Governments Get Creative

June 21, 2011 By Aminda

The news that Iceland is crowdsourcing its constitution has made headlines around the globe this month, from the gossip blogs to the biggest global newspapers. A previous post on this site shared a video from a panel of young Icelandic leaders who have been working on the project since 2009.

Along with this news, many writers are digging up or republishing other stories on how governments are creatively using technology to evolve traditional ways of government communication and decision making.A writer on emerging technology-focused site Memeburn, compiled three interesting case studies. In addition to the Iceland constitution was the story of current Nigerian president who announced his candidacy on Facebook last year. He continues to maintain an active account, using it to discuss the Nigerian government’s actions and policies.

Then there was the state of the nation address given earlier this year by South African President Jacob Zuma, during which he addressed pre-solicited questions from social media platforms, turning his state of the nation address into an online event.

There are even efforts to enlist the power of the crowd on a larger scale. The Center for Global Policy, a political think tank, is enlisting input into the desired leadership qualities of the next leader of the International Monetary Fund. An online survey asks participants to provide input on the selection process, the desired qualifications, and perceptions of the qualifications of 15 possible candidates. While there is no guarantee that the survey results will be considered by the selection committee, the survey is designed to communicate the need for change in what is considered by many to be an archaic, discriminatory selection process.

And though lack of a randomized sample makes the results statistically invalid, researchers at the CGP will analyze the results and explore potential lessons for future leadership selection at international institutions in areas such as candidate identification, selection criteria and preference weightings.

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