Tag: Will Perrin

Iraq, Clay Shirky, Court Reporting, Post Codes API. My links July 5th through July 10th

These are some of the things I’ve been reading recently:

  • Ernest Marples’ Postcode Latitude/Longitude Lookup API – Post codes are really useful, but the powers that be keep them closed unless you have loads of money to pay for them. Which makes it hard to build useful websites (and that makes Ernest sad). So we are setting them free and using them to run PlanningAlerts.com and Jobcentre Pro Plus. We’re doing the same as everyone’s being doing for years, but just being open about it.
  • PA ‘public service reporting’ pilot set for launch | Media | guardian.co.uk – “The Press Association is to launch a “public service reporting” pilot project later in the year aimed at replacing the dwindling news coverage given to meetings of public bodies in the local and regional press” hen I started in journalism this was core, not a peripheral part of the job.
  • Living with rats – Nobody has heard of Clay Shirky – “Out of around 40 council officers there, four had heard of the Digital Britain report. Three had heard of Charlie Leadbeater, one of the keynote speakers at Monday’s bash. As for Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody and every aspiring social media guru’s guru, he drew a blank. (There’s a link to one of his talks here, if you’re interested).”
  • 100 hours this summer – “Here’s my challenge. Right now, put aside 100 hours over this summer. Do it right now, in your head. Put that time aside. 100 hours. 8 hours a week for the next 12 weeks. One hour a day, or one working day a week. It’s one summer out of your entire life, it’s nothing. Okay, you’ve got that 100 hours? Now for the next two days, go to talks and start conversations with people you don’t know, and choose what to spend your 100 hours on. I guarantee that everyone in this room can produce something or has some special skill, and maybe they’re not even aware of it.”
  • The Generation M Manifesto – Umair Haque – HarvardBusiness.org – “You sacrificed the meaningful for the material: you sold out the very things that made us great for trivial gewgaws, trinkets, and gadgets. We’re not for sale: we’re learning to once again do what is meaningful. There’s a tectonic shift rocking the social, political, and economic landscape. The last two points above are what express it most concisely. I hate labels, but I’m going to employ a flawed, imperfect one: Generation “M.” What do the “M”s in Generation M stand for? The first is for a movement. It’s a little bit about age — but mostly about a growing number of people who are acting very differently. They are doing meaningful stuff that matters the most. Those are the second, third, and fourth “M”s.”
  • Will Perrin : An open, digital Iraq inquiry: “The inquiry should assume that interesting things will be done with the information they publish off their website by independents.” A really thorough explanation from Will Perrin about how the UK Government Iraq Enquiry could use the web and meta data in important ways.

Blackhall is the new Whitehall – rapid development of government policy.

Whitehall by Rick Lewis on Flickr - click to see original
Whitehall by Rick Lewis on Flickr - click to see original

Will Perrin has a knack of helping people understand how the web is changing government. Today he publishes what was until now a private paper on how Whitehall can be transformed.

In Transforming the way we work – from Whitehall to Blackhall he writes about an alternative Whitehall, one that embraces how the web can accelerate change:

The leaders of Blackhall have changed a predominantly ‘need to know’ culture to one underpinned by a ‘need to share’.  They have begun to change the business model from a paper process base to a knowledge based model.   There is far more permeability in Blackhall between government Departments, the wider public sector, the third sector, stakeholders, citizens and business. Policy formation in Blackhall takes weeks or months, rather than months or years, involving more people to create better outcomes with less effort. Officials share knowledge with others across government and with those outside government such as the third sector, font line workers and managers. This is enabled by a pervasive Blackhall electronic working environment. Officials publish information from their screens that can be read by anyone connected to the GSI and selected people outside it, without using email.  The majority of work in Blackhall is published internally so that colleagues can find it using search in the same way they google for information on the internet. A Blackhall working environment would be electronic, pervasive, accessible from wherever you are in the UK and in many cases overseas.  Implicit in this is a standard ability to work on the move with any laptop, blackberry or internet connection.

He continues with what needs to change.

The difference between Whitehall and Blackhall is a managerial determination to make it happen. It might sound difficult to get a multi-hundred year old monopoly to change.  But the civil servants themselves are changing outside the workplace as they use Easyjet, Gmail, Facebook and instant messaging in their private lives.  When they get to work they slip back into an earlier era because the tools aren’t there.

These are his slides from the presentation he gave of these ideas a year ago.

They include compelling illustrations of how little Whitehall has changed communication conventions, regardless of changes in technology. How much is this like the place where you work?  How easy will it be to change from Whitehall to Blackhall.