I was one of the judges at Young Rewired State this weekend. The event brought some 50 15-18 year olds together to work on taking public sector data and websites and making it relevant to them.
I was not quite sure what to expect. I cannot remember anything about being 15, and the world has changed greatly since then. This “fire” stuff for one.
What I was presented with (often expertly) was a range of exciting and occassionally transformational projects. You can find a list of all the projects here.
Whilst there was a vast amount to digest, after much thought three things in particular stand out for me about Young Rewired State.
The Reflecting Surface
What would happen if we were to hold a State Rewired State event? That is, what if we were to get a group of frontline staff, users, internal and external geeks, suppliers and data owners together for a 2 day event looking at say education or benefits? Would this help trigger internal innovation, build bridges between various communities and identify some quick wins?
Internal hackdays have been used by a number of organizations in the past, based on informal feedback there seems to be a real appetite for doing something along these lines in my daytime world. So time for me to talk to my CIO Council colleagues.
“Let their hand go for it, grasp it”
How do these ideas get taken forward? At least one of them struck me as having real value and being an interesting thing to build on. So how do we do that? Do we leave it to the VC’s and angels or do we intervene, and if so how?
We are at the very start of the mashup process. Some of the entries were blindingly obvious in retrospect but the fact that no one had done it before was a very sobering realisation.
It is also clear that we have yet to think through the implications of mashups. Perhaps surprisingly for a CIO, I am very uncomfortable with the cybernetic theory of government, that somehow perfect information will allow perfect decision making.
That was one of the reasons why Blog-o-tics was so interesting to me, the idea of being able to gauge views on policy initiatives at a glance is very appealing, but how do we avoid ending up here?
Anyway, looking forward to the next round of Rewired State and discussing next steps with the CIO Council next month.
Brilliant idea. Why didn’t anyone think about doing it before? Absolutely right, internal hack days generate massive benefits.
Oddly, when I went to comment on this post, my daughter’s contact details were logged already – Jess Mulqueeny with her *pick graffiti* tag, my computer might be telling me something – or she is following your blog (aged 11).
Interested to read your views, Mark. I think that the time for hectoring is over, and action is the most productive way of showing how things can be done. Also how things should not be done – but the beauty of Rewired State is that it somehow creates an environment where great stuff happens, there is no animosity, and even the greatest naysayers are silenced; therefore no one feels uncomfortable and everyone takes a little bit of knowledge away and hopefully applies it to their work – from both sides.
I love the State Rewired State idea. I quake at the thought of organising such a thing – but that should not mean we don’t have a go.
Let us know how the CIO Council react.