Jun 4, 2011 - Podcast    No Comments

Opening the Black Box of Bureaucracy

This model of government we’ve had for hundreds of years in which it’s assumed that the expertise lay within the bureaucracy and that only from time to time would you have to engage with external stakeholders or experts from the scientific community; that assumption no longer really holds. In fact, government might not have a choice but to tap into the collective expertise. It achieves the goals of most governments which is good policies, good programs at a low cost that serves some public good.

This quote from the episodes’ interview with Amanda Clarke raises the issue that there are two cultural narratives coming to a head. On one hand, the institution of government which holds the idea of the nation state and the location you live as the driving factor in how your interests are represented in making policy. On the other hand, there is the  crowdsourcing, wiki-centric world of the web where what you know and what your interests are more important and truly participatory democracy seems like a step in the right direction.

How can we reconcile these two approaches? Find out as we open up the Black Box of Bureaucracy and cover such topics as:

  • Voting – An essential act of citizenship or quadrennial token activity?
  • Which would be better: electoral reform or a more open, participatory policy process?
  • Political motivations to change towards a more open government
  • How to to address apathy and renew interest in democracy
  • How to build better policies and efficient programs by engagingcitizens.
  • Clay Shirkey – Institutions vs Collaboration
  • The wisdom / danger of crowds (example: Prop 8)
  • Representative democracy = elite group of decision makers for a population of plebeians writ large?
  • “Good policy is made thru open engagement with those who have an expertise in that issue”
    Bill Dutton –  Director of Oxford Internet Institute
  • Open Media / Stop the Meter – Engaged citizen led initiatives for policy change
  • Are gov (suppliers of policy) listening to the demands of the market (citizens ) ?
  • Methods for online advocacy groups to contribute meaningful engagement in forming policy
  • What is smarter government and what are the barriers / benefits to making it happen?
  • Do-ocracy – “an organizational structure in which individuals choose roles and tasks for themselves and execute them. Responsibilities attach to people who do the work, rather than elected or selected officials.”
  • Can we create a technocratic policy/plan for long-term sustainable economy for Canada?
  • Transparency and hiding behind the veil of secrecy
  • What is the wikiality and why should government care?
  • Herding cats
  • Jump 225 Trilogy by David Louis Edelman: A sci-fi example of alternate form of bureaucracy that promotes non-institutional models of citizen engagement.

Music Notes

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