citizen.gov a threat to vendors?
A simple and potentially disruptive question from Andrea DiMaio on the Gartner blog: As governments embrace “bottom-up experimentation” online, is the traditional model of outside technology consulting viable?
It’s the next incarnation of the problem non-profits often have with vendors like Convio. To make it profitable to sell and implement new toolsets, business productize their tools and their approach, often to the point where clients must twist their process and staff to fit a tool’s limitations, instead of consultants adapting tools and strategies to fit an organization’s needs.
But as institutions learn that successful citizen/customer outreach must be authentic and constituent-driven, streamlined tech projects based on cookie-cutter tools lose what little appeal they ever had. DiMaio writes:
Government 2.0 is about spending less rather than more, it is about leveraging existing resources (employees, public data, consumer tools) rather than increasing them … it is about listening rather than talking. So, how many vendors are prepared to do the right thing for their clients?
Nothing would suit me better than the death of Internet consulting (an activity that still languishes just above carpetbagging in the cultural food chain–and I say that as a once and future Internet consultant). But until more government staff and more citizens internalize new ways of collaborating, we’re probably stuck with some kind of intermediary experts.
Hopefully, vendors and consultants will take DiMaio’s concerns to heart and find a way to “change or die,” or maybe more aptly, “listen or lose.”
There’s more about this in the article on Gov 2.0 realities that I wrote earlier this year, including this bit citing Eben Moglen:
According to Columbia University law professor Eben Moglen, when relevant public information can reach interested people with sufficient structure, “government learns it has users.” … Moglen compares the emergence of new tools and personalizable data streams to the invention and mass production of the automobile. “It’s okay to require a generation to learn how to drive,” he says.
… and thank you to @SarahSchacht for tweeting the article.