Prediction: The Digital Economy Strategy will fail unless drafted on GCPEDIA

So I’ve finished up at Canada 3.0. I’ve got a copy of the Consultation Paper on the Digital Economy Strategy and hope to write about it shortly (when, I don’t know since I’m traveling between Ontario and BC twice this week, and 5 times in the coming 5 weeks…). I also hope to post some deeper thoughts and reflections about the conference since… no one is saying much and there is much to be said. Some sneak peeks: 1) It is telling that it seems no one was live blogging the conference, 2) The conference was a little heavy on commercialization and how the internet can work to save the current crop of content distributors and 3) the gap between my colleagues and friends and those – particularly senior leaders – is stunning.

In the meantime, my post from Monday has gotten good traction but I wanted to repost the last section since the post was long (and I know few people read long posts) – and, frankly, the point needs emphasizing:

A networked economy can only be managed by a government that uses a networked approach to policy development.

An agrarian economy was managed using papyrus, an industrial economy was managed via printing press, typewriters and carbon copy paper. A digital economy strategy and managing policies were created on Microsoft Word and with email. A Network Economy can and only will be successfully managed and regulated when those trying to regulate it stop using siloed, industrial modes of production, and instead start thinking and organizing like a network. Not to ring an old bell, but today, that means drafting the policy, from beginning to end, on GCPEDIA, the only platform where federal public servants can actually organize in a network.

Managing an industrial economy would have been impossible using hand written papyrus, not just because the tools could not have handled the volume and complexity of the work but because the underlying forms of thinking and organizing that are shaped by that tool are so different from how an industrial economy works. In short, how you do it matters.

With that said, I’m going to predict this right now: Until a digital economy strategy is drafted using online but internally-connected tools like wikis, it will fail. At the moment, this means GCPEDIA. I say this not because the people working on it will not be intelligent, but because they won’t be thinking in a connected way. It will be like horse and buggy users trying to devise what a policy framework for cars should look like. Terrible, terrible decisions will be made.

To manage a network you have to think and act in a network. Painful? Maybe. But that’s the reality of the situation.

6 thoughts on “Prediction: The Digital Economy Strategy will fail unless drafted on GCPEDIA

  1. Peter R.

    The momentum, the energy and the excitement behind collaborative/networked/web 2.0/etc is only matched by the momentum, the energy and the excitement that was behind making money off of leveraged debt instruments in the US.David, the onus lies squarely with you to prove that policymakers across government are are incapable of finding good policy solutions WITHOUT letting everyone and his twitting brother chime in their two cents. For the last 8 years I've worked in government, I can tell you with absolute certainty (and credibility!) that good policy emerges from sound research and strategic instrument choice. Often (select) public consultations are required, but sometimes none at all. Take 3 simple and highly successful policy applications: seat belts laws, carbon tax, banking regulation. Small groups of policymakers have developed policies (or laws, regs, etc) to brilliant effect….sans web 2.0. So why do we need gcpedia now?I'll put this another way: tons of excellent policy solutions are waiting in the shared drives of bureaucrats across all governments. Politics — being what it is — doesn't generate progressive out solutions for various ideological reasons (applies equally to ndp, lib, con). First, tell us what a “failed” digitial economy strategy (DES) looks like. Second, tell us what components need to be included in the DES for it be successful. Third, show us why gcpedia/wikis offer the only viable means to accumulate the necessary policy ingredients. Peter R. ps; follow up and I'll happily provide a phone number to allow a live conversation

    Reply
  2. Peter R.

    The momentum, the energy and the excitement behind collaborative/networked/web 2.0/etc is only matched by the momentum, the energy and the excitement that was behind making money off of leveraged debt instruments in the US.David, the onus lies squarely with you to prove that policymakers across government are are incapable of finding good policy solutions WITHOUT letting everyone and his twitting brother chime in their two cents. For the last 8 years I've worked in government, I can tell you with absolute certainty (and credibility!) that good policy emerges from sound research and strategic instrument choice. Often (select) public consultations are required, but sometimes none at all. Take 3 simple and highly successful policy applications: seat belts laws, carbon tax, banking regulation. Small groups of policymakers have developed policies (or laws, regs, etc) to brilliant effect….sans web 2.0. So why do we need gcpedia now?I'll put this another way: tons of excellent policy solutions are waiting in the shared drives of bureaucrats across all governments. Politics — being what it is — doesn't generate progressive out solutions for various ideological reasons (applies equally to ndp, lib, con). First, tell us what a “failed” digitial economy strategy (DES) looks like. Second, tell us what components need to be included in the DES for it be successful. Third, show us why gcpedia/wikis offer the only viable means to accumulate the necessary policy ingredients. Peter R. ps; follow up and I'll happily provide a phone number to allow a live conversation

    Reply
  3. Pingback: On Policy Alpha geeks, network thinking and foreign policy | eaves.ca

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