January 27, 2010
I really enjoyed Vivek Kundra’s blog last week ‘They Gave Us The Beatles, We Gave Them Data.gov’ as he welcomed the launch of data.gov.uk. He writes, “It is exciting to see the seeds of openness, accountability, and transparency taking root around the world.” So I thought I’d draw attention to some of my favorite international examples of what happens when public servants, “are dedicated to breaking down long standing barriers between governments and the people they serve.”
The Australian Government Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research decided that it was unreasonable for a small business to have to interact separately with dozens of different government agencies before it could legally operate. A new hairdressing business had to first seek approval from 27 agencies for jurisdictional registration, insurance, healthcare, signage, and licenses to play music and serve food (i.e coffee.) before it could legally operate. So Australia created business.gov.au to create a single service in the cloud for business to interact with government. The results were both quantitatively and qualitatively impressive. Listen to Anthony Steve talk about it here.
The London Borough of Southwark struggled to deliver housing benefits to people in need in a timely fashion. By providing more elegant user centric tools to open up process and empower public servants to be accountable to those in need, they reduced the time to benefit from 38 days to 1 day. Listen to Dominic Cain talk about it here.
In 2009, people around the world participated in an open dialogue about international policies and priorities unlike ever before. They did so because the U.S. State Department opened up its public diplomacy to a transparent and collaborative process through its Co.nx program. When U.S. officials spoke, people were invited to listen, question and comment without limitation from their geography, nationality or technical skill. If you’d like to join the dialogue, you can do so here and if you’d like to see pictures of the application that made it possible you can do so here.
Of course all of these examples originated before Open Government became the mantra of a new generation of technologically inspired public servants. But they illustrate that promise can become practice very quickly. And as the British Invasion in 1964 marked the official genesis of ten years of musical innovation, so shall the arrival of fully sanctioned Open Government initiatives like data.gov give rise to innovations in public service. It will be an interesting decade.
February 9, 2009
A new case study has just been published on the use of electronic forms and processes for improving the cancer screening process of Australian citizens.
This case is interesting because the Department of Health and Ageing solution actually uses the shared-services platform provided by the Australian Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (ADIISR) available to all federal agencies and built using Adobe LiveCycle ES. Because of this shared-service infrastructure, the Department of Health and Ageing was able to get their solution rolled out quicker and more cost-efficiently.
Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing
Australian health agency improves cancer screening process, completeness of medical records, and realizes 923% ROI over three years using Adobe LiveCycle ES solutions. You can access the case study here.
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February 2, 2009
When government agencies move services online, they sometimes face the challenge of adoption among citizens. Some citizens just prefer in-person or phone channels. But many citizens may not be aware that they can apply for benefits, file taxes or renew licenses online. Some agencies are getting creative with how they communicate availability of services to citizens.
A great example is the US Social Security Administration.
There are 78 million baby boomers who will soon be eligible for retirement benefits. There are plenty of articles warning us of the financial strain the aging American population will put on our Social Security system. But the lesser covered story is the challenge of enrolling millions of Americans for retirement benefits. SSA officials estimate that 10,000 boomers a day will apply for benefits over the next 20 years. Similar to other agencies who have adopted best practices, applicants can enroll in person, by phone or online – with online being the most cost efficient for the SSA. But many retirees eligible for benefits may never have thought to apply online.
Enter Patty Duke.
January 25, 2009
With the world-wide economic downturn, government is caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to the issue of helping businesses and citizens with tax cuts.
No one disagrees that the public could benefit from tax cuts in these challenging times. Shrinking tax revenues from decreased property values, sales and incomes on one end, and rising demand on social services and benefits at the other end, make tax cuts difficult to conjure up. Some regions, such as California, are even talking about tax hikes in order to control deficits and debt.
However, there are other ways to help which would achieve the same impact as tax cuts; that of lessening the burden of government on citizens and businesses. Where government cannot lend a hand by extending a dollar, it can by lessening time burden of dealing with government.
November 14, 2008
There is a government agency that I know of that is really busy right now and hard to reach. I’ve been wanting to meet with them because I think there is something critical that they need to consider in their latest initiative.
So what is it?
October 29, 2008
I just returned from a whirlwind tour visiting government agencies who face the common challenge: to deliver high quality services in a climate of tight budgets and growing demand.
Technology is often seen as a key component to increasing the efficiency of service delivery by providing ways citizens can self-serve, increasing staff productivity and streamline communication and collaboration.
This all sounds great – so what’s the issue?
September 19, 2008
One of the greatest perks of my role at Adobe is I get to work with and gain insight into some truly innovative things that governments are doing worldwide.
Just a couple of days ago, I was able to catch up with Anthony Steve from the Australian federal government to discuss his upcoming trip to the Adobe Max 2008 conference in San Francisco. He is presenting and sharing the success his agency has had with their electronic forms initiative.
We started working with his team several years ago to transform how services were delivered via their business services portal using Adobe LiveCycle ES.
September 3, 2008
I just came back from the annual APHSA/ISM conference held in San Francisco this year where I had been asked to moderate a session entitled “Technologies for Service Delivery”.
Amidst all the passionate debate about the best ways to provide high quality services to citizens, one thing was clear and everyone agreed – with budgets tightening, head count decreasing and case loads increasing, the challenges to deliver essential social services are immense.
It’s simply overwhelming to try to manage the workload. Many government folks I spoke with were looking for ways to make their jobs easier.
In an equation with little wiggle room, technology can transform challenges into opportunities.
And so, as my session came to a close and the room full of attendees started clamoring to the front, I wondered what I would have said had I been a speaker instead of a moderator.