The critical importance of 'Government as a Platform'

The chap in this video is Tim O'Reilly. I was at this talk (3 years ago). It changed how I think and how I viewed the future of my work. I remember at the time being frustrated by the complexity of changing stuff in Government; and felt the lack of a cogent model for doing things differently. O'Reilly's ideas of Government as a Platform filled the vacuum. I wrote about it with boyish excitement at the time.

It's utterly brilliant this thinking (expressed pretty much in O'Reilly's terms) is finding its way into UK Government. See the Government as a Platform section of the new Government Service Design Manual. Here's the intro...

The government is implementing a platform-based operating model. Google, Amazon, Twitter and Facebook, amongst many others, have all built their success on the back of platforms. They have developed a core technology infrastructure that others have then built upon, driving the success of the platform and meeting far more users’ needs than the original provider could have done on their own.

This is such an important idea. But, although enabled by IT, it is not an IT thing.

It is a way of thinking. A new doctrine.

It offers a way to handle the increasing, swamping complexity that confronts government; but it does mean government not doing everything itself and, crucially, not controlling everything. It means a change of mindset. It means senior folk, traditionally far removed from IT, understanding the new possibilities and fundamentally reframing their approach to the delivery of the services they are responsible for. They should watch this video.

Afternote - October 2014 The head of the UK Civil Service has supported Government as a Platform - see Good news (and a caution) about “Government as a platform”.