For the past two Decembers I have been given the privilege of attending the Cisco Public Services Summit in Stockholm and Oslo — this brings together public service leaders, both politicians and officials, from every area of the public sector and from every part of the world. It is a simply tremendous and hugely stimulating event, an opinion I came to long before I had any notion of ever working for Cisco.
The Summit is held to coincide with the award of the Nobel Peace Prize and culminates with all the delegates travelling by chartered train from Stockholm, through wonderful Scandinavian winter landscapes, to attend the Peace Prize Concert in Oslo. For various reasons I was not able to attend this year. The upside of not being able to go was that I did not have to listen to Kylie Minogue trying to sing in tune with the help of digital technology; but the downside was that I missed the chance to meet and to listen to David Weinberger again — nor, unfortunately, did I get to hear Al Gore’s speech at the Peace Concert, nor did I hear Scottish singer and songwriter KT Tunstall play (without digital technology to keep herself in tune).
An interview with Mr Miscellaneous has already been uploaded to YouTube, a link I got courtesy of the Connected Republic 2.0 site. In the interview, David is asked whether the public sector can learn anything from consumer trends involving Web 2.0 at the present time. A thoughtful answer as ever from him:
“We are getting trained as citizens by our experiences as customers on the Web — we have come on the web to expect a great deal of transparency and frankness and a lowering of the rhetorical barrage from companies — certainly we want that from Government as well.
The frankness of the discussion amongst customers as we talk about the products we have bought are not only generally more truthful, they are also more fun!
We engage in these conversations because these are things we care about. We also care a lot about not just the things we buy but about who we are as citizens, the rights that we have, the obligations that we expect — those are objects of great interest and passion as well.”
I wonder how many politicians would understand the meaning of ‘rhetorical baggage’?
David has interesting views too on political campaigning, based on his experiences as an adviser to the Howard Dean nomination campaign in 2003/04. It’s all about ‘lateral connections’ and not about ‘selling soap’.…..