The Gov 2.0 Expo last month provided a wealth of knowledge about how governments can actually be transformed to serve as platforms. What I found interesting about the Expo -- I was not present, just following from a distance - was this sense of a huge social experiment under way. An experiment that has global implications. A lot of the themes presented were very inspiring, like Think Tank from the Expert Labs. Palantir is an interesting "information infrastructure" technology demonstrating the power of open data (data.gov and similar national data infrastructures).
These infrastructures and the apps that they are driving ought to get us rethinking how our societies function. O'Reilly says the Web 2.0 is not the redesign of the web, but stripping down the web to its essential core, similarly so for Government 2.0. Read and comment Tim O'Reilly's book Government as a platform. My comments hovered around Society 2.0 -- not a redesign of society, but getting back to basics for a more engaging and participative society.
From Expo, I found Tim's conversation with Federal CTO Aneesh Chopra very interesting. It's not that the views or ideas are so very radical or innovative. It's the fact that they are executing to a vision. A vision built on the potential of mass collaboration, tranparency and participation. The core of this vision in driven by something called the Open Government Directive. Simple stuff, not rocket science -- what impresses me is the execution -- and potentially world changing. Ten years from now we will be wondering how we functioned as a society without transparency, collaboration and participation.
See this very rich review of Expo.