Reflections from Gov 2.0 Expo 2010, Washington DC

Friday, May 28th, 2010 @ 12:49AM

Update: Please also see my speech notes for what I covered in my keynote speech and the Australian panel discussions. Also please see Minister Tanner’s blog post where he supported me going to the Gov 2.0 Expo as the “Australian ambassador promoting the Government’s commitment to Gov 2.0 and our achievements thus far”.

Update 2: Feedback from community/media added at the bottom of the post.

Update 3: Link to C-SPAN interview with Senator Lundy, the founder & CEO of O’Reilly Media Tim O’Reilly and the California Office of the Chief Information Officer Carolyn Lawson.

Well it has been an amazing couple of days in Washington DC. Tim O’Reilly and the Gov2.0 Expo 2010 have drawn together a remarkable group of people to share their Gov2.0 experiences. I have met people from all over the US, UK, Canada and Brazil.

I am beginning the long journey home this evening, so it’s my final day at the conference.

It’s been terrific being able to relay the progress we are making in Australia, particularly the high level political leadership and commitment from Minister Tanner and Minister Ludwig right through to the clever Gov2.0 initiatives that are providing inspiration both at home and abroad.

There has been particular interest in the Gov2.0 taskforce Report and the positive Government response so it was wonderful to have Dr Nicholas Gruen, chair of that wonderful taskforce here too.

Pat McCormick, Manage of Digital Engagement in the Victorian State Govt Department of Justice and Dr Mark Elliot, Collabforge, both based in Melbourne also formed part of the “lessons from downunder” panel session. Their insights and experience helped paint a wider picture of the Australia and the important role being played by the states.

I was honoured to share the platform with Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the world wide web. Reading his CV is like reading a history of the internet as we know it.  His presentation focussed on open, linked data for a global community.

Tim O’Reilly focussed his on Government as a platform for Greatness at the opening session of the Keynotes on the second day. He was inspiring and I am continually impressed with the way his media organisation emphasises the importance of the collaboration between the public and tech sectors to drive Gov2.0 forward.

The whole conference is a reminder of how fortunate we are (as mature democracies) to have such committed and clever public servants working within our bureaucracies to make the world a better place and to make interacting with Government a better experience.

Equally impressive is the interest and dedication of the tech community to working with and within the public sector to innovate, share and implement really big new concepts and ideas. This collaboration is the key to the rapid pace of change that is occurring.

The  goodwill emanating from these sessions is palpable as people share their ideas and inspire each other with their efforts.  This goodwill and the ability to effectively collaborate will ensure the success of the Gov2.0 agenda in broad terms. The benefits reaped by agencies that have turned a corner on their attitude to citizen engagement, open data and leveraging social media on show will help bring more across the line.

I know governments are sick of being ripped off by expensive, ineffective ICT solutions that constrain policy and program implementation, inhibit or prevent innovation and turn what should be nimble responsive public agencies into slow dinosaurs.

New models of open, interoperable systems and applications therefore underpin the Gov2.0 agenda and getting these fundamentals right will be a key determinant of the pace of real change.  I have talked about the technical standards issues before so won’t go into them again, suffice to say the Gov2.0 taskforce listed a whole range of actual things that the government has, fortunately, committed to.

I loved the fact that there are so many incredible projects happening everywhere and that everyone is willing to share. The quality of presentations at the Expo is fantastic. The vast majority are on open platforms and many use tools that already exist in the cloud, making it easy to adapt them to your home town, region, state or country.

This discussion about governments using tools that are already in the cloud compared to making new ones is lively. I am certainly of the view that citizens have already chosen their platforms of choice in social media, so to effectively engage as their representatives, we need to go where they are.

I was really pleased to have the Australian Showcase up and running for the Expo because it was the right time to promote and share our own progress.

I was also really pleased to describe the progress to date with  This wonderful innovation allows citizens to share as much or as little personal information and have delivered back to the relevant govt service information for their location and circumstance.

I am particularly interested in applications that invite citizens to participate. There is enormous goodwill in the community to help make the world a better place and the freedom of the internet and the scalable nature of web apps means that with the right projects, ie ones which make a tangible improvement to our community, environment or life experience, have a huge potential.

There are so many things happening that I also wanted to post a further list of great Gov2.0 initiatives in Australia, some of which are Government and some community.

Additional Examples of what is happening in Australia….

  • The Nationa Library of Australia is running a digitisation project for newspapers out of copyright. They papers are scanned but predictably the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software has errors. As a result, a massive online volunteer human resource spontaneously emerged to correct these lines of text: crowd sourcing for the public good at it’s best! Here are the links to the project and a pdf of the crowdsourcing aspect of this remarkable project.

  • Australia’s rapidly growing repository of publicly released government data sets:

  • In the most recent Federal Budget, the Australian Government allocated AU$466 milion to the implementation of the National electronic health record.  I am really keen to get feedback from other countries working in this area of public policy. It’s huge and we have to get it right. Here are the links to the agency delivering the initiative and the budget announcement of  funding for the implementation.

  • My School is a new tool providing parents with a new way to plan their child’s education. The implementation has been controversial as far as concern by teachers that the data on the web site may be used to create ‘league table’ of school performance. The initiative is an important example of government releasing information that informs policy development and direction into the public domain. This transparency in turn empowers parents to arm themselves with the facts about schools in their area.

  • The success of the Australian Stimulus Package to ward of the recession is renowned. This web site allows citizens to track the stimulus package funded projects in their communities using geo-locationally enabled searches.

  • Open Australia in a community rather than government initative, but I love it and it has inspired some serious rethinking about how we depict the parliament and its processes online. It offers new and interesting ways to rate and measure the performance of your elected representatives, so a new form accountability.

  • TweetMP is another community initiative that monitors the participation by Australian Senators and MPs on Twitter. You can measure by party, state etc. It’s also handy for discerning fake accounts.

  • Got Gastro? is a cute mashup of where people have had bad eating experiences…..

  • LobbyLens was the winner of the Gov 2.0 Taskforce report mashup competition. This comp was held on the ANU campus (which was great, ‘cos Canberra’s my home town and I was able to get along and see how things were shaping up….)  It shines a spotlight in lobbying efforts in relation to decisions made by government.

  • The ABC is Australia’s publicly funded national broadcaster. I think they are also the most nimble and innovative multimedia organisation in Australia. ABC Open is a project that crowd-sources local content in our regions. It provides funds for producers in each region to facilitate the ‘crowds’ efforts.

  • The Powerhouse Museum’s decision to place their images on flickr we think is a first. A great example of not reinventing the wheel and leverageing what’s in the cloud for a great result.

  • The Australian National Archives ‘Xena’ is worth mentioning just because of it demonstrated the power and usefulness of OSS to government. This link takes you to a summary of Xena hosted by ASK-OSS, the Australian Govt’s OSS resource.

  • Again, a little left field in this list of examples but I love a good search engine. The National Library’s new search engine Trove brings together search facilities for whole heap of cultural collections in Australia.



Update from the office:

We just wanted to capture in this post all the great tweet, media and blog feedback about the Senator’s participation at the Gov 2.0 Expo in one place. Please see below.

Keynote video posted at and the two talk details along with community feedback are at and

Official photos:



Overviews, media and links mentioning Kate from the event:

Over 240 tweets to @katelundy were posted whilst people listened to her keynote and panel talks. The response was overwhelmingly supportive, and it resulted in a good peak in website traffic over the days of the conference.

Senator Lundy was referenced in the top 33 tweets of the first day:

@thornley: My favourite #g2e day 1 moment: @KateLundy & @david_tallan quoting passages from Neal Stephenson’s (expand) early books.

And twice on the second day:

@digiphile: “Old model of the ballot box shifting to online models that empower citizens to continually engage & collaborate with them”-@KateLundy #g2e

@dominiccampbell: “Governments that don’t reflect the digital world of their citizens cannot represent them” – @KateLundy #g2e

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