I attended the Gov 2.0 Summit in Washington DC last week. It was a fascinating experience – both in terms of learning, and in how to conduct a conference rich with content and filled with diversity of ideas without the boring presentations typical of most Indian conferences.
The Gov 2.0 Summit theme was “Government as Platform.” As the introduction put it: “Gov 2.0 Summit brings together innovators from government and the private sector to highlight technology and ideas that can be applied to the nation’s great challenges. In areas as diverse as education, health care, energy, jobs, and financial reform, there are unique opportunities to rethink how government agencies perform their mission and serve our citizens. Social media, cloud computing, web, and mobile technologies-all provide new capabilities that government agencies are beginning to harness to achieve demonstrably better results at lower cost.”
The dominant idea permeating the event was about government as a platform to build services and solutions on, rather than the government itself as a solutions provider. As one of the speakers put it, “Government does not have a monopoly on wisdom.” With the tools of technology now easily available to citizens and developers, there is a growing movement to opening up the government. This intersection of government and technology has a fascinating interplay as we in India seek to tackle the big challenges we face – similar to the US. The US is responding by opening up government and getting people involved – that is something we in India need to start doing quickly.