Government is a lot like the weather. Everybody complains about it, nobody does anything about it.
I was once told, “The problem with government workers is they don’t have any customers.” That would create behavior. No customers means no meaningful feedback, no praise for doing right. That’s an ugly career.
Something has to change. Our current system is too expensive in money, exertion, citizen effort, and value created.
Tim O’Reilly has a three minute video on the next generation of government where he says we should consider government as a platform.
What’s A Platform?
When was the last time you got a message from Amazon that said go to the back of the line and spend two hours coming back to the counter, as the form we just gave you is out of date?
I’m a library addict. I know the staff, and we’ve been through some entertaining years adopting technology.
I now order more than half of my books from the library over the Internet. They send an email when the book is available. They send daily emails when a book is about to be overdue.
Yesterday was the first time they scanned, but didn’t stamp, card, or write a return date on the book. The Librarian said, “We’ll send you an email before they are due.”
A completed system, easier for the librarians, much easier for the customers. More books checked out per hour, better control of the assets, maybe even time to guide readers. Not a clerk, a librarian!
And that’s government as a platform.
What an idea - an accessible repository of information, forms, documents, and receptacle for required filings.
These functions require response but in the majority of situations no dialog. Automating them frees up the human for a responsive role of informing and responding.
Net gain - greater satisfaction for the public and the employee - each is able to get to an efficient and meaningful result promptly.
The platform approach for software was an improvement for the user - applying this to the customer interface with agencies and departments logically can have the same result.
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