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Business - Written by on Friday, November 7, 2008 10:15 - 14 Comments

Obama’s web 2.0 strategy: from campaigning to governing, part 1

Obama’s election win was a real beauty. It was a vindication of the American people (if I may so say), a shot in the arm for democracy, and it probably changed the world for the better over the course of one truly historic day. But as we all know, the tremendous goodwill and hope that Obama has summoned will evaporate if he fails to harness the same grassroots energy and organization that propelled him to the White House in the act of governing over the next four years.

As Obama has noted, there is a steep hill ahead to climb. Think of the challenges: renewing government and democracy; fixing the economy, education and health care; accelerating scientific discovery; fighting climate change and providing global security, to name a few. And he must do all of this with diminishing financial resources.

Obama needs to assemble a real A team of leaders and we’ll be hearing more about his cabinet choices today. But his only real hope in dealing with the tremendous challenges the country (world) faces will be to harness the collective ingenuity of citizens on a massive scale. In other words, he must enlist a level of participation in generating and acting on innovative solutions that has no obvious parallel in history.

Obama has already built a vast network of committed supporters. He has the inherent charisma and intelligence to lead. The questions now is how will Obama mobilize his supporters to affect real change? Will he “open source” government much the way thousands of dispersed Linux programmers converged on the Internet to develop one of the world’s leading computer operating systems? What mechanisms will he deploy to channel citizen input into policy-making? AND, How will he engage all sectors of society in carrying out much-needed reforms in sectors such as education, health care, energy and finance?

Over the next few days and weeks I would like to humbly offer a few Government 2.0 strategies for the Obama administration to pursue. We’ve got dozens of ideas but I would not want to spoil the fun by releasing them all at once!

So, here’s today’s first idea: Set up a series of citizen councils, organized around key policy themes, and equip users with an Ideastorm. At first these communities might look and feel a lot like Digg.com, the popular technology news aggregator. Users post policy suggestions and the community votes so that the most popular ideas rise to the top. Ideas are harvested from a broader spectrum of the population and the user-driven idea filtering process eases the burden on staff resources by harnessing “the crowd” to sift through mountains of feedback.

Dell Computer’s IdeaStorm provides a useful (albiet imperfect) template for the administration to follow. Less than a week after Dell’s IdeaStorm was launched, users had contributed over 1,300 ideas that were voted on more than 120,000 times. Many of the ideas contributed by Dell customers have already been translated into product and service innovations and customers can discuss these ideas directly with Dell’s product developers. Herein lies the critical peice. The administration will need to demonstrate that the ideas the community generates will be considered in the legislative process and acted on quickly if they receive support from democratically elected representatives. Easier said than done, of course, but there will be much more to come on this later. Stay tuned!



14 Comments

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J. Perron
Nov 9, 2008 15:58

Obama instilled a sense of empowerment in the US electorate. He represents a departure from the helplessness (or at least apathy) that has characterized the past eight-or-so years in American politics.

As you said, Obama’s success hinges on harnessing “the same grassroots energy” that we saw throughout his campaign. Without empowering voters (by presenting them with an option other than the classic “Washington-Flavoured Status Quo”)this grassroots energy would never have been born.

What I am saying is that this “empowerment thing” is critical. What better way does Obama have to maintain this empowerment through to 2012 than open forums, councils, etc. a la Gov. 2.0?

I hope that Mr. Obama is listening (reading). I am looking foward to your coming suggestions. The American Democrats should be as well.

Top Six Social Media Markets in 2009 » The Buzz Bin
Nov 9, 2008 23:09

[...] Government: Obama is in and that means government 2.0 will start becoming a rapid adoption technology and communications vehicle for federal, and then state and local will follow. It’s inevitable [...]

Steve Radick
Nov 10, 2008 21:40

Anthony – great, thought-provoking post! Dell’s IdeaStorm concept is already in play at our government at the TSA. Their IdeaFactory (http://www.fcw.com/print/22_5/features/151791-1.html) accomplishes much of the same goals. They can and should use that model as an example of how that concept can be successful in the public sector too.

Matt Greeley
Nov 17, 2008 21:54

We offered our best-of-breed idea portal to the administration pro bono.

http://www.brightidea.com/webstorm/

See actual data from simliar project with Cisco:

Matt Greeley
Nov 17, 2008 21:55

Luidt de Obama regering het internet tijdperk in? | Puyt Consultancy
Nov 18, 2008 14:50

[...] Set up a series of citizen councils, organized around key policy themes, and equip users with an Ideastorm. At first these communities might look and feel a lot like Digg.com, the popular technology news aggregator. Users post policy suggestions and the community votes so that the most popular ideas rise to the top. Ideas are harvested from a broader spectrum of the population and the user-driven idea filtering process eases the burden on staff resources by harnessing “the crowd” to sift through mountains of feedback. – Anthony Williams, Obama’s web 2.0 strategy: from campaigning to governing, part 1 — Wikinomics [...]

John Beyer
Nov 19, 2008 2:09

Jamie
Dec 2, 2008 19:22

In an effort to combat climate change and to lower greenhouse gasses, President elect Obama should make the Trans-Global Highway a major policy directive in his administration., The project was proposed by Frank X. Didik, who also happens to be the found of the Electric Car Society, a number of years ago. The Trans-Global Highway would physically link the continents of the world together utilizing existing roads, rail lines and through a series of under water tunnels. The Trans-Global Highway would clearly lower transportation costs as well as reduce the huge amount of energy needed to transport products globally . I also see the Trans Global highway as a method to increase international cooperation and better allocation of global resources, with minimal invasiveness of the environment, It may well be the key infrastructure project that Mr. Obama has been seeking. The full proposal can be read at http://www.TransGlobalHighway.com

Social Bookmarking » Blog Archive » Roundup: 50 suggestions for how President-elect Obama can use the Internet to govern
Dec 25, 2008 3:24

[...] Set up a series of citizen councils, organized around key policy themes, and equip users with an Ideastorm. At first these communities might look and feel a lot like Digg.com, the popular technology news aggregator. Users post policy suggestions and the community votes so that the most popular ideas rise to the top. Ideas are harvested from a broader spectrum of the population and the user-driven idea filtering process eases the burden on staff resources by harnessing ???the crowd??? to sift through mountains of feedback. – Anthony Williams, Obama???s web 2.0 strategy: from campaigning to governing, part 1 — Wikinomics [...]

The Promise and Myth of Barack Obama’s Government 2.0 | Gauravonomics Blog
Jan 10, 2009 22:26

[...] Many observers mistakenly think of Obama’s presidential campaign as bottom-up and open, when it was very top down and controlled in reality. The campaign maintained very tight control both on sensitive campaign information and the central message of change, even as it provided its supporters the platforms and tools to spread that message. It is naive to assume that the Obama government will be more open than the Obama campaign. So, even though we’ll see isolated examples, such as the Peer to Patent initiative by the US Patent Office, level 5 of government 2.0, therefore, will have to wait for a few more years. See Anthony Williams on a Dell Ideastorm for government. [...]

Social Bookmarking » Blog Archive » Roundup: 50 suggestions for how President-elect Obama can use the Internet to govern
Jan 20, 2009 1:36

[...] Set up a series of citizen councils, organized around key policy themes, and equip users with an Ideastorm. At first these communities might look and feel a lot like Digg.com, the popular technology news aggregator. Users post policy suggestions and the community votes so that the most popular ideas rise to the top. Ideas are harvested from a broader spectrum of the population and the user-driven idea filtering process eases the burden on staff resources by harnessing “the crowd” to sift through mountains of feedback. – Anthony Williams, Obama’s web 2.0 strategy: from campaigning to governing, part 1 — Wikinomics [...]

Wikinomics» Blog Archive » Obama’s web 2.0 strategy: from campaigning to governing, part 2
Jun 8, 2009 8:40

[...] last week I started posting my initial thoughts on how Obama can tap into the same grassroots energy and organization that propelled him to the [...]

Roundup: 50 suggestions for how President-elect Obama can use the Internet to govern
Mar 28, 2010 21:38

[...] Set up a series of citizen councils, organized around key policy themes, and equip users with an Ideastorm. At first these communities might look and feel a lot like Digg.com, the popular technology news aggregator. Users post policy suggestions and the community votes so that the most popular ideas rise to the top. Ideas are harvested from a broader spectrum of the population and the user-driven idea filtering process eases the burden on staff resources by harnessing “the crowd” to sift through mountains of feedback. – Anthony Williams, Obama’s web 2.0 strategy: from campaigning to governing, part 1 — Wikinomics [...]

Обещания и мифы Government 2.0 Барака Обамы | Алена Попова
Jul 6, 2010 12:16

[...] [...]

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Don Tapscott and Anthony D. William's latest collaboration, Macrowikinomics: New Solutions for a Connected Planet. Learn more.

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