On May 18th, I gave my “lectio magistralis” at Forumpa. The event was well prepared, the room a bit small but fully crowded.
Here are my SlideCast or Webinar – not sure which is the right word
Obviously this is in Italian. What was new/worth knowing with respect to other presentation I gave? Mainly 2 things that you can see from slide 28 onwards:
- the limits of gov20: participation is highly meritocratic and elitistic. Current projects involve Lisa but not Bart Simpson, thereby gain little traction. Beside open data, as Lessig says , you need civic sense, hackers, citizens paying attention. But if you don’t have it, like in the Italian case, gov20 can help building civic sense. Civic sense is not a pre-requisite, it’s an enabling condition but also a result of gov20 initiatives.
- the concrete policy options: here I added to my traditi0nal list the initiative for doing civic hacking in schools as a tool for making civic education more sexy; and the importance of meso-level policy visible in initiatives such as the hub, kublai, rewiredstate, more fully described in our report. I structured clearly the policy options because I wanted to convince policy-makers that there is a clear and easy to-do list.
My final message was: we got many examples, and don’t need much money. The only thing missing now are excuses.
So presentation went well, got good participation and positive feedback.
Yet I couldn’t help but being disappointed. My secret agenda was to make a difference. To shock and to inspire action – in a country which desperately needs to move.
But at the end I saw so little of this. I came away tired, with the feeling that nothing would change. Yet another talk, and little action. Also looking at the blog posts following the overall event, I saw lots of complacency and “coolness” factor, but little collaborative projects.
Also, so many of the comments were on the obstacles that innovators face. This is certainly true and probably the reason I don’t live in Italy. But it’s not the main point and it should not become an excuse! There is so much that can be done thanks to the model of “innovation without permission”! Linnea and friends created pazienti.org with no funding, on their enthusiasm and free time, thanks to the help of many people.
So my final thought is: a little less conversation a little more action. From now on, I will not give speeches on this theme, it’s useless. Anyway, policy-makers just act by imitation, so now that Obama did it others are copying.
Instead, I will give a short speech of max 30 mins, and then animate a collaborative workshop for building gov20 solutions. Participants will bring a problem or a project idea, and together we will work out how to address it in a gov20 way. It’s a bit like Kublai, but in one hour !
This will be more fun and hopefully more productive.