are particularly effective in
enabling the sharing of informal and tacit knowledge internally, among employees.
Furthermore, they enable finding, selecting and using external niche competences, which is
especially useful for the challenge facing regulatory agencies, which increasingly have to
make complex decision without the benefit of adequate information (OECD 2005).
Web 2.0 applications have been deployed within private companies to answer some key
questions:
Which articles do senior managers think are important this morning?
Which newsfeeds do my favorite colleagues use?
17 http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/techinnovations/2006-11-02-intellipedia_x.htm
29
What discussion topics are hot in a project team (things you can’t anticipate)?
Who is expert/working on this specific topic?
These questions are very relevant within public organisations as well and these "enterprise
2.0" (McAfee 2006) solutions could be adopted in the government context, within and across
organisations.
These questions can be answered by applying a set of web 2.0 solutions:
Blogs and wikis for discussion and collaboration,
Collaborative filtering of information, recommendation systems, bookmark sharing
(tags, RSS feeds),
On top of this: algorithms applied to users’ attention data and behaviour.
4.4.1. CASE: Allen and Overy
Allen and Overy is a well established international law firm, founded in 1930 with 4,500
employees and offices in 19 countries. In order to optimize information flows within the
company, they implemented an internal knowledge management system based on web 2.0
applications.
Figure 5: Screenshot of the KM system in Allen and Overy. (Source:
http://www.slideshare.net/leebryant/allen-overy-social-software-project-case-study)
30
Challenge
addressed
Sharing tacit knowledge,
Understanding who does what,
Facilitating the learning process for newcomers.
Context Knowledge-intensive sector,
Collaborative culture,
Dealing with sensitive topics and data.
Functionalities Group blogs; group tags; social bookmarking; group newsfeeds (see screen
caption) with attention data built in,
Deployed with fast iterative approach – no large scale IT project.
Role of users Users produce blog entries (producing content).
Users voluntarily recommend, bookmark, and tag content (producing ratings
and feedback).
Users automatically produce recommendations for content (producing
attention, and taste data).
What is new? Capacity to share tacit knowledge, recommendations, collective filtering.
Ownership Launched by the knowledge management department.
Cost Not known.
Quality
assurance
Soft governance, light moderation, keeping the wiki attitude.
Deployed in groups with high collaborative culture. Sensitive (client-related)
data is not discussed.
Authentication Strong, integrated with enterprise Single Sign-on
Usage Extreme ease of use: "Just three screen shots or two minutes of an online
demo.”
Pilot: 3 month pilot for 3 groups. Now, 20 months later, 30 groups. 30%
employees use it.
Became internal standard for collaboration.
Drivers of
participation
Desire for recognition drives participation
Benefits Increased awareness of what others are doing – less duplication of effort,
Reduction in internal e-mails sent,
Better learning and knowledge creation.
Risks Lack of participation,
Raising non desired issues,
Sharing sensitive data.
Further
information
www.ikmagazine.com
http://www.slideshare.net/leebryant/allen-overy-social-software-project-
case-study
Box 3: the case of Allen and Overy
4.5. Web 2.0 for political participation and transparency
The decline in citizen engagement in the public sphere has long been one of the main
challenges of modern government (Finer 1997; Dutton and Peltu 2007). ICT has been
considered as a strategic tool for reinforcing citizens engagement for some time, through
eDemocracy and eParticipation initiatives, though it has had mixed success so far (Bryant and
Wilcox 2007).
31
Political participation is arguably the domain where the impact of web 2.0 is now visible and
mature (Kohut 2008). Bloggers have been very influential in elections since 2004, and social
networking tools are now a fundamental tool for many politicians, in the U.S. and also in
Europe. According to HitWise data, blogs have surpassed traditional media as greatest driver
of traffic to political websites.18 Besides political campaigning, there are already examples of
social computing applications in the consultative process. This does not imply embracing
direct democracy versus representative democracy, but opens up new possibilities for
participation and engagement.
A particular role in eParticipation is played by the policies on transparency. The trend towards
enhanced transparency is one of the key changes of future government (Frissen, Millard et al.
2007). Most EU countries have adopted a Freedom of Information Act, which establishes the
right and modalitites of citizen access to public information. The Council of Europe is
currently working on the European Convention on Access to Official Documents, which will
reinforce the legal basis of citizens' rights to access public information (Jäderblom 2007).
Many web 2.0 initiatives are being set up to enhance the transparency of public processes.
They use, re-aggregate and analyze public data to monitor the behaviour of civil servants and
politicians. Often data are publicly available but their potentially disruptive impact results
from the re-elaboration of data in a more meaningful and understandable way.
There are relevant examples of applications in other eParticipation activities:
Politicians using web 2.0 applications for a more direct contact with the electorate. In
many EU countries, politicians have blogs and participate in social networking
websites. In the UK, both Tony Blair and David Cameron made extensive usage of
video-streaming services such as YouTube; in France, the parties of the presidential
candidates Le Pen, Royal and Sarkozy opened headquarters in Second Life.
Bringing citizens' participation upstream: Commentonthis.com allows citizens to share
their views on the details of key government documents, which have been split into
paragraphs in order to make them "commentable".
Monitoring public representatives: the URL of the initiative Theyworkforyou.com
illustrates the change well. Voters expect consistent behaviour from their
representatives and are able to closely monitor it, thanks to a service which re-
packages public information in a usable way.
Applications such as planningalerts.com and farmsubsidy.org enable citizens to
monitor administrative procedures such as planning applications and public funding.
Opening discussion forums: the Davos forum, where strong confrontations of the anti-
global movement took place, opened up to bloggers and Second Life residents
(www.davosconversation.org )
Easy creation of pressure groups for specific causes: change.org is a platform where
participants can find other people interested in the same causes, and also connect to
politicians sharing their views.
In most cases, these are initiatives carried out by the civil society, without any involvement,
authorisation or funding by government itself. However, some public administrations are
making an effort to present data in a user-friendly way (for example, the initiatives of the
Sardinia Region19 and Hungarian government20 for monitoring structural fund spending).
18 http://weblogs.hitwise.com/bill-tancer/2006/09/blogs_increasing_influencer_in.html
19 http://www.regione.sardegna.it/argomenti/progetti/
32
4.5.1. CASE: e-petitions
E-petitions is an initiative launched by the office of the Prime Minister in the UK. It allows
people to submit petitions directly to the PM, and to see and sign petitions created by other
people.
Figure 6: Screenshot of e-petitions
Challenge
addressed Building a stronger connection between the Prime Minister and citizens.
Context Official Downing Street website.
Functionalities Users can launch a petition, or see and sign petitions submitted by other
users. Users can also see which petitions were rejected and why; and the
most popular petitions.
Role of users Users launch petitions (creating content).
Users sign other petitions (providing rating and feedback).
What is new? Previously, petitions were always sent to the PM, but other people couldn’t
see petitions submitted by other people or subscribe to them. Also, the
answers were not readily accessible.
20 http://www.anti-lop.gov.hu/
33
Ownership Hosted on the UK Prime Minister’s website.
Run for the government by MySociety.org, a non-profit organization which
has many similar services (fixmystreet.com, theyworkforyou.com,
pledgebank.com etc.).
Cost Not known.
Quality
assurance Ex-post moderation (nearly all petitions are listed).
Authentication Weak authentication (blog-style) to enhance ease-of-use.
Usage Launched as beta, 15 major changes in first 48 hours, building on user
feedback.
2.1 million users in 6 months, one petition reached 1.8 million signatures.
Benefits Enhanced participation of citizens.
Risks Low participation.
Destructive behaviour (insults, political criticisms, etc.).
Box 4: the case of ePetitions
4.6. Web 2.0 for service provision
Providing high-quality, easy-to-use services in the face of citizens' rising expectations and
diminishing budgets is one of the government challenges where ICT has played a significant
role over last few years. Providing online services has been one of the main goals of
eGovernment strategies in virtually all countries. Yet the take-up of these services is not fully
satisfactory, and problems seem to lie in the usability and findability of the services (Ramboll
2004).
Web 2.0 applications enable a change in the role of the users, who participate more
proactively in service delivery, as much in the private sector as in the public. The value of the
specific competence and skills of the users is widely recognized as a unique source of service
improvement (Mayo and Steinberg 2007).
In particular:
Users or civil society organisations directly co-produce part of the public services,
often re-packaging information already available on public websites using freely
available software. San Francisco citizens published information on the points where
bus passes are sold, in a usable map based on GoogleMaps, whereas the public
website only published this list by postcode in a non-usable way. A civil society
organization in the UK created a website which merges results of Google searches and
the search engine of the main government portal (direct.gov.uk), in order to make
searches on the government website more relevant.21 Online self-support groups (such
as netmums.com) integrate public services by providing important support and sources
of information on social and health issues.
A particularly relevant application field is disaster management. Blogs, wikis, and
mashed-up maps have been widely used in natural disasters such as hurricane Katrina,
21 http://www.directionlessgov.com/
34
the earthquake in Nijgata (Japan), floodings in UK, and wildfires in Southern
California.22
Citizens can share knowledge and "tips" on how to deal with specific administrative
problems and exceptions, just as the private sector user fora complement helpdesk
services for very specific problems. In the UK, citizens share information on how to
make appeals against decisions for school acceptance.23
Users publicly rate/give feedback on public services, in order to support other citizens’
choices (when available) or to stimulate quality improvement. Publishing users'
reviews, already a traditional feature in many consumer-related websites like
amazon.com and tripadvisor.com, can be implemented for public services. Patient
Opinion allows users to share ratings and comments on hospital services, and
ratemyteachers.com does the same for teachers. Citizens also share their photos and
comments (positive and negative) on existing generic platform such as Flickr.
Online services are made more usable by using previous behaviour by citizens online
to help other citizens, in the same way Amazon can suggest new books using the
recommendation feature "customer who bought this also bought". For example, the
website of the State of Delaware shows the "most searched terms" as a tag cloud on
the homepage.24
A one can see, these applications can be implemented by government, but can also be
implemented (and often already have been) by individual citizens and civil society
organisations.
4.6.1. CASE: Patient Opinion
PatientOpinion is a service that was launched by a General Practitioner in order to improve
the National Health Service. It aims to foster a dialogue between patients and health
providers. Patients can comment, review and rate the services they have received at healthcare
facilities and can see the reviews of other patients. It is similar to the service provided by
"Tripadvisor" for reviewing hotels.
22 http://katrinahelp.info/; http://home.kyodo.co.jp/index.php ; http://www.edparsons.com/?p=504 ;
http://gigaom.com/2007/10/23/web-20-the-california-fire-crisis/
23 http://www.schoolappeals.org.uk/
24 www.delaware.gov
35
Figure 7: Screenshot of PatientOpinion.com
36
Challenge
addressed
Improving the quality of public health.
Understanding user needs.
Context Specific public service where some degree of market mechanism / choice
have been introduced.
Delicate themes, dealing with personal issues.
Functionalities The website enables patients to share their feedback on the treatment
received at the hospital. Feedback is both quantitative (ratings) and
qualitative (blog entries).
Role of users Users provide ratings and reviews.
What is new? Public sharing of feedback.
Ownership Launched by a social enterprise founded for this purpose by a General
Practitioner, with initial support from the National Health Service.
Cost Not known.
Quality
assurance
Comments are moderated and edited by the moderators to ensure privacy and
respect, but the moderator role is often played by other patients with longer
experience with PatientOpinion.
Authentication Weak, blog style (username and e-mail).
Usage 3,000 comments in 9 months, 38 health providers subscribed to receive
periodic update on feedback.
Drivers of
participation
An internal assessment found that most contributions are motivated by
altruism and gratitude.
Benefits Enabling informed choices (for citizens).
Understanding user needs (for government).
Monitoring quality compliance for service improvement.
Risks Low participation.
Destructive behaviour.
Further
information
http://www.patientopinion.org.uk/
Box 5: the case of PatientOpinion.com
4.7. Web 2.0 for law enforcement
Law enforcement is a core competence of government. There are, however, several ways in
which web 2.0 could change the way laws are enforced, including a more proactive role for
citizens:
Citizens are able to monitor other citizens, and publicly shame them in order to
enforce the law. There are several examples of this "little brother" phenomenon.
Caughtya.org and mybikelane.org are websites where people post photos of cars
parked on disabled parking and bike lanes, respectively. This, of course, raises issues
of privacy invasion and excessive social control. At the same time, increased social
control can in the long term lead to less need for monitoring by government.
Citizens can be highly effective in monitoring the behaviour of governments and civil
servants. Fixmystreet.com is a website launched by Mysociety where citizens can
"report, view, or discuss local problems (like graffiti, fly tipping, broken paving slabs,
37
or street lighting)", and report whether the local authority has fixed it (or not).
Uncivilservants.org publishes photos of government cars illegally parked.
Citizens can share, monitor and highlight problems that concern them. A Chicago
resident created Chicagocrime.org, where public data on local crime are browsable by
crime type and street, and geo-referenced using GoogleMaps.
Government can proactively look for citizen' collaboration using existing social
networking. Police in Canada, the US, and the UK have been using YouTube in order
to disseminate video footage, with a view to identifying criminals caught by
surveillance cameras.25
However, communication and collaboration tools can be effectively used in order to
share information among citizens in order to avoid law enforcement. A typical
example is the sharing of information on the location of speed cameras, even by geo-
referencing them on GoogleMaps.
4.7.1. CASE: MyBikeLane
Mybikelane is a website that was launched by a New York citizen who was annoyed by cars
parking in bike lanes. He therefore created a website and asked fellow cyclists to post photos
of cars illegally parked, with a view to raising awareness about the problem.
Figure 8: Screenshot of mybikelane.com
25 http://www.tricities.com/tristate/tri/news.apx.-content-articles-TRI-2008-01-14-0010.html;
http://technology.canoe.ca/Internet/2006/12/15/2806655-cp.html
38
Challenge
addressed
Disturbance and danger caused to cyclist by the many cars parking on byke
lanes.
Context Traffic control is a core government activity.
Functionalities People can post online photos of cars parked in bike lanes. Infractions are
geo-referenced using googleMaps and car plates are published and ranked
according to the number of infractions.
Role of users Users created the website and post the photos of road infractions (creating
content).
What is new? Public shaming of bad parkers.
Ownership The site was launched by an individual citizen on his own initiative.
Cost Likely to be low, based on open source software and free services such as
googlemaps.
Quality
assurance
No control on the kind of input, just soft rules of non-violence.
Webmaster has the last word on any decision.
Authentication Weak, just username and password.
Usage The largest community is in New York, with 1,432 contributions from 628
members.
Drivers of
participation
Frustration with bad parkers
Benefits Inducing better behaviour by car drivers.
Risks Privacy invasion, destructive behaviour, low participation.
Further
information
www.mybikelane.com
Box 6: The case of Mybikelane.com
4.8. Web 2.0 for other relevant domains of government
There are other domains where web 2.0 poses opportunities and risks for government. While
no primary research (such as case studies) has been carried out in these domains, enough
evidence has been collected to justify the identification of these as domains of potential
impact of web 2.0 applications. However, additional research work is needed to spell out the
specific implications more clearly.
Here, we simply point to a set of open questions regarding specific domains and link them to
on-going discussions on the web:
- Interoperability: web 2.0 applications use new "lighter" formats for interoperability (RSS,
GeoRSS, KML, REST). Are these alternatives, or are they complementary to what is
currently used in government (SOAP, WSDL, WMS, WFS)?26
26 See Gartner eGovernment blog at http://blog.gartner.com/blog/government.php?itemid=1852; Di Maio A.
2007. "Web 2.0 in Government: a blessing and a curse" Presentation, Gartner Inc.; and Ed Parsons blog at
http://www.edparsons.com/?p=497 and comments
39
- Public communication: how can traditional government communication such as Public
Service Announcements be adapted to the new social media? How can a balance between
the new expectation of informal and personal communication be merged with the
institutional role of civil servants?27
- Public Sector Information (PSI): the debate (EC 1998; EC 2003) on PSI focussed very
much on enabling or limiting re-use of PSI for business purposes, and the related cost and
benefits. It now becomes clear that besides opportunities for economic growth, there are
significant opportunities for social benefits and public value. Citizens are able to build
added-value services re-using public data (such as Planningalerts.com). This could change
significantly the terms of the debate in favour of greater availability of public data.
- Human Resources Management: Decentralisation of decision-making functions has been
one of the general (albeit disputed) trends in government (Demmke 2006). As shown by
the example of Intellipedia, web 2.0 applications are used for less hierarchical forms of
collaboration and could therefore reinforce the trend towards flatter organisations.
- Public Procurement: while procurement rules generally forbid government to take into
account reputation and previous performance in the decision-making process, there are
cases in the US where reputation-management systems (like eBay's) have been built into
eProcurement platforms in order to make the procurement process more effective (Kelman
2002; Picci 2007). There have been proposals to introduce this feature, for example, in the
Italian central procurement platform (Spagnolo and Dini 2004).
27 See the interesting debate on http://www.psnetwork.org.nz/blog/2007/02/19/principles-public-sector-
socialmedia/
41
5. A cross-analysis: answering the research questions
In this chapter, the evidence presented so far is re-analyzed in order to answer the main
research questions. For each research question, the arguments are presented following the
structure of the operational research questions, as illustrated in Table 2.
qA. Is web 2.0 relevant for the government domain?
The wide range of experiences presented in Chapter 4 shows that web 2.0 applications are
indeed used and important not only for personal issues and social activities, but also as work-
related productivity tools.
Companies are already using web 2.0 for improving internal collaboration and knowledge
flows and their relations with customers, while customers use them to share ratings and
reviews to help them with their purchases.
In the government context, web 2.0 technologies, applications and values have been already
adopted in many areas of activity, both in the back and in the front office, by employees and
by citizens. The continuous emergence of such initiatives shows that there is still large
potential for experimenting with new applications.
qB. In what way is web 2.0 likely to have an impact on government?
Chapter 4 provides a full description of the main areas of government where the adoption of
web 2.0 could have a significant impact, and the nature of this impact. There are several areas
of change, covering both back and front office, involving both civil servants and citizens (see
Table 4 page 13).
The nature of this impact is characterised mainly by a more active user role. Crucially, the
term "users" is intended to cover both civil servants and citizens. These user roles can include
diverse activities, as described in Figure 3:
designing and delivering the service, as in mybikelane.org;
providing comments and reviews, as in PatientOpinion and Peer-to-patent;
providing automatic attention and taste data by using the service, as in the case
of Allen and Overy, and of the state of Delaware where search terms
performed by users become tag clouds on the homepage (www.delaware.gov).
This proactive user role also implies that governments have no power to decide whether or not
web 2.0 applications should be adopted and implemented, either by civil servants or citizens.
Individual workers are bringing these applications inside public and private organisations: for
example, on 15 March 2008, there were 4,090 members of the European Commission
network on Facebook. Web 2.0 applications usually do not require installation on one's
computer, therefore it is much more difficult for a central IT department to control and limit
the usage of these applications.
Civil society organizations, and individual citizens are able to create services outside
institutional control. Services such as theyworkforyou.com, planningalerts.com,
directionlessgov.com, have been created using information publicly available, without any
involvement, authorisation or funding by government. An important enabling factor is that
42
cost barriers to entry are now very low, due to the use of open source software and to the cost
of storage having dropped in recent years.
However interesting they might be, web 2.0 applications do not replace existing systems but
are complementary to them. For example, ERP systems will not be made redundant and
replaced by social software solutions, but rather social software solutions could be integrated
with ERP systems in order to make more relevant information emerge.
The opportunities provided by web 2.0 applications do not lie simply in the transfer of
productivity tools from the private sector, but are related to specific strategic goals of
government reform. In particular, the cases presented in Chapter 4 illustrate how web 2.0
applications can help to achieve the long-desired goals of government reform, that have not
been fully achieved by eGovernment strategies as described in the introduction, by making
government more:
- Simple and user-oriented: for example, PatientOpinion helps government understand user
needs and the public feedback and rating system stimulates user-orientation.
- Transparent and accountable: applications such as theyworkforyou.com and
planningalerts.com enable citizens' awareness and monitoring of government activities.
- Participative and inclusive: eParticipation solutions such as ePetitions stimulate debate and
participation in public decision-making.
- Joined-up and networked: Intellipedia and the knowledge management platform of Allen
and Overy enable better collaboration across and within organisations, reduce the "silo
effect" and duplication of efforts.
Besides the benefits, however, these initiatives also have risks. These generally pertain to
common risks of web 2.0, as described in recent literature (Zimmer 2008), but assume a
particular relevance in the government context because of its institutional role and universal
service obligations (Osimo and Centeno 2007):
- Low participation: the first and foremost challenge of collaborative efforts is to ensure that
users participate and contribute. It might seem obvious, but the usage of blogs and wikis
does not lead automatically to greater user involvement.
- Participation restricted to an elite: similarly to any internet service, most web 2.0
applications are used by the cultural and economic elite. The investment on web 2.0
applications can seem to make societal divides wider by giving more voice to those that
already have it. For example, the users of the ePetitions website most probably do not
reflect the British population as a whole and decisions taken only on the basis of the
petitions submitted on this website would give more influence to the most mature internet
users.
- low quality of contributions and additional "noise": most user-generated content is
considered of low quality and can hinder the finding of good quality content and the
delivery of good-quality service (Keen 2007).28
- Loss of control due to excessive transparency. There have been cases where opening-up
the conversation has led to loss of control and loss of credibility. Blogs by ministers and
28 For example, there is anecdotal evidence that the collective effort to search for the missing millionaire Steve
Fossett hindered, rather than helped, the search (http://www.itworldcanada.com/a//9819fdb5-a76a-4045-
bf18-83bae6ea5056.html )
43
civil servants have released sensitive information in an incorrect and sometimes illegal
manner.29
- Destructive behaviour by users. Conversations can take a negative turn and have a negative
impact on trust and collaboration. For example, rating websites have been used to launch
personal attacks on teachers, such as the case of ratemyteachers.com
- Manipulation of content by interested parties. There are many supporters of the view that
when social media become mainstream, vested interests would take over the content
production. This has been already seen in the case of wikipedia, where entries have been
modified by organisations such as Wal-Mart and the CIA.30
- privacy issues: web 2.0 users appear not to be fully aware of the implications of publishing
their details on the web (Hogben 2007), and web 2.0 applications in the government
context could become a further source of sensitive information being published.
It is important that these risks are taken into account and dealt with. According to the person
in charge of Intellipedia for the CIA, "the key is risk management, not risk avoidance".
Section qD below describes the governance mechanisms put in place to manage these risks.
qC. How significant could this impact be?
This question is most challenging, as it requires that we try to foresee the present and future
significance of trends which are just emerging. While it is impossible to firmly answer it, as
its significance is very much subject to users and government behaviour, it is possible to
address the operational questions in order to shed some light on its significance.
Firstly web 2.0 applications are already being used in government not only for soft issues,
such as public relations and public service announcements. They are being used for core
internal tasks such as intelligence services; reviewing patents; enabling public participation in
decision making.
These experiences address some of the key challenges of government (Centeno, Bavel et al.
2004): understanding users' needs (PatientOpinion); making decisions in complex and
technical domains without the benefit of full information (Peer-to-Patent); and better cross-
department and cross-agency collaboration (Intellipedia, Allen & Overy).
However, the impact will emerge only if these applications are extensively used. As these
experiences have been only recently launched, more time is needed to assess their take-up. At
this stage, more mature experiences such as Intellipedia and Allen and Overy have become
widely used inside the organisations. The use of the Downing Street petitions system has been
impressive but only for some "flagship" petitions, namely the one against the road tax charge
which collected nearly 2 million signatures. The other experiences show some interesting
participation rates, but certainly not the exponential growth shown by other web 2.0
applications. This is an important issue as large participation is a pre-requisite for successful
quality insurance of user-generated content. In the words of Professor Beth Noveck, the
inventor of Peer-to-Patent, "many participants in the process dilutes the effect of bad apples or
unconstructive participants"(Noveck 2008). Therefore, low participation could not only limit
the quantity of users' contribution, but also undermine the quality of the service provided.
29 See http://www.blogging4business.info/B4B/2478 and
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article3512007.ece
30 See http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6947532.stm
44
Overall, it appears that the current usage of web 2.0 applications in the government context is
diverse, and cannot be taken for granted.
Because these initiatives are still in the early stages, it is impossible and arguably
inappropriate to assess their impact. However, we offer some anecdotal evidence that sheds
some light on the significance of the impact. Certainly, the fact that high level public bodies
(CIA, US Patent Office, Downing Street) have adopted these applications is a sign of their
relevance. In the case of Intellipedia, there is (self-reported) evidence that the wiki has been
the main tool for discovering, for example, how Iraqi insurgents used chlorine in their
explosives.
The only field where there is some evidence on impact is that of political participation, with
particular regard to political campaigning. Blogs played a key role in the US 2004 presidential
elections, and in the referendum on the EU constitution in France (Pascu, Osimo et al. 2008).
At present social networks are playing a very important role in the 2008 US presidential
elections (Kohut 2008). With regard to the cases presented here, the petition against the road
tax charge, signed by nearly 2 million citizens, managed to block the proposed legislation.
Finally, the impact of web 2.0 is likely to be enhanced by convergence with other longer-term
socio-economic trends which are likely to persist in the future.
- From a purely demographic viewpoint, web 2.0 applications are used by a majority of
teenagers (Pascu 2008), who will soon enter the labour market and bring these applications
in their working environments. In the case of Intellipedia, for example, the introduction of
wiki tools was also implemented in response to the demand of younger analysts.
- The empowerment of customers, who are now much more informed in their purchasing
choices thanks to wider availability of information on the web and horizontal information
sharing between consumers (Economist 2005);
- The increasing percentage of creative knowledge workers in the labour force (Drucker
2001; Florida 2002), who expect not only monetary compensation or jobs-for-life, but
visibility and recognition by their peers;
- The importance of informal learning by peers through "communities of practice" (Wenger
1998) and of social capital in personal and territorial development (Putnam, Leonardi et al.
1993);
- The trend from hierarchy to network-based organisations (Williamson 1985), with
informal cross-enterprise collaboration (Grabher 1993) and flatter forms of organisation
within companies (Nonaka and Takeuchi 1995);
- The value of a non-linear innovation model, driven by constant interaction with users and
markets rather than pushed from the R&D laboratory (von Hippel 1976);
- The consumerization of IT, where the consumer market has become more innovative than
the enterprise market for IT solutions and individual employees bring applications and
devices into the company they work for (Gartner 2007).
qD. How can web 2.0 applications be implemented in the eGovernment context?
On of the key enabling factors for successful web 2.0 implementations is trust. Cases such as
Intellipedia and Allen and Overy show that implementation is easier in the back office,
especially in groups with an existing tradition of collaboration. Crucially, these collaborative
45
initiatives can create a virtuous circle, where trust is not only a prerequisite, but also an output
of cooperation, reinforced by social tools such as reputation-management systems.
Most of these cases are applied in highly knowledge-intensive domains, such as the
patenting review, where the need for leveraging specific knowledge is greater. Drivers for
user contributions are the desire for recognition, but also altruism and gratitude.
Also, the introduction of these disruptive applications was motivated by a strong
strategic/political will. Intellipedia, for example, set out to reinforce cross-agency
collaboration, in the aftermath of the perceived failures of the intelligence agencies in
preventing 9-11. ePetitions aimed to reconnect politicians and citizens. Moreover, this strong
push can be bottom-up: many initiatives were carried out without the endorsement, and
sometimes without the knowledge, of the institutions officially in charge (such as the NHS in
the case of PatientOpinion and the New York Police Department for MyBikeLane).
Many web 2.0 experiences (such as Theyworkforyou.com, Chicagocrime.org) are based on
the re-elaboration of public data. The wide availability of public data for re-use seems to be
an important enabling factor for web 2.0 application to flourish. Indeed, the managers of these
initiatives agreed that wider availability of public data was their main recommendation to
policy makers.
There are also important lessons to be learnt from how these projects are implemented.
In terms of ownership, government plays different roles. In the Intellipedia case, the service
is entirely under the control of the government. In the case of ePetitions, government
contracted a civil society organisation (MySociety) to design and run the project. In the case
of PatientOpinion, the NHS initially supported the project financially, and now hospital and
health institutions buy its services. Finally, in the case of Mybikelane.org, the project has been
run outside any form of government influence.
One of the common features of the cases described is the strong focus on usability. For this
reason, applications are released in beta version and undergo many revisions in the first days
of usage, following users' behaviour and feedback. In the case of ePetitions, 15 major changes
were made in the first 48 hours, building on users’ feedback. When asked by the author about
the key novelty of MySociety applications in the field of eParticipation, the director of
MySociety.org answered "Usability and flexibility".
The risks described in the section on question qB above have to be addressed with adequate
governance mechanisms.
Users' participation cannot simply be expected but has to be proactively cultivated. The
main drivers of participation are the desire for visibility/recognition by peers and generosity.
The incentives for participation are the visibility given to the users' contributions (e.g. in Peer-
to-Patent), the recognition of most active users (the "wiki gardening" of Intellipedia), the
proactive encouragement of comments by reaching out to the users (PatientOpinion). There is
no evidence so far of more structured incentives, such as linking the contributions to the wiki
to some form of performance assessment of employees.
With regard to the potential enhancement of societal divides, the risk is similar to existing
eGovernment services delivered over the web. The scope and implications of the initiatives
have to be clear and limited. Outward facing applications such as PatientOpinion and
ePetitions do not substitute existing feedback/consultation mechanisms, but integrate them by
adding another (and more effective) channel. Furthermore, if developed in line with the
usability approach of web 2.0, these applications are likely to enlarge the participation. In
46
other cases, more inwardly-oriented such as Peer-to-Patent, the universality of the service is
not a requirement.
To overcome the risk of offensive, illegal, destructive or low quality contributions quality
insurance, authentication and moderation policies have been developed on a case by case
basis. Here, an important difference emerges between applications built for internal users only
and those that are open to the public.
The internal ones (Intellipedia, Allen and Overy) have strong authentication linked to the
organisation Single Sign On infrastructure. Users know exactly who is writing what, therefore
contributors are accountable and the risk of destructive behaviour is lower. Authentication is
strong, moderation is weak. Furthermore, no formal quality insurance mechanisms are in
place – contributions are part of employees’ normal work. Discussion and peer review play an
important role.
Applications open to the public follow a different path. As contributions are voluntary,
barriers to contributions have to be very low to encourage participation. Therefore,
authentication is in all cases weak, only requiring a nickname and an e-mail address. On the
other hand, moderation and quality insurance mechanisms are stronger, and also very
transparent. In the case of PatientOpinion, contributions are heavily moderated to avoid
personal attacks and prevent privacy issues. In the case of ePetitions, every petition is
assessed to check its conformance to the service rules. Most of the unacceptable petitions
(such as political party issues) are published on a separate part of the website, and an
explanation is provided as to why they have not been accepted. In the case of Peer-to-Patent,
quality insurance is left to the participants, who are expected to rate the contributions of the
participants, and let the good content emerge. Finally, in the case of a one-man project such as
MyBikeLane, contributions are anonymous and no quality insurance mechanisms are in place.
Appropriate governance methods are currently being discussed, partly based on existing
codes. Key references are the work carried out by the New Zealand Network of Public Sector
Communicators, such as the 10 principles for public sector social media,31 or the reflections
of the BBC web team.32 In the recent "Civil Serf" case in the UK, a civil servant blogged
anonymously about internal government functioning and information, and the blog was then
closed. The following debate largely agreed that the existing Civil Service Code is a key
starting point for governing these controversies.33 However, at the time of writing no
consolidation of the different reflections about the governance of users' contribution in web
2.0 applications has been carried out.
To sum up, quality insurance and moderation happens generally ex ante in the internal
applications (through strong authentication and the organisation's rule) and ex post in the
applications open to the public (through strong moderation and peer-review). Within the ex-
post case, users are also involved in the quality insurance, through rating and collective
filtering, and moderation, by signalling or dealing with unsuitable content/comments. This
refers to the second and fourth kind of user involvement in Figure 3 at page 19.
Existing experience and literature also point to a set of common mistakes that should be
avoided.
31 http://www.psnetwork.org.nz/blog/2007/02/19/principles-public-sector-socialmedia/
32 http://www.tomski.com/archive/new_archive/000063.html
33 See http://simonmcmanus.com/2008/03/10/rest-in-peace-civil-serf/ and all the blog entries tagged with
"civilserf" in Technorati.
47
One of the most common mistakes, typical of a hyped technology such as web 2.0 now, is
considering that adding wiki, blogs and social networking features on a website is sufficient
to achieve the goals of user involvement and contribution. In fact, the web is full of non-used
blogs and wiki. User participation is not easy to achieve, it needs a dedicated effort and
especially an open and flexible approach that encourages contributions as described above.
No rigid ex-ante planning is possible, but rather an effort should be made to let user
participation emerge in often unpredictable ways. For example, it is not possible to predict the
number of participants and contributions in a social network. It is necessary to invest in trial
and error, beta testing and continuous improvement listening to users' feedback. One of the
great advantages of web 2.0 is that it lowers the cost of errors, as very little investment is
needed to launch a collaboration. However, simply adopting the technologies, without
embracing the value, will have little or negative impact.
While it is necessary to maintain an open approach, a totally hands-off approach and lack of
governance are unlikely to ensure the appropriate participation or avoid the risks of
destructive behaviour. Appropriate governance methods have to be put in place, as described
above. Collaboration and trust are built over time, through interaction, transparency and
respect. Strong moderation can be accepted, but guidelines and policies about what is allowed
and what is not should be clearly spelled out. For example, ePetitions clarifies which petitions
have not been accepted and why.
Another common mistake is to assume that web 2.0 applications have to be implemented
centrally, e.g. building a social networking application on an institutional website. Instead,
collaboration, exchange and conversation on government issues happen mostly outside
institutional websites or across applications. As we have seen, many initiatives have already
been carried out by citizens and the civil society. It is important to let these initiatives
flourish, by partnering with them rather than trying to reproduce them on a public website –
taking into account the principle of horizontal subsidiarity. If the choice is made to
implement a dedicated application, such as a social networking feature, it must be
interoperable with other platforms.
49
6. Conclusions: why and how web 2.0 in government?
There is sufficient evidence presented here to say that web 2.0 applications are relevant for
many different domains of eGovernment, besides the well known examples of their use in
facilitating political participation.
Web 2.0 applications have much to contribute to the key goals of better, simpler, joined-up
and networked government. There is anecdotal evidence of positive impact in individual web
2.0 projects; however no fully-fledged impact assessment has been carried out, as these
projects are still in their early stages. We also know that evidence of ICT impact is typically
only visible several years after investment.
Users can contribute to improving public services and already do so. That is not to say that all
citizens will contribute and participate, but rather that some will. However, many more
citizens than we have been used to will contribute to providing a better or an additional
service. Furthermore, we know that even weaker forms of participation can be useful for
service improvement (Figure 3).
While there are certainly strong elements of hype in the notion of web 2.0, many underlying
socio-economic trends make us think that the key features are not just a passing fashion but
part of a wider change. The teen-agers of today will soon enter the public workforce and/or
become users of government services. Additionally, long-term trends of customer
empowerment, creative knowledge workers, global competition, flatter and looser forms of
work organisation, and user-driven innovation are all conducive to, and are being enabled by,
web 2.0 applications.
This should encourage government to start experimenting with these applications. Most
applications are free or cheap, which makes experimentation easier. It is not a matter of
simply adopting the technology: opening a blog or a wiki on the government website will not
by itself enhance citizen participation. Instead, it is about moving towards a more open and
transparent relation with users, embracing the values of web 2.0. As we have seen, these
solutions are implemented through a trial and error mechanism, and an iterative development
through "beta" releases. This learning path includes working on appropriate governance
mechanisms which ensure that user involvement is compatible with government’s overall role
and goals.
This is not to say that public administrations should fully embrace web 2.0 in all their
eGovernment activities: other technologies and applications are very much needed in key
domains such as interoperability, privacy and security. Web 2.0 is one more tool to pursue
public goals, it is complementary to and does not replace existing eGovernment initiatives.
Furthermore, there are important risks which have to be dealt with, such as destructive
behaviour, privacy violations, and low quality services and content.
But as we have seen, citizens and civil servants are already using these applications in relation
to government activities, and therefore governments are not in a position to decide whether
these applications are used in public services, or not. As the project manager of Intellipedia
puts it, "the key is risk management, not risk avoidance".
Therefore, to experiment and engage with these applications is not only potentially beneficial,
but probably the safest option for government. This paper illustrates why and how this can be
done in the different domains of government activity.
51
Acknowledgements
Many people have contributed with their time and knowledge to this paper, providing
valuable input and feedback. I would like to especially thank the people directly involved in
the initiatives presented, and in particular to Lee Bryant, Paul Hodgkins, Francis Irving,
James Munro, Beth Noveck and Greg Whalin.
The feedback of the stakeholders has been very important to ensure the report address
relevant questions for eGovernment decision-makers: thanks to David Broster, Frans De
Bruine, Alejandro Moya (all of the European Commission DG INFSO), Sandra Lotti
(Regione Emilia-Romagna), Andrea Nicolini (CISIS) and to the members of the EU
eGovernment subgroup.
The review of IPTS colleagues Claudio Feijoo, Stefano Kluzer, Lucio Picci, Clara Centeno,
Martin Ulbrich and Sven Lindmark has been fundamental to improve the consistency and
quality of the report, as well as the language review by Patricia Farrer.
53
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57
European Commission
EUR 23358 EN – Joint Research Centre – Institute for Prospective Technological Studies
Title: Web 2.0 in Government: Why and How?
Author: David Osimo…
Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities
2008
EUR – Scientific and Technical Research series – ISSN 1018-5593
Abstract
Since 2003, a new wave of web-based applications, which now go under the name of web 2.0, have been
launched with very little investment and have encountered dramatic success in terms of take-up. These
applications rely on the concept of the user as a producer: of content (blog, wiki, Flickr), of taste/emotion
(Last.fm, de.li.cious), of contacts (MySpace), and of reputation/feedback (eBay, TripAdvisor).
This report looks at how these applications are used and can be used in government-related activities. Based
on a survey of existing initiatives in the public and private sector, it argues that web 2.0 applications affect both
front and back office activities, such as: regulation, cross-agency collaboration, knowledge management,
service provision, political participation and transparency, and law enforcement. For each of these domains, it
spells out the key implications and analyzes existing cases. Finally, it draws some lessons to be learnt from
existing cases, as well as possible policy options for government. Overall, web 2.0 is already used in many
areas of government activity, often without the authorisation or even the knowledge of governmental institutions.
To start experimenting with these applications appears to be not only potentially beneficial, but probably the
safest option for government.
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interests, whether private or national.
... Overall .web 2.0 is already used in many areas of government activity ,often without the authorization or even the knowledge of governmental institution [1].These application makes ICT more powerful in term of elearning because disseminating educational tender for purpose of learning was achieve prior to web 2.0. However it is only subsequent to web 2.0,the online learning space become perceptive and interactive. ...
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Relationship between ICT and e-learning shows big benefits for education, especially in higher education. We cannot ignore technology and technical skills in higher education field, even when we are overtaken technical education .Now a days we can take great advantages of Information and communication Technology (ICT) in every sector of education like Teaching and learning process, curriculum development, student progress etc. Using Data mining we can identify problem in growth of e-learning in India. Using this paper we are trying to highlight problems in e-learning to grow in some areas and how it can be solve using ICT.
... • poprawa efektywności działania administracji (Dixon, 2010) i wzrost jakości usług (Osimo, 2008); • zwiększona transparentność działań (Noveck, 2009;Chun i in., 2010); • zwiększone zainteresowanie sprawami publicznymi wśród obywateli i łatwiejszy kontakt z administracją (Lazer i in., 2009), • wzrost poziomu zaufania do administracji publicznej (Bonsón i in., 2012). Co więcej, pojawił się nawet pogląd, że automatyzacja administracji publicznej i oparcie procesu decyzyjnego na algorytmach może w przyszłości wyeliminować tradycyjną biurokrację (Snellen, 1998). ...
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... Web 2.0 and social media are two different but related concepts [2]. While social media are application such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc., Web 2.0 is a platform on which such applications are built on [3]. The emergence of web 2.0 and social media has transformed the way governments and citizens relate and interact. ...
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The emergence of web 2.0 and social media have attracted government organizations to use them to communicate their stakeholders by maintaining institutional accounts on web 2.0 and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc. However, studies show that web 2.0 and social media can better be harnessed for work-related purposes if individual employees are encouraged and allowed to use their personal social media accounts to communicate work-related messages rather than institutional accounts being used for the same purposes. Nevertheless, little is known about the factors that influence government employees to perform such a behavior hence motivating the researcher to review the literature regarding this problem. Based on the literature review, this paper proposes a conceptual framework that can be used to assess perceptions of government employees toward use of personal social media accounts for work-related purposes. The framework extends the Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) by adding five more constructs in order to fit to the context of study. For empirical validation of the framework, a Quantitative technique using self-administered questionnaire is proposed. Also, a multivariate statistical analysis technique, preferably Structural Equation Modelling (SEM), using IBM AMOS as analysis tool is recommended.
... Web 2.0 and social media are two different but related concepts [2]. While social media are application such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc., Web 2.0 is a platform on which such applications are built on [3]. The emergence of web 2.0 and social media has transformed the way governments and citizens relate and interact. ...
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Full-text available
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... Governments around the world are experimenting with e-participation tools to enhance citizen engagement in developing policy, improving service delivery, opening public organisations, as well as gathering distributed wisdom and know-how of diverse participants to improve public decision-making [11,12]. Several studies indicated the possible positive effects of online citizen participation in directly influencing government decisions, but also in enhancing transparency and developing citizenship [9,13,14]. ...
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In open, sustainable policymaking, we are expecting to develop the valuable results that will bring us closer to a fairer and more balanced society. One way to involve the public in these processes is to engage them in online e-participation projects. Despite the hopes, empirical analyses show that many e-participation initiatives have failed to deliver expected benefits. Revealing what actually works in examined projects and what requires improvement would allow for better policy planning in the future. In this article, I made an attempt to identify and assess the cognitive processes enabling emergence of collective intelligence (CI) in a singular e-participation project. For this reason, I worked out and tested an evaluation technique, combining the MILCS framework for group cognition and the results of empirical research on CI. A case study method based on semi-structured interviews was selected to evaluate a sample participatory budgeting initiative, Civic Budget of the City of Kraków. Results reveal that most cognitive processes are working satisfactorily, but the real problem is using collective memory, which works only to a very limited extent. A guideline for future policymakers should be to develop a shared memory system, to which all community members should have access.
... Rather, the promise is really nothing less than a profound transformation of the way the government does business (Pavlichev & Garson, 2004) and it is not an objective per se; more it has to be seen as means of organizing public governance for better serving citizens and enterprises (Baumgarten & Chui, 2009). In this context, Government 2.0, a term coined by William (Bill) Eggers (2005), appears as an attempt to provide more effective processes for government service delivery to individuals and businesses by applying the social networking and integration advantages of Web 2.0 (O'Reilly, 2005) to the practice of government (Osimo, 2008). ...
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On the basis of existing literature and benchmarking efforts for various facets of e-Government (expected benefits, existing barriers, methodological guidelines) the paper identifies a number of factors that affect e-Government projects (broader environment, political, funding, public management and service delivery frameworks, customer engagement, technology and effort supply, core processes) and proposes a holistic model for e-Government projects. On the basis of this holistic model, it is argued that realization of the e-Government process and operation of e-Government services exhibit complexity, emergent behaviour, and a number of characteristics of open and complex systems. These arguments, applied on a real example where empirical e-Government good practice is verified ex post via laws and principles governing the behaviour of general open systems, are considered to legitimise systems thinking about e-Government. It is proposed that further pursuing a systemic approach to e-Government projects represents, together with the deeper understanding of user needs, a major direction of further work for e-Government project management.
Chapter
Facebook, the most popular social media in the world, has changed the ways of citizen involvement in governance. Politicians and (elected) public administrators worldwide have adopted Facebook as an important approach to connect with citizens. This study explores whether the Facebook phenomenon can improve the process of online political communication and citizen participation. The study adapts a content analysis method and proposes six strategies for analyzing Facebook page posts of Taiwanese legislators. The authors compare Facebook posts during both election and regular sessions to see the difference in patterns of these posts and communication strategies adopted by the legislators. The findings reveal that a percentage of e-participation achieves an acceptable rate, but most communication of legislator Facebook is one way. The results indicate that legislators' Facebook is another platform to distribute public information to citizens, and many have potential to create more public values.
Article
The reflection of public values (PVs) could be monitored through some indicators, like institutional social media tools. The measurement of how PVs are reflected over local social media accounts is of great importance. Studies in the relevant literature are mainly focusing on the benefits of social media presence, drivers, or barriers or attitudes and expectations on social media presence. We, in this study, focus on the evaluation of whether and how selected PVs are reflected through social media accounts of metropolitan municipalities (MMs) in Turkey. By taking participation, collaboration, and transparency as the main PVs, we have formed an evaluation metric composed of five sub-criteria for each determinant. With the help of seven public administration experts holding a Ph.D. degree to form an expert graded scheme by using the analytic hierarchy process (AHP), we have employed a content analysis over Twitter accounts of 30 Turkish MMs using this expert graded scheme. We have found that Turkish MMs were found not to grasp the valuation of the selected PVs since most seem to fail to reflect them over their social media accounts to the full extent possible. Moreover, many Turkish MMs seem to have violated privacy and personal data.
Article
The e-participation can be considered an area under constant focus. This paper presents a brief analysis of e-participation and e-democracy, and proposes a platform for electronic participation based on social media principles, designed to gather teachers and unions in a shared deliberative space. Interaction and collaboration are supported through questions, answers, suggestions, comments, votes, surveys and live debates. This proposal is intended to narrow the communication gap between teachers and unions and encourage teachers to become involved and participate in educational debates and important topics about the profession. The platform presented enables effective participation in formal and informal decision-making processes via the Internet, either as standalone or widgets with full integration into any Website. It is under constant development and will be improved along with this project. The actors in this study were chosen from the National Federation of Teachers due to its representativeness regarding associate teachers and provide an opportunity to assess the platform potential to support participation in a union context. The platform will be used in a trade union linked to teachers of several grade levels to understand their participation in this organization.
Article
Sixty years ago, the National Security Act created a U.S. intelligence infrastructure that would help win the Cold War. But on 9/11, the need to reform that system became painfully clear. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is now spearheading efforts to enable the intelligence community to better shield the United States from the new threats it faces.
Book
Prologue Part I. Practice: Introduction I 1. Meaning 2. Community 3. Learning 4. Boundary 5. Locality Coda I. Knowing in practice Part II. Identity: Introduction II 6. Identity in practice 7. Participation and non-participation 8. Modes of belonging 9. Identification and negotiability Coda II. Learning communities Conclusion: Introduction III 10. Learning architectures 11. Organizations 12. Education Epilogue.