Monday, January 04, 2010

Gov 2.0 - SeeClickFix

Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist and a customer-service guru, was riding on a public train in San Francisco, California, recently when something common but annoying occurred: The railcar filled with people and became uncomfortably hot.

If the inconvenience had happened a few years ago, Newmark said he would have just gone on with his day -- maybe complaining about the temperature to a friend.

But this was 2009, the age of mobile technology, so Newmark pulled out his iPhone, snapped a photo of the train car and, using an app called "SeeClickFix," zapped an on-the-go complaint, complete with GPS coordinates, straight to City Hall.

"A week or so later I got an e-mail back saying, 'Hey, we know about the problem and we're going to be taking some measures to address it,' " he said.

Something we would never see here or get to work in New Zealand. A government department or local council shouldering responsibility.
Instead of people saying, 'Well, it's the government's job to fix that' ... people are taking ownership and saying, 'Hey, wait a minute. Government is us. We are government. So let's take a responsibility and start changing things ourselves.

About as much chance of John Key getting something like this included in a Super City.
For some cities and for some governments I could understand that transition can be a scary thing, ... But we feel like it makes governments more accountable, and it makes them function better

Room for an entrepreneur here. Unfortunately, each of the councils and government departments will cry foul on compatibility. INCIS, anyone?

With such a program nationwide, I feel that I could easily forward pics of all those potholes on the short road into town to the Tararua Mayor to see if they elicit a response like an actual repair. Some of those potholes
have been repeatedly and annually remarked for repair with white paint for the past decade. The only things that have grown is the number and size of the potholes. Who knows, even the ones opposite her house recently remarked may even get repaired with such an entrepreneurial application.

Anything that makes government function better with a whole lot less of it in my face and wallet is good in my book.

Unfortunately, here in New Zealand, the whitewash is the repair.


ZenTiger said...

Gov 2.0 is something coming to our country faster than you might hope. It's an area I work in, and a very exciting one at that.

The politics of the technology adoption is complex, but so are the forces that make this work, and I have a degree of optimism it will yield good things. I've been meaning to post on this for a while, and you've given me a push.

I'll get around to it.

PM of NZ said...

ZT, therein lies the problem. 'The politics'.

Good to hear it is happening. How hard can it to be put records into a database that maybe hold a picture, some text/description and a geolocation ex GPS? From there it is only a traffic direction exercise - assign responsibility and log outcomes / action.

Easily implemented - the Yanks have already written the program and have it working in the public domain. We certainly do not need so gummint wallah here to design and write a gold-plated INCIS type program doomed to failure from the get-go.

ZenTiger said...

True about the politics, but this is where the bureaucracy that is government becomes as helpful (often inadvertently) as it hinders.

Gov 2.0 is much more than a database to direct traffic too, as you probably realise, and there are some interesting things happening across the spectrum.

I'll try to dig up links to explain.