Many of us are grappling with the effects of social media on governance and society. Some would like to think that technology does not make any fundamental change in human society. We are in a transitional phase where social media and mobility is empowering people to engage from LOL cats to the Arab Spring while also acting as an “echo chamber” for traditional media. We know that we are in a new phase because the new media is described as a modification of the current. Like “horseless carriages” or “moving pictures.” We see this in “data journalism.” And, we try to define concepts in wake of digital disruption. For example: is blogging journalism?
While we wonder whether blogging is journalism, we are rapidly finding that journalism is ceasing to be journalism. It’s the effect of the new medium.
It’s at these unfortunate times when we can observe this clash of the media titans. And, it’s no longer one cable news channel vs. another. Or, television vs newspapers. It’s social media contrasted with traditional media. I observed this disruption in the aftermath of the bombing at the Boston Marathon.
There are some lessons emerging that extend beyond media companies to enterprises and government:
Consumers are no longer passive consumers, they have become active content providers
Power is shifting from institutions and enterprises (whether governments, media outlets or large companies) to customers and citizens
Information and insight has become non-linear
Pattern recognition is replacing narrative where visualization, engagement, big data analytics are becoming critical
Many will continue to reject the latest medium as unworthy, vulgar or amateur – but this won’t change anything
The role of traditional media, governments, organizations and companies is changing
E-books as the vulgar fast-food of literature: wasted calories and low brain power
E-books as poor substitutes for the real thing: the visceral beauty and tactile feel
E-books, as part of a culture of turning humans into cyborgs
Not to mention the backlash against bloggers, the lament for “real journalism” and the dangers of technology determinism.
What is missing in this debate about the value of e-books? The defenders of the traditional “printed book” fail to realize that the printed book is technology. Mechanical and industrial age technology. The printing press also generated a technology backlash. And, a printing press bubble because most literate persons preferred the higher quality hand-produced book.
The introduction of ‘book technology’ may not have had the humorous impact described below.
Not to mention that the phonetic alphabet is technology as well.
Marshall McLuhan explained the impact of the printing press decades ago. He described why the role of the book has changed. In the following embedded video, look to
0:59: notions of “right and wrong” belonging to the literary man
2:48: books do not allow us to be “with it”
5:01: books are a “teaching machine”
5:45: books as linear, part of the assembly line
McLuhan also found this notion of technology turning us into robots as a “simple minded idea” as presented in another video at 3:01 that isn’t embeddable. McLuhan at 5:13 also points out that the book has ceased to be a package.
Is the gradual replacement of printed books with e-books a bad thing?
Have e-books killed the printed book star?
All vested interests object to technology change that upsets the status quo. Socrates was against the written word. I’m not suggesting that those against the e-book are rent-seekers trying to preserve the past. (Some in the traditional publishing business are rent-seeking). My sense is that many of those who decry these technology changes believe that technology such as e-book readers have less value. I believe that this is an elitist view
McLuhan addressed this notion of “value” of a new medium in a famous discussion with Norman Mailer in the video embedded below.
4:43: that books heralded in the fragmentation and specialization of the industrial age
6:45: most people live in a nostalgic rear-view mirror view of society
16:40: despite Mailer’s objection, McLuhan points out that we cannot pass a value judgement on this move to the electronic age
The printed book medium has not been a universally positive influence. Nationalism has seen the rise of conflict. Some, like John Ralston Saul , have shown that rationalism and the “dictatorship of reason” may not have been a good thing either.We have to recognize that we need to compare the benefits of technology, not assume that the incumbent technology has little or no negative consequences.
From mechanical to digital
Printed books waste resources and contribute to climate change. Trees are harvested to create paper. (As many Canadian know: we might have a lot of trees but pulp mills are not pleasant things). Books are transported. Fill warehouses, stores, libraries and homes (that require heating and cooling). Books that do not sell well get sold at lower prices – or get disposed into land fill.
Traditional printed books are not sustainable as teaching machines. These books cannot be easily transported to developing countries to build human capacity. We often talk about the “digital divide” as an inhibitor of development. Smartphones, tablets and e-book readers provide more knowledge than a truckload of books because they can contain truckloads of books. And, there has been innovation to increase storage, improve interactivity, extend battery power and provide solar energy.
And costs are dropping to make the technology more accessible.
Printed books operate in a linear fashion. Digital is non-linear. Narrative is being replaced by pattern recognition. This is enabled through digital technologies such as ebooks, social media, video on demand and apps. This doesn’t necessarily mean that digital eliminates critical thought. (Many critics who believe that Google is killing our capacity to think or our memory are using criteria from the industrial age. Trends like big data, visualization, data science and data journalism are providing the non-linear pattern recognition that we need in the post-industrial world.
We also need to recognize that our personal content delivery preferences are personal preferences
It is fascinating to me that so many younger people hold on to obsolete technology: books, records, fax machines. I remember those days well. The transition from records to CDs to MP3s. The transition from telex to fax to e-mail to social media. And, the value that these technologies provided. But, I was much older then and I’m much younger now.
Yes, McLuhan was right: those people who decry technology advancements that democratize knowledge are simply not with it
In homage to “Number 6”, here are six themes of modern technology resulting in 3 effects described in the programs:
Internet cookies and (1) Identity and (2) Role
All residents of “the village”, whether prisoners or not, wear a “penny farthing page” with their number. Their activities are tracked much like a cookie on a web site. Residents, like users for popular web sites, are assigned a number. Residents become their number. “Number 2” is the titular head of the village (while Number 6 tries to discover who Number 1 is). The person assigned to Number 2 changes from episode to episode akin to multiple people using the same log-in and computer, and hence, the same cookie.
The identity is all about “role”. Something McLuhan predicted: the transition from jobs to roles for electronic man. Our roles change faster than in the 1960s – and without the benefit of badges to tell us what role we should be playing.
Identity is always accompanied by violence, according to McLuhan. The number assigned to residents in The Prisoner defined the conflict in the narrative – from Number 2 (every Number 2) laughing evilly to Number 6’s wanting to be free. Identify violence has metastasized to social media flaming. This makes for good drama.
(3) The Privacy vs. (4) Security Calculus
Video surveillance is rampant in “the village.” Number 6 often asks for privacy. Other residents appear to revel in the security provided by this surveillance. Many viewers may wonder why prisoners rebelled in what seemed to be a wonderful seaside retirement home (in Pormeirion Wales).
(5) Humans vs. (6) Machine Conflict and predictive analytics
The advent of mainframe computers generated the popular cultural stereotype: the all-seeing, all knowing machine. The 1957 comedy Desk Set best presented this notion of man vs. the machine. (In this case, Katherine Hepburn vs. Spencer Tracy’s machine). This conflict is presented as predictive analytics are used to determine residents’ behaviour. After all, they have resident badges and track movement. They’ve collected more elements of behaviour than the last Obama campaign.
Of course, they couldn’t process all those data points in 1967 – but we can now on the Amazon cloud. (The computer, in pre-Deep Blue days, predicted the outcome of chess matches.)
Much like today, the village computer was not able to 100% predict resident behaviour. Number 6 understood that he was being analyzed, so he became unpredictable. The village computer seemed to have more trouble with the impact of social relationships in the same way that collaborative filtering can generate some very odd recommendations because the algorithm doesn’t understand the context.
The other machine problem is that the authorities were operating out of network – in the broadcast mode. They watched and they made announcements. They sent spies. But, they did not interact as peers with the residents. This is another problem experienced by governments and large business in the Internet age: you can’t always control the flow of information.
I wonder how senior media executives in the 21st Century seemingly ignore the more obvious lessons by the late Marshall McLuhan. McLuhan was often touted as the guru of media in the 1960s, so you would assume that executives at NBC might have clued on by now. Apparently not. In the social media advanced stage of the global village where time and place are becoming meaningless and information is speeding ever faster – NBC decided to re-introduce the latency of time and place in Olympic coverage. The twitter hash tag #NBCfail has become a mainstream media phenomena.
1. Television is Obsolete by McLuhan’s Definition
Obsolete does not mean that television is not used or has no value. It means that television is no longer leading change. TV has moved from figure to ground. Social media is now figure. This means that television has become content for social media. And, that television has changed in the wake of social media – in the same way that the telegraph led to the detective novel. (Telegraph brought people closer together and more involved, hence the need to make novels more involved.) Cable news and reality television seem to be phenomena for obsolescence: competing against the always-on social media with something more sensational.
Lesson: NBC Olympic coverage should have thought of social first, TV second.
2. Tribalization of Television
Television networks compete to gain advertising by delivering eye balls to advertisers. Analog and digital television operates in limited environments or “channels”. Digital media, outside of cable and satellite, operates with almost unlimited numbers of channels. This means that social media users can join “tribes” of people whose interests are on the “long tail” whether it’s water polo or modern pentathlon. (Or, in a country like the United States where there are many immigrants, following the sports start of the “old country”.) McLuhan saw electronic technology as enabling social “retribalization“.
Lesson: NBC should have enabled micro delivery on the internet – and monetized it rather than forcing users to have cable accounts.
Lesson: NBC should have focused on content delivery and left context to social media – let people find out more about what interests them by providing links on the NBC web site that hyperlinks to additional information.
4. Medium is the Message
NBC and the IOC are attempting to control information deployment. The IOC seems to be more concerned about official sponsorship revenue than anything else. Both are controlling ownership of Olympic content. The message is that people don’t matter – sponsors do. And, that repurposing, sampling, mashing up etc. is to be avoided.
Lesson: NBC should enable repurposing of data to create viral social media. Instead, content is tightly controlled – and the only thing that has gone viral is the poor quality and lateness of NBC coverage.
5. Violence and Identity
McLuhan saw sports as an expression of violence under controlled circumstance – with rules. He also saw violence as caused by identity: “When things come at you very fast, naturally you lose touch with yourself. Anybody moving into a new world loses identity…So loss of identity is something that happens in rapid change.” NBC seems to have adopted the notion that the Olympics are American-centric. The http://www.nbcolympics.com/ site (which is meager and burdened by advertising) highlights 5 videos. 4 videos are about American achievements and 1 videos how to get live (with a liberal definition of “live”) free (with a liberal definition of “free”).
Lesson: It is appropriate to highlight the achievements of athletes from your home country. NBC should provide more coverage of athletes from other countries. It might provide some empathy – or some context about how we’re more similar than different.
Di Maio has been critical of enthusiasm in light of poor open data business cases of high costs with unproven returns.
I have to report that Di Maio was proven right at the Open Government Data Conference. Enthusiasm was high and open data business cases were primarily anecdotal. (I’ve curated tweets below on these subjects.) My sense based on the conference is that most of the four issues, with the exception of proven return, were addressed effectively:
Digital divide continues to narrow, there are emerging techniques from reaching the poor (i.e. visualization on walls) through intermediaries and costs for civil society to reach the poor is going down
Information complexity is being sorted out thanks to semantic technology and better user interface design
Costs can be sustainable through automation, cloud computing and lessons learned in scaling up open data
Is there an evidence-based business case for open data?
I moderated an “unconference” discussion about the open data business case for financial data. My thinking was that it’s best to narrow down the domain in order to get more concrete ideas. Some progress was made. We identified areas for financial open data (budget, procurement, revenue, human resources, audit, aid, grants and performance).
We developed a framework to describe direct effects such as open procurement leading to increased competition and reduced costs and indirect effects such as increased trust through open budgets that leads to more investment to build more economic activity that generates tax revenue. There really wasn’t enough time to build out a full framework – but that’s what we need to do. Then we can validate this framework through real cases and provide effective business cases.
Why do we need a business case framework?
Technology disrupts how organizations operate. The business case for previous technology is often inadequate to effectively measure long term costs or returns that were not available in the previous technology. An open data business case will address potential new effects such as:
Return on the network effect where each new data set can add value to a previous data set
Return in taxes and economic development through the notion of government as platform – in a measurable way
Reduction in costs by eliminating IT functions that are no longer necessary in the age of open data
Return from better government decision-making through crowdsourcing
Return from better personal decision-making through open health, weather and financial data
In particular: we need to be able to prove these suppositions.
Open data enables citizens to determine whether governments are meeting objectives. For example, Alex Howard built a spreadsheet showing which US Federal Agencies are publishing open government plans meeting the requirements of the Office of Management and Budget. My use cases focused on compliance, fraud and performance audits by citizens and civil society.
Open Data and Civil Involvement
Elections provide sporadic and light democratic involvement. Open data enables more substantial involvement between elections. It enables a virtual agora of civic discourse. And, open data informs this discourse with evidence and facts. Rather than opinion. And punditry. If we were to consider McLuhan’s tetrad of media effects to analyze open government:
Enhances: Information access and insight – introduces data journalism
Obsolesces: Dogmatic approaches and partisanship - particularly as practiced in talk radio or television
Retrieves: Political agora, decisions made by the Iroquois, the New England direct democracy model etc.
Reverses: Information overload
Marshall McLuhan Tetrad: Retrieves and Reverses
McLuhan Tetrad: Wikipedia
Insight about the future effects of a medium are best discovered through the retrieval and reversing phenomena. (Enhances and obsolesces tends to be easy to understand but provides little insight into the ultimate effects of any medium).
Open data will increase data available to citizens. This could create information overload. Many observers, like Andrea di Maio suggest that the problem is not so much the volume as the usability of open data.The effect may mean that those citizens with interest or those with expertise may provide significant value to improving government programs. This might dis-intermediate traditional media and move from a broadcast model of political discourse to a 1-on-1 model.
Cognitive Surplus and Civil Duty
The fundamental difference between open government and traditional broadcast is that government operates in-network rather than out of network. It changes the social contract: transparency becomes a government mandate and citizen participation a civic duty. We can no longer complain about the lack of government effectiveness if we are part of the “network”.
It’s unclear whether tapping into the cognitive surplus of experts will be sufficient for citizen audit. Perhaps information accessibility through visualization while overcoming the digital divide will be necessary to fully tap the “wisdom of citizens.”
There are signs of the internet as virtual political agora. Participatory budgeting is a significant phenomena. In my view, open government will extend participatory budgeting to on-line collaboration. Outcomes from budgets will be analyzed by civil society to improve follow-on budgets. Therefore, citizen audit will become performance-centric. Value-based. And, a civic duty.
I’ve been trying to enjoy The Net Delusion – the Dark Side of Internet Freedom by Evgeny Morozov. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot to enjoy: littered with sparkling disdain for cyberutopia and biting turns of phrase. Morozov, (@evgenymorozov) whose tweets and magazine articles are crisp and insightful, has managed to squeeze a magazine article into a full length book. With a hodgepodge of evidence (aka confirmation bias). And no data visualization, so the proof points appear weak.
That’s not to say that he doesn’t have anything important to say. Morozov’s view that technological determinism is a vapid explanation for change deserves thought. After all, who wants to believe that they are a gadget? (Not Jason Lanier for one.)
The Horseless Carriages of Technological Determinism
The Cold War figures heavily in the historical context of The Net Delusion. Morozov questions whether radio broadcasts or fax machines really had any effect on the end of the Soviet empire. He also suggests that because Twitter did not change the regime in Iran, therefore, it doesn’t work. (And so on.) This is an example of where holes in the net denialism seem to form.
Technology speeds up communications, so the introduction of any technology does not create social change unless there are the economic or political pre-requisites to do so. The new medium alone does not create change.
Technology has macro effects. So, the micro situation (i.e. Tunisia compared to Iran) is not easily resolved even when there is evidence that people or the government did or did not use social media in any fundamental way. The effects of social media is in a network, so it doesn’t behave like broadcast or propaganda.
Different technology has different effects. Morozov points out that Marshall McLuhan suggested that radio led to extreme nationalism and seems to imply that other media has the same effect. Radio is a hot medium. One-way. Social media is multidirectional. Anyone can be a content provider.
Social media is in the early days. So, the trivial can dominate the echo chamber. And, the previous medium (i.e. reality television) forms the content of the new. So, it’s a bit early to pass judgement on social media. And, we are in the “horseless carriage” days where we are looking at social media as an extension of old media (i.e. social media journalism).
Technological determinism and the “medium is the message” are two different things. The first supposes a specific outcome (i.e. democracy) while the other suggests changes in society (i.e. the relationship between citizens and government, but not necessarily “democracy”). So, the fact that twitter did not lead to democracy in Iran does not mean that social media is not fundamentally changing something.
Morozov crafts stirring invectives at social media proponents. He’s the Captain Haddock of social media criticism. (Although not so far as to characterize cyberenthusiasts as amoeba or protozoa – explicitly. It’s just that they haven’t thought things out. So, just a slightly lower form of homo sapien.)
Get a Horse?
Are we tied to values of the past? My sense is that Morozov sees more value in journalism than social media. More value in books than e-books. Ever since Socrates, who believed that writing destroys memory, every new medium has been criticized as lacking value. Or, like rock and roll, destroying values.
It’s not unusual for someone whose livelihood is predicated on previous media to find fault with the next. We could suggest that Morozov could join the luddites and get off twitter and back to the typewriter. And off the grid. That would be a mistake. The Net Delusion opinionated noise can get in the way of more important questions:
Despite state interventions, is technology power shifting from governments to people as an overall trend? If so, what does this mean for governments?
Is democracy, as we define it today, a vestige of the past? Is the narrative that Russia is not a democracy rather fuzzy logic? Will the relationship between the state and citizens change in the era of social media and transnationalism?
Are private sector actors like Google an extension of national policy? Or, do these organizations operate within unique value systems?
Christoph Schmaltz of the Dachis Group (@christoph) has described what I’ve been trying to get at with some recent blog entries. His July 28 post From traditional business to social businessis essential reading for anyone to understand the business transformation enabled by social media.
My sense is that many business people view social media as another channel. They expect to see traditional metrics to justify social media cost. My view is that social is really a different business model so the old metrics won’t work.
Christoph provides effective contrasts between traditional and social businesses. (And good graphics too.) These contrasts are:
From transaction to interaction
From B2B/B2C to P2P
From gatekeeper to platform provider
From hierarchy to network
Technology and Change
Many observers believe that technology does not fundamentally change society. I’m more in the McLuhan school. For one thing, the four characteristics of the social business where virtually impossible to support in the pre-Internet age and not on a global basis until quite recently.
Multiple interactions between company and customers were at a high cost to both company and customers – the “your call is important to us” phenomena
P2P support and influence networks were difficult to organize in the era of controlled collaborative tools where security, control and compliance restricted flexibility. Also, there was little ability to create self-organized networks of like-minded people outside who were not physically in the same geography.
Supply and information chains required economies of scale because of the cost of information dissemination. Acting as a platform provider gained momentum through the open source movement and the development of social development tools.
Command and control was the most effective means of managing large organizations in the industrial age. Specialization was key. Now, social networking tools enable the network of communications within organizations and supports freer flows.
Big Deal, so you think FreeBalance is a Social Business?
I believe that FreeBalance is one of the new breed of social business as a for profit social enterprise. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that we’ve got this all figured out. Here’s how we are approach the four characteristics:
Engaging customers and domain experts using social media. Yes, we tweet our press releases. More importantly, we interact. My analysis a few months ago is that we tweet more than the combination of the official tweets from the top 6 ERP vendors. (If you imagine the ratio of tweet per $ of revenue, you will see how FreeBalance is a bit of an outlier.) We see these activities as part of our non-virtual activities at public financial management conferences, academic presentations and transparency unconferences.
Extending our learning to social media. We share what we have learned. (As we are doing now.) We listen more than we talk. We also see this as an extension of our non-virtual activities as we produce case studies and articles of how countries have effectively reformed public financial management. Where the use of FreeBalance software might only be incidental to the whole story.
Becoming a platform is more challenging. We’ve leveraged Ning for a Customer Exchange which has had limited impact to date in getting the critical mass we’d hoped for. But, that’s the reality of social networking – it enables change as you learn good practices. We also see this as extending our non-virtual activities, particularly in the FreeBalance International Steering Committee (FISC) where our customers gather to share good practices, brainstorm about PFM trends and revise our product roadmap. We bring in experts in the PFM domain and futurists.
We re-organized in a matrix-network approach that results in more FreeBalance staff exposed directly to customers. We’ve sent product developers to client sites to fix problems. We use collaboration and content management tools in-house and with customers. We’ve got global development integrating product management and product development using mostly open source tools.
How do you justify the ROI of Social Media?
We don’t. Why not? Because we’re a social business. Any tool that enables us to interact better with the PFM domain is worth considering. It is almost impossible to calculate the value of the insight I’ve received from tweets and blog entries that has led to an improved product vision. I’ve engaged people who have explained the why behind the what.
Is social media changing society? Business? Government? Malcolm Gladwell’s New Yorker article, why the revolution will not be tweeted, has spurned an echo chamber. An acoustic meme, battling with social media noise. It’s hard to separate, in McLuhan terms, the figure (what’s important now) from the ground.
Marshall McLuhan studied the effects of media. He saw how a new medium, like the printing press, inevitably led to the nation state. He described how a new medium uses the previous medium as content, such as television using radio programs at first – until, the medium becomes the message. The medium changes which has effects in society. A new medium changes the previous medium.
Social Media Effects
Some important effects that we are seeing in the transition from old media to new media:
Traditional media changed new media/social media: reality television, telephone hacking (News of the World) , opinionated cable news adjusts to compete against the always-on internet. It’s an industrial response to a knowledge economy problem.
Social media disintermediation of organizational structures built from industrialization: political parties, unions and NGOs as seen with the Arab Spring where groups self-organized. Traditional organizations are insufficiently agile in the digital age.
Use of traditional media power becomes ineffective: fighting back against social media (Arab Spring, NewsCorp) information through controlled media makes buffoons out of leaders
Acceleration of transparency and accountability: social media thrives on transparency with emphasis on open government, Facebook, and corporate governance. Information once held tight by organizations is exposed via social media. Media monopolies and state media is losing the information battle.
Change of role of traditional media: industrial media items such as the book have changed roles and are being deployed in digital means. The new medium uses the old medium as content.
Category confusion: traditional categories become confusing as new medium enters the transitional phase like “radio with pictures” “horseless carriage”. Today, it’s “social media journalism” where many claim superiority of traditional journalism over social media authors.
The effects of the printing press, telegraph, radio and television did not occur overnight. Much of the criticism suggesting that social media is not affecting change comes from not seeing the trend.
Social media is in the early stage of transforming society. This transformation is gradual.
Observers see the new medium as a variation of a previous medium and see that this change has limited or no impact because of lack of uptake (automobiles) or uptake by influential groups (Facebook)
Use of the previous medium as content leads some to think that the new medium has no use, no content. It’s natural for European television news to report on newspaper headlines and it’s natural to tweet links to on-line newspapers.
When there is an effect (Arab Spring), experts deny that it had much of an effect.
The nature of the medium comes into effect, changing the visceral connections between humans and the medium.
All media, according to McLuhan, are extensions of Man. Digital media is becoming an extension of the nervous system. So, you are not a gadget, but gadgets are extending you.
Of course, makes perfect sense to contemplate the future of Government by reading books. Irony by Marshall McLuhan standards: resorting to a linear arguments in the mechanical typography world to consider the emerging non-linear digital world.
Understanding Media: The extensions of man, first published in 1964 articulates the clash of media that we see today. The use of the television medium by dictators while citizens leverage Twitter and Facebook demonstrates these effects. Social media represents a “speed up”, is more integral and more participatory than television. It is counter-hierarchical. It reacts faster and in a more organic fashion. McLuhan describes how movable type led to the nation state. How it created the individual and point-of-view. How it created the notion of privacy. So, it’s no wonder that moving to a more integrated “re-tribalized” world will run across privacy concerns.
Failure to perceive the effects, or governing in denial: McLuhan suggested that the changes in media create anxiety but also can dull the senses so the “electric media is also the age of unconscious and apathy.” He pointed out that “a new medium is never an addition to an old one, nor does it leave the old one in peace.” Many observers fail to see the impact of social media in social media. Perhaps they should contemplate how television has “evolved” in response: cable news 24/7 opining, reality programming and Idiocracy-level stunts. Of course, those people whose livelihood is based on old media are more likely to see social media as having negative values. McLuhan pointed out the problem of making “value judgments with fixed reference to the fragmentary perspective of literary culture.”Future: Governments who think that social media will not change the nature of governing have had a recent wake-up call. Governments will evolve from using media as public relations to engagement. This will give governments more credibility.
Fragmentation and specialization crumble: McLuhan described how specialization draws people away from fundamental solutions. Tapscott and Williams provide examples such as in disaster recovery and comment about the “dismantling the culture of the policy expert.” Future: Public servants will engage social networks to solve problems quicker.
Citizen scrutiny and transparency: McLuhan described how the photocopier turns anyone in a publisher. More so with social media. Tapscott and Williams describes the “rise of the citizen regulator. Future: There is no holding back the transparency movement. Transparency will become a competitive differentiator. Politics will be fundamentally changed through data and visualization.
Participatory government enabled: Tapscott and Williams describe how “most governments still reflect industrial age organizational thinking.” McLuhan provides insight in the differences between the industrial and electronic ages, particularly in participation. Haque suggests that “voting is the most brittle kind of democracy, build on the tiniest kind of conversations because it limits a voice to a vote.” Future: Participatory budgeting and participatory policy-making will become commonplace. As will idea hubs.
Sustainability and performance: Tapsott and Williams describes a principle of networked intelligence as “interdependence”. Haque is vocal about the lack of sustainable businesses that draw more resources than value presented. Open data can be used to determine government positive and negative impacts. Future: Government performance management will mature to measure sustainability and the network effect of government actions.