About Civil Servant 2.0 and Pleio (Government Square)
1. Civil Servant 2.0 is a Dutch network for civil servants and civilians to discuss the effect that web 2.0 has on government and the public sector and to support initiatives and experiments to improve the successive workings and the work of the Dutch government. The network now has some 10.000 members. Read more about the network below.
2. The network was founded by Davied van Berlo. Davied has written two books about the impact of web 2.0 on government (both translated in English) and has just finished his latest book about the role of government in the network society. Read more about Davied's books and his views below or visit his site at www.davied.nl
3. Pleio is a governmentwide platform for collaboration within and between government organisation and with citizens. Currently the platform hosts about 700 collaboration and participation sites and intranets and has over 60,000 users. Read more about Pleio (Government Square) below or visit this page
Civil Servant 2.0 is a platform and network for civil servants and civilians to discuss the effect that web 2.0 has on government and the public sector. The changes that web 2.0 brings will not only affect the relationship between citizens and government, but also the internal structure of governmental organizations and the way civil servants work.
The role of the Civil Servant 2.0 platform and network is to create awareness and alert civil servants to these changes and possibilities, to discuss them and to stimulate pilot experiments in order to implement the ideas. By sharing these experiences and supporting initiatives we hope to improve the successive workings and the work of the Dutch government. The ultimate goal is to optimize (online) public service for Dutch society.
Civil Servant 2.0 is mostly run on a voluntary basis by civil servants and others who are committed to improving government with the tools and mindset of web 2.0. For this we make use of free online software to share knowledge and ideas and collaborate on new plans.
2. About the new book: "We, the government. Cocreation in the network society"
Davied van Berlo has published a new book about the role of government in the network society. It has not yet been published in English (sponsors are welcome to contact me) but can be downloaded in Dutch at boek.ambtenaar20.nl.
"The network society. Everybody's talking about it, but what does it really mean? What effect does the networking age in society have on government? The public good is no longer just a government issue but a cocreation between government and society. However, what will this collaboration look like and will we be able to execute political goals in such a networked society?
In his third book Davied van Berlo, writer of Civil Servant 2.0 and Civil Servant 2.0 beta, explores the role of government in the network society. "We, the government" gives a new perspective on the working of government and offers civil servants and public officials a hand in shaping their new role in society."
Davied presenting his new book
Davied has used parts of his new book in the presentation he gave to the Dutch chapter of the Internet Society, see the video. Below the video an english version of the Prezi is available.
Unfortunately "We, the government" is not translated into English yet. Please contact me if you are interested in helping me get the book translated!
3. Some questions and answers about Civil Servant 2.0 and Pleio
1. What led you to create the site and how many users does it have?
I noticed (back in 2007) how people were coming together online and discussing issues in society on social networking sites and forums. I wondered, if people were gathering and organising themselves over the internet, what would that mean for government? How should government react to this development? And how should we as civil servants change to stay connected and use these online tools to improve our own way of working? I started the Civil Servant 2.0 network to get people together to discuss this issue. Currently the network has about 7000 members in the Netherlands and Belgium.
2. How long has the site been around for and what impact has it had on the government sector?
The blog started in February 2008, the networking site followed in June (same as Govloop by the way). People from all levels of government have since joined and through the network ideas have been shared and members have been empowered to put the government 2.0 transformation on the agenda in their own organisations. I think Civil Servant 2.0 has had a huge impact in creating awareness about the 2.0 change and this has lead to changes in government as well. However, there has not been an official Gov 2.0 Taskforce or report. It's still very much a bottom up movement.
3. What kinds of conversations have been the most common on the site?
There is some talk about tools (Yammer, iPad, etc.), but the majority of discussions are about how to behave as an civil servant online (most of the time the answer is: be professional and don't be stupid). Another big issue is organisational change, working from outside the office, new managerial styles (leadership 2.0) and result based management. And of course how to connect to society: webcare (helping people online), e-participation, crowdsourcing and all the way to transparancy and open data. Sometimes people will write a blog, but you can also ask questions, organise meetings (open coffee), etc.
4. What trends are you seeing emerge in the Gov 2.0 space?
When I started out in 2008 the main discussion was whether or not there would be a change for government. Now it's about what that change looks like and how to act upon it. In nearly every part of the government professionals are looking at what these changes mean for them: webcare in public services, crowdsourcing in policymaking, policemen using Twitter, etc. The wave of civil servants using online tools in their work is unstoppable and there are a lot of social media courses being held in government organisations. In connection with a movement called The New Way of Working this is changing how and where civil servants do their work and how government is organised. And we're only at the beginning of all these changes ...
For my long term view of trends, see the second book, chapter 3.
5. Are any of your users Australian? If so, how many and what kinds of topics are they discussing?
The Civil Servant 2.0 network is open to everyone who's interested in government 2.0, but it's in Dutch so we have mainly Dutch and Flemish members. However I keep a keen eye on developments in Australia. I have written a number of blogs and your Gov 2.0 initiative us featured in my books. There's a lot we can learn from each other!
6. What's coming up next on your IT agenda?
We've been using Ning for the Civil Servant 2.0 network. However, we want to make it easy for every civil servant to start their own group and collaborate with people from inside government or invite people from outside. That's why we've started our own online tool, called Pleio (Government Square), so we can provide everyone with a free and safe tool (all data is stored in the Netherlands) to work online. By doing so we create a platform for government 2.0 to take shape. Government organisations can also use Pleio as their intranet or to build their internet sites with, so they're no longer locked into their ict silos. I think this is really a momentous change!
For more information about Pleio (Government Square), please visit this page.