I am more and more involved in advising government on online engagement and collaboration. When government think about this, the first idea is to build “their own” platform, and we’ve long argued that government should instead reach out where the discussion is already happening.

However, it is true that this is more difficult to manage, because conversations and contacts are dispersed. It is difficult to track the discussion and distill knowledge out of it, not to speak about concrete action.

Many governments have their own engagement platforms. Most of these do not work well because government is typically not very good at choosing and designign platforms.

But there are good cases. For example the department of Innovation and Skills, NESTA, the UK Technology Strategy Board. But also the US challenge.gov is a platform for action.

So my tentative hypothesis is that:

  1. government should have some forms of own engagement platform in addition to reaching out
  2. it should be a readily available platform, not a custom-developed one
  3. it should accept third party authentication (openID, twitter, google, facebook, linkedin) in order to allow for maximum integration of the discussion

Do you agree? and what are the best engagement platform you know used by government?