In the last month, I’ve been invited to speak in may different places about web2.0. Thanks to IPA, ConnectedRepublic , CoR , IPTS and EPFL. You can find the presentations on Slideshare
My latest presentations focus on USAGE and IMPACT of web2 in government.
I argue that take-up is not dramatic. Look at peertopatent, patientopinion, farmsubsidy, planningalerts: people are not queuing to participate and engage.
Yet the impact is higher than numbers of users show. Why?
My view is that web2 generates change because it acts on LEVERAGES, rather than simply “push” or “pull”. Let me summarize some of them, collected from the discourse in the blogosphere:
– it puts to use Clay Shirky’s cognitive surplus, where people rather than spending hourse watching TV they edit Wikipedia entries.
– it opens the possibility for very narrow products/services/skills to be used: the long tail
– it augments the impact of data, through better visualisation: consider the different impact between a list of crimes in the police websites, and the mapping done by chicagocrime.com (now everyblock.com)
– it exposes government behaviour through many-to-many feedback mechanisms: consider the difference between traditional customer complaints procedure and the service of patientopinion.org
– it exploits personal vanity and desire of recognition by peers (such as wikipedia, peertopatent)
Some good quotes about web2.0 and LEVERAGE:
– “a problem shared is a problem halved… and a pressure group created” (Paul Hodgkin, PatientOpinion.org)
– “it’s about pressure points, chinks in the armour where improvements might be possible, whether with the consent of government or not” (Tom Steinberg, mySociety.org)
– the recent paper on social leverage points

Traditionally, in analyzing the impact of ICT, the two main categories
are “driving” and “enabling”: the first to indicate contexts where ICT
“pushes” changes by creating new opportunities; the second is about
existing needs and challenges pulling technological development.
Yet probably we should look for the main impact of ICT is when it acts on leverage points – then the impact becomes disruptive.
Which of course opens many questions, such as: how can leverage effect be captured by existing models of measurement of ICT impact?

PS I realize is not a good time to emphasize leverages in view of the financial turmoil due to derivatives!

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