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Listen, Participate, Transform.

June 23, 2010

We have just published the second think-piece from the project, called Listen, Participate, Transform. A social media framework for local government. You can download the paper in pdf from our website, or view it on scribd. Any feedback/comments are actively encouraged!

There are already lots of excellent publications around social media and local government, and our intention was to capture their essence in a simple framework that helps local government (or any agency really…) structure their social media activity around. It builds on this excellent social media framework developed by the global media  firm MEC.I won’t go into detail explaining the framework here, but we’ve tried to build upon MEC’s  largely communications orientated framework and go through the implications of using social media i.e.  it’s capacity to transform the way things are done. This stage of the framework is the exploratory bit. The efficiency agenda has brought into sharp focus the need to transform the way local authorities work and social media clearly has a role to play. But the reluctance of many local authorities to wholeheartedly embracing social media means that concrete examples of how social media has led to the redesign, replacement or remodeling of services and approaches to working are hard to come by. We are sure it’s happening in some places and we are sure there will be more examples soon, but if you know of anything that is relevant please do let us know.

There was another great report pertaining to this ‘transformational’ point released yesterday by NESTA. Radical Efficiency argues that rather than just looking for efficiency gains from new suppliers or new resources, it’s possible to get better and cheaper public services by searching for incites from new customers, which are ignored under present systems, and new insights into users. Well worth a read.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 25, 2010 4:27 am

    Very good report. I posted about it on both my consulting business blog and on our community/hyper local blog:

    Your work reinforces the findings of the Citizens League that in many cases of projects involving citizens and public officials, “the quality of the dialogue was more important than the eventual result.”

    Like you, I’ll be interested to hear the success stories of communities where your ideas are being deployed. Hopefully, our town will be among them.

    Griff Wigley
    Northfield, Minnesota USA

    • June 25, 2010 2:34 pm

      Hi Griff,

      Thanks and I am happy the report helps, please do keep in touch as your work progresses. It’s good to hear that we agree on the importance of relational capital; if co-production is going to become more important, the public sector is going to have to take the initiative in developing mutually benefical relationships with citizens.

  2. June 25, 2010 3:09 pm

    Mandeep, do you expect to see faster implementation of the ideas in this report (at the local level) now that the Big Society programme is ramping up with Nat Wei’s involvement?

    • June 25, 2010 5:10 pm

      Hi Griff,

      Big Society is still quite a broad concept (and may remain so), but we do know there will be a focus on community organising and very local community activity. Once this ramps up, it’s safe to predict more local government use of social media- especially if social media is a popular pressure valve for local communities to vent frustrations (which it surely will be). But at the moment, the big driver for local government is the need for efficiency/innovation in response to steep cuts in public finances, with a focus on co-production, social enterprise etc.. all being thought about much more than they have in the past.

  3. July 3, 2010 5:03 am

    Really like the Listen, Participate, Transform model – it fits very nicely with the Listen, Inform, Consult & Involve, and Collaborate & Empower model we used in the online engagement guidelines I was involved with creating for the Australian government’s Gov 2.0 Taskforce, published under a creative commons license here

    You’ll also find a quick overview of this model in these slides

    While these guidelines were focused on federal/national level government agencies, the model itself is applicable at all levels of government. In fact, I’ve been encouraging people in government to rip and remix these guidelines to make them as applicable to their particular needs as possible. Hopefully you might find them useful too.

    • July 5, 2010 3:34 pm

      Hi James,

      thanks for pointing me towards those. The models are very similar and the detail you guys have put into the online engagement framework will be tremendously helpful for us going forward.


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