There are days when I think our relationship with government is just like a Seinfeld episode: oddly humourous episodes, fuelled by odd social rules that in the end, get us nowhere. Take the episode where Elaine tried to get access to her medical records because she saw a scribbled note labelling her ‘difficult’. What’d she get at the end of her adventure? Nothing.
It’s a scenario that comically sums up the unidirectional flow of information that we often get when we access government services. While the corporate world now routinely provides two-way engagement with its customers, the majority of government services do not. Technology has opened up a two-way stream of information and we GovMakers and CivicMakers need to take advantage of it.
In Citizenville, former San Francisco mayor and current California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom describes five themes of connecting people and government:
- Government has to be absolutely transparent by opening up its vast stores of data with exceptions to protect public safety and privacy;
- Encourage people to use the data to create useful apps, devices, tools, whatever;
- Learn to engage people on their own terms – in a world more connected than ever, there’s no excuse for people no to be connected to their government;
- Allow people to bypass government;
- Inject a more innovative mind-set in government.
(Check out the summary of Citizenville by Councillor Dawn Arnold of Moncton.)
In this day and age, low voter turn out is absolute poppy cock, and is the result of a political system that has been slow on the uptake. We live in the most politically engaged times. Voter apathy isn’t the problem; a traditionally uninviting system is.
We’re here to change it.
On Tuesday, October 7th, 2014, Canada’s youngest premier (and the second youngest in our country’s history) was sworn into office. It is my hope that this is not the only time New Brunswick’s new government makes history.
Imagine New Brunswick: The #1 Innovator and implementer of open government and open data.
Now imagine you being part of where it all began.
The New Brunswick Social Policy Research Network is hosting the “GovMaker Conference” November 24th-25th to explore the opportunities of open data and open government for New Brunswick.
GovMaker NB is bringing together researchers, policy-makers and members of the public, private and not-for-profit sectors to collaborate on data-driven policies and to instigate citizen-driven solutions to our toughest challenges.
Join us in this exciting collaboration to accelerate regional interest in the opportunities of Open Data and Open Government for civilians and market-driven solutions! New Brunswick needs all hands on deck. Are you in?