Craig Newmark is generous to a fault and he was kind enough to share his thoughts on a couple of quick questions I sent his way. Craig, the founder of Craigslist, is also someone who has taken the time to become deeply involved with efforts to bring transparency to government by leveraging social tools, open data sets, and open source software.
While brief, I hope you find this useful. I know it has left me with more to consider.
Q. What prompted your interest in government 2.0 initiatives?
A. We’re living in times when people use tech to change everything about the way people work together for mutual benefit, and that includes governance. Even though I’m most naturally a couch potato, I feel I gotta stand up and do my bit. As an engineer, I like things to work well, and that applies to government also.
Q. In your opinion, what areas are ripe for reaping the benefits of these open initiatives but is also yet to be tapped into..
A. We’re starting to get results in broad areas:
- Better customer service
- All over getting what we pay for
Q. While there are pockets of success within many of the democratic governments in the world, what is needed to reach a tipping point that will eliminate middle management obstacles in deploying government 2.0 broadly?
A. Even a lot of middle management gets it, we need to get results and broadcast that, to build unstoppable momentum.
Q. In my opinion, ROI of government 2.0 initiatives are often measured in terms of political capital won/loss. Do you agree or disagree?
A. I’d disagree, I think the ultimate return will be seeing that government with honest leadership is trustworthy.
Q. What has surprised you the most as you have gone deeper with your efforts in this space?
A. How much passion I’ve seen among rank and file government workers to give taxpayers what they’ve paid for.