Idea: How to build a Pacific Human Sensor Network

person holding black iphone 4

With all the hype surrounding big data it’s difficult to consider what other alternative approaches there may be to gain insight into what is happening within a society. In government the traditional approach of data collection focuses on survey data or data generated from government information management systems that have been aggregated into a centralised data warehouse. These are then analysed and used for informing policy. The problem is people lie on surveys all the time and operational information management systems only capture a small part of what’s really going on.

Anecdotes and stories are rich in insights. Unfortunately collecting anecdotes using traditional methods doesn’t scale well and people’s biases tend to get in the way during the collection and analysis process. If we could scale the capturing of anecdotes and make sense of it at scale as well as develop a methodology to account for bias it would greatly enhance the sense making ability of policy makers. That’s what I’ll outline below and show you a demonstration of an app to do just that.

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How to Design Government Architectures for Change

bird's-eye view of sitting on bench while discussion

Government information systems in the Pacific are too often ‘built to last’ rather then ‘built for change’, which is the real requirement for them to be.

The traditional approach has been to build very tight vertically integrated systems. This has created unintended ripple effects that cascade across the system whenever a change is made. So what typically should have been a simple update of a business policy, process change or business rules requiring a few hours’ work often times turns into a complex, bureaucratic and code-intensive process that instead takes months of tedious effort to implement. 

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Why Business Models are important for your e-Government initiative

Business Model

A core problem we find with e-Government initiatives in the Pacific is the lack of clearly articulated business models. Well thought out business models ensure that any e-Government or digital transformation initiatives remain sustainable once the initial project funding runs out. To fix this issue we’ve adapted the business model canvas framework from Strategyzer to help people understand what the business model options could be for their e-Government projects. These can then be tested and validated for sustainability during the lifetime of the project.

Strategy Development for e-Government using Wardley Mapping

Cynefin Framework

Before developing an IT Strategy you need to conduct a situational analysis of the the current landscape. An IT situational analysis involves understanding the current technological landscape and mapping out the value chains that will be required for delivering on the strategy.

When working with clients we help them to do this using a technique called wardley mapping.

Modifying the Feasibility Assessment in Business Model Canvas for use in Government Systems

assorted-color interlocking blocks on floor

In this article we discuss how to use the business model canvas to work out whether the system we are implementing makes sense in a government setting. Traditionally the problem with the the Feasibility part of the business model canvas is that it doesn’t work for the typical government department. Note that the Business Model Canvas can be split into 3 major sections:

  • Desirability – does the system deliver enough value that stakeholders will pay for it?
  • Feasibility – can the system be built with the resources available?
  • Viability – once built can the system be sustained from the value its created for stakeholders?

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