Having watched comments on the Governments digital strategy document and contributed my own thoughts in this blog and directly to them, I thought I would share my overwhelming feeling.
Which is… lazy.
The document is very lazy. It makes very few measurable statements, no plans, nothing to get excited or riled up about. It is a lot of words with no meaning. A perfect illustration of government not understanding the process of consultation. The consultation process should not be “what do you think we should do”, it should be “heres what we think, heres the straw man, knock it over if you want to”.
Its interesting that the digital strategy team feel that having the ability for the public to post comments obviates any responsibility the team to actually produce a workable plan in the first place. What they should have done is produced a straw plan, with real ideas. real plans. not just wiffle-waffle meaningless government ‘holistic’ speak. Was there ever a more budget-blowing word than holistic? I don’t think so.
Then, these plans would have pissed some people off, and made others think whether it works. They would write in. Which would in turn have caused more people to write. Its easy to critique something, and have the problems become apparent, much easier than to produce something from nothing. You see this all the time in Agile development.
bad me:”What do you want?”
client: “um. well, not really sure….er… um”
as opposed to:
actual me:”Do you like this? Does this work for you?”
client:”Ah, no, not really. I think this needs to be like this, and oh yeah, it needs to do this”.
The providing of the straw man (or plan or prototype) makes the whole process much simpler, and empowers the client. They see what they don’t like, and feel like they can change it.
The digital strategy document was depowering, because it gave the community nothing to discuss. Nothing to chew over, nothing to iron out details. There were no details. There really wasn’t anything. Except a rather large bill.