Parliament HouseThe term “Government 2.0” (Gov 2.0 for short) has been around for a few years now and grew out of the Web 2.0 movement which is all about amplifying the Web’s inherent capacity for openness, participation, self-organisation, decentralisation, group-forming and network-enabled collaboration.

Gov 2.0 is about applying these Web 2.0 principles to the planning, management and delivery of government services by utilising blogs, wikis and social media to catalyse more participatory forms of democracy that can in turn facilitate stakeholder engagement, community consultation and citizen innovation.

Collabforge is at the forefront of the Gov 2.0 wave at both a strategic and IT development level through the successful delivery of exciting public sector projects like the Future Melbourne wiki (City of Melbourne) and the wePlan Alpine site (Parks Victoria) which extend our clients capacities for internal collaboration and community consultation.

The wider implementation of Gov 2.0 has received serious consideration and gained prominence only recently through President Obama’s ‘Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government’ which calls on his Chief Technology Officer to develop an ‘Open Government Directive’ to implement the principles set forth in this Memorandum:

My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.

23 US Federal Government Agencies and staff gathered at the end of March in Washington D.C. at a conference convened by AmericaSpeaks, Demos, Harvard’s Ash Institute, and others to discuss how to make Open Government a reality and their 51-page Champions of Participation report (PDF) can be downloaded here.

Around the same time that this was taking place, a range of practitioners and public servants organised the first US Gov 2.0 Camp which drew hundreds of people in government and industry from across the country to Washington D.C. Australia is getting ready to host its own Gov 2.0 Camp in Canberra and those interested in learning more can take part in the planning conversations going on at the Google Group here or join the Gov 2.0 Australia social network that I created on Ning.

There’s plenty of interest in Gov 2.0 and for good reason as it offers the potential for more open, participatory and collaborative forms of public engagement. In related developments Collabforge Director Mark Elliott is about to head over to the US as an invited speaker to the City Planning, City Engagement and the Internet conference being hosted at Princeton University. Stay tuned for Mark’s blog and Twitter reports to be posted here. Good luck Mark – looking forward to learning more about what’s happening over there!

Image courtesy of Chad Dunbar – thanks Chad!

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