The Internet Will Make Governments Unrecognizable


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The Internet will make our current notions of government unrecognizable as we move from leadership and management to collaboration and stewardship

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The Internet Will Make Governments Unrecognizable

  1. 1. ICTs Will Make Governments Unrecognizable by Today's Standards Christopher Wilson Senior Research Fellow Centre on Governance University of Ottawa
  2. 2. How is technology changing the landscape of governance & governments? • Connecting more people • Increasing transparency • Creating more knowledge but also democratizing knowledge • Creating more opportunities for self-organization & collaboration • Facilitating greater access to more resources • Creating more value • Creating more communities • Increasing the self sufficiency of citizenry
  3. 3. What happens to leadership if followers won’t follow?
  4. 4. The Leadership Bargain • Leaders are created by followers • Followers will follow iff the leader is perceived as ethical and effective – Might, right or charisma no longer justifies leadership – People want to follow but only if they believe the integrity and competence of a leader will help them get what they need – However, the distinction between leaders & followers is continuously being eroded -- generating at times disloyalty and even active resistance – No followers >> no leader
  5. 5. Questions If people can self organize using the internet to produce collective goods and services -- think MOOCs in education -what will be the new role of government?
  6. 6. Questions If we can finally give up on the notion that perfect privacy is neither technically feasible nor socially desirable, then how can we protect ourselves against the harms that may befall us from individuals, organizations and governments who try to use technology while remaining anonymous?
  7. 7. Questions If we democratize knowledge and enable everyone with very sophisticated technology, how can we protect ourselves from those very few disturbed individuals who just want to do others harm simply because they can?
  8. 8. Questions In a fully transparent multistakeholder world, can we finally move on to an accountability framework that's about learning instead of the current one of blaming and shaming?
  9. 9. Questions Can we finally recognize that democracy is a mechanism for the shared ownership of all citizens and not some modern version of entitled aristocracy?
  10. 10. Questions Since we are all connected, can we reorganize our public sector around scalable learning rather than avoiding waste (which it does very badly at any rate)?
  11. 11. Deeper Questions Maybe the question to ask is, what is the most ideal form of social coordination that we can imagine, use the technology to help create it and then call that government.
  12. 12. Where to go from here? Any one of these notions would be totally transformative for a modern government, but technology is pushing all of them onto public consciousness at once. Since we can't count on leaders who are not in control of all the necessary levers of resources, knowledge or power and who are also wedded to the status quo, what processes might be put in place to facilitate the needed transitions? If you can’t rely on leaders, then what?
  13. 13. The notion of leadership was for a different era. It’s time to retire it.
  14. 14. Leadership is a mechanism of social coordination …and increases the groups’ capacity for specialization and coordinated activity One that can transform random groupings into ordered social structures
  15. 15. But Leadership has Fallen into Disrepute Parliament is a Sham Contempt for the The entire “leadership- Macleans class” is “fundament-whole institution The Senate is the Washington is ally self-dealing” [of the Senate] – could have backwater of “a dogNew York Times run GE” – - Macleans the GE Suicidal - GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt of his US government The $50B leadership - Newsweek US CEOs have done more to US Nearly predecessor Jackis a “fraud”pillar of – doneYorkerto HSBC CEOs have New more industry “Welch every execs apologize for In over 40 years, the hurt American society hasthe economy than Only 9% oflaundering money for Al Canadians -industry has "Trust Barbara Kellerman, leadership 2013 global itself to be – even more than The revealed anyone else have confidence findsthe trust that Qaeda and drug cartels made no meaningfulsurvey, the President or Congress Barometer" or Harvard as corrupt, incompetent, – – Fox News measurableFederal government canclimb,The Star improvement Time to in institutions continues or both” -problems both address in human condition.their only 18% of respondents trusted - Nanos - The End of Leadership and business leaders, Research government leaders scored only 13%. - The Economist
  16. 16. What is Leadership? • What it should be – “bringing people together to make something different happen.” - Harland Cleveland – A way for followers to coordinate their individual activities to produce value-adding, collective outputs through structures of hierarchies, clans, markets, & networks • What it’s become – a romanticized myth, a cult of personalities who are seen to be intrinsically special, different from followers & capable of saving us from ourselves. – the accepted avenue for obtaining additional perks and benefits, but susceptible to people later exposed as weak, liars, foolish, inept, corrupt, vain, lazy, demagogues, selfish and just plain crooks – A $50 billion industry that in 40 years has produced no evidence that it has produced any ‘better’ leaders, mitigated the effects of ‘bad’ leaders or contributed to the betterment of human society – an excuse for not adapting to environments where no one is or can be ‘in charge’
  17. 17. Warning! Leadership can be harmful to your organization Rob Ford – Aboriginal Affairs US Congressman CEO of Ottawa’s Mayor Intergovernmental drunken stupor, Minister John Anthony Weiner “America’s O'Brien charged Affairs minister cocaine user, DUI, involved in Duncan resigns Most Innovative with bribery resigns over associates w/ Sarkozy under sexting scandal over ethics Company”, criminals, investigation for illicit campaign funding violations Enron irregularities. Award winning threatens campaign financing PennState coach colleagues, the convicted serial uncivil man FIFA President, Three ex-Nortel child molester, João Havelange & executives Wachovia CEO school president other top officials charged Thompson linked receive millions in Lance Armstrongforced to resign Former Italian PM, to $378B in Jimmy Cayne, bribes Berlusconi, addresses Global Silvio money laundering Chairman & CEO Leadership Forum sentenced to 1 year prior to bank’s of Bear Stearns, in jail collapseSenators Mike in 2008 “worst CEO of Richard Fuld, CEO Duffy, Mac Harb, all time - Gilles Laval Mayor CNBC of Lehman Patrick Brazeau, I found Mr. Mulroney’s Vaillancourt Brothers, leads & Pamela Wallinex-SNC-Lavalin evidence to be not charged with his company to investigated for CEO Pierre worthy of any credence gangsterism $639B bankruptcy financial Duhaime arrested – Judge Oliphant for fraud improprieties
  18. 18. Collaboration Diminshes Leadership • But even ethical leaders are in disrepute because they are increasingly ineffective due to issues of complexity and the distribution of knowledge, resources and power… • The Result: Fewer Canadians have confidence that our leaders can address the concerns that matter to them most – eg. Issues like health care, jobs, education, environment & climate change, first nations, aging population, social programs, living standards & balanced budgets • Why? Because these ‘wicked’ problems take more people, more perspectives, more and different resources, and multiple sources of power & authority to resolve. Citizens don’t believe governments can work with others - Policy Options
  19. 19. Followers Create Leaders (but increasingly followers won't follow) Leaders without Followers - The Economist Idle No More protests beyond control of chiefs “public servants [should] make their own judgments about the public interest.” – Ralph Heintzman “we are the 99% and we are leaderless” Globe & Mail Occupy Movement Federalism upside down: Who speaks for Canada now? iPolitics Federal scientists rally against the A “weak” and “secretive” “Death of Evidence” 10 July 2012 public service starves Parliament of the information Protests against gov't it needs to hold the corruption planned for government to account. more than 80 Brazilian account - Parliamentary Budget cities – CTV Officer “A tsunami of exposed corruption cases in Spain” – New York Times The US Budget failed because Boehner "did not have sufficient support from [his] members to pass." - Huffington Post
  20. 20. Leadership is a mechanism of social coordination but it is not the only one. … there is no a priori reason to use only leadership – only habit.
  21. 21. A Leadership Alternative • Stewardship – Instead of the ‘causal leader’, the steward acts as a ‘catalyst’ among owners helping them to shape change through a combination of process design and relational governance – The steward “depends for his power on making other people powerful”. – Stewardship is a collective attribute that is neither personality based nor even people based
  22. 22. Stewards are Created by Owners • Building co-ownership & developing mechanisms to share it are key tasks • Stewardship is primarily process design – assembling principles, rules, norms, behaviours, mechanisms and protocols into an ‘automatic pilot’ capable of generating wayfinding, meaningful self-organization, social learning, resilience, & innovativeness. • Stewardship is ‘learning while doing’
  23. 23. Stewardship Process • This coordinating process of stewardship has six separate but interconnected tasks: – gathering together all the relevant actors and information; – creating an effective space for frame reconciliation to ensure collaboration, leaning and innovation; – doing together but avoiding the rush to decisions and action:; – generating trust with a mix of incentives & moral contracts likely to fuel both the continuous inquiry needed to facilitate learning, as well as the need for contingent cooperation; – assuming failure, the constructing of feedback, fail-safe and safefail mechanisms to ensure both effectiveness & resilience; and – creating relationships that foster trust but also develop negative capability - the conditions that ensure the collaboration will be robust enough to survive.
  24. 24. Hints of Things to Come • Goldcorp Challenge1 – Goldcorp recognized it’s own experts didn’t know enough & with a $500K challenge opened themselves up to the world’s geologists & different approaches to finding gold, taking their net worth from $100 million to $9 billion • Governance of Tech Startups – A bringing together multiple perspectives -owners, angel investors, customers, engineers, suppliers – with no perspective taking precedence. Both innovation and accountability are enhanced Tapscott & Williams, Wikinomics 1
  25. 25. Hints of Things to Come • Brazil’s HIV-AIDS strategy2 – With one of the worst infection rates in the world in 1990, WHO said focus on prevention. The sick can’t be saved. – No one in charge, but guided by communitarian principle that no one would be written off – Shared leadership, a government asking questions about how things really worked & committed to sharing successes – Brazil’s infection rate now 33% better than the USA • Canadian Partnership Against Cancer Corporation3 – A knowledge mobilization partnership of federal & provincial govts and VSOs – Policy authority & financial resources to implement a national cancer prevention strategy – Government participation but arm’s-length relationship from them Westley, Zimmerman & Quinn-Patton, Getting to Maybe 3 Rocan, The Voluntary Sector In Public Health 2
  26. 26. Institutionalizing an Inquiring System Observational Does the situation need changing? Info Gathering Heuristics Learning Affordances How do we learn Doing Learning While together & evaluate Checklists Trust Doing our progress? Feedback Judgement Relationships Connoisseurship How can we work together? Relationship Design What is the problem? Investigative
  27. 27. Going Forward “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, create a new model that makes the old model obsolete.” - Buckminster Fuller “We cannot win the future with a government built for the past.” – US President Obama, 11 March 2011
  28. 28. Thank you Christopher Wilson Senior Research Fellow Centre on Governance, University of Ottawa Tel: 613-355-6505 Email: