Monday, December 29, 2008

Captology -- Persuasive Technology

Persuasive technology can refer to any technology used to shape beliefs and actions. Captology is the term the folks at the Stanford University Persuasive Technology Lab use to describe the study of computers as persuasive technology. Their blog pays some attention to the Obama campaign's use of technology (e.g., Facebook, cell phones) to mobilize voters and volunteers.

B.J. Fogg is the director of the show at Stanford UPTL.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Leela Damodaran -- All About Citizen Participation

She cites Mumford! She studies local e-government! She is Professor Leela Damodaran, and she is the heat when it comes to participatory e-government. Check out this abstract:

Enid Mumford championed an ethical, socio-technical, and participatory approach to the design of ICT systems. In this paper, we focus on the development of e-government as an example of such a system. First, we present an extension of Mumford's ideas about the benefits and process of participation, based on an analysis of recent citizen engagement initiatives. We then examine the extent to which e-government reflects the principles she espoused. The evidence collated indicates that e-government development is currently characterised by a technocentric approach with minimal engagement of citizens. We discuss the implications arising from this analysis, and explore the benefits that governments could achieve from adoption of a socio-technical, participatory approach to e-government development. The crucial enabling role of capacity building is highlighted. Providing citizens with the necessary skills and capabilities to engage effectively offers the key to the successful development of systems such as e-government which impact our lives in the 21st century Information Society.

[Damodaran, Leela and Olphert, Wendy (2008) "Citizen Participation and engagement in the Design of e-Government Services: The Missing Link in Effective ICT Design and Delivery," Journal of the Association for Information Systems: Vol. 8: Iss. 9, Article 5.
Available at:]

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Victorian Public Sector Continuous Improvement Network

Chadwick (2008) pointed me toward this one: every public employee in the state of Victoria, Australia, can join and blog away. Over 3000 members working to "promote continuous improvement (CI) through leadership and practice." Directed more internally than externally, though we can all read what's going on there.

And they use Wordpress.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Blog That Matters: UK Foreign Secretary Miliband Online

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband blogs. Boy, does he blog! The secretary talks about visiting with the new president of Pakistan. He talks about an important dam project in Afghanistan. He cites Fareed Zakaria on Russia's adventure in Georgia to call the invasion "Not a clever day's work." Is that cool or what?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Here's Your Speeding Ticket -- How's That for Customer Service?

Larry Grant, "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes: Regulatory Policy Comes Home," Government Reinventors, 2008.06.17:

  • "customer" doesn't make sense in regulatory situation
  • suppose cops gives you a speeding ticket; you aren't exactly a customer
  • note that Grant still looks for a "customer" in the relationship; he suggests in regulatory situations, the regulated are "compliers," while the general public is the "customer" receiving the benefit of government protection

California State Government Best Practices Wiki

State of California Best Practices Wiki:

  • in-house: only state employees can add content, though public can read
  • created this year
  • focused right now on five areas: correctional healthcare, customer service, Green California, HR, and IT
  • "powered by crowd-sourcing"
  • monitored by Calif. State Library staff, "who will edit material for defamatory, illegal or otherwise inappropriate content"
  • code of conduct: "respect your fellow State employees"
  • supervisor approval for submissions not required, but wiki encourages letting supervisors know what you post in order to spread the word about the site

Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau "Tap the Power" Bibliography

Heck of an idea: the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau ("a non-partisan agency serving the Wisconsin Legislature since 1901") publishes Tap the Power, an online bibliography on major issues. Each issue bibliography is compiled and posted by an LRB staffer. Tap the Power also includes an apparently annual "Favorite Books" feature, listing books recommended by legislators and staff.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

JMDiMicco: Embedding Values in Tech

IBM's Joan Morris DiMicco talks about a talk by Warren Sack on evaluating software. He speaks of needing "criteria of democracy and the public good." She interprets and agrees that "we embed our values into the technology we design," cites object-oriented programming as a manifestation of our embrace of "modern top-down, distributed corporations."

Monday, April 21, 2008

Anthony Williams on Government 2.0

Paula Klein, "How Web 2.0 Can Reinvent Government," CIO Insight Weekly Report, 2008.04.01. URL:

Anthony Williams co-wrote Wikinomics with Donald Tapscott. He says collaborative tech is changing business; gov't needs to catch up!

Q: Are there many differences between Web 2.0 use in the public and private sectors?

Williams: Perhaps the obvious difference is that businesses have customers and employees, but the public sector also has citizens, who are much like shareholders. Citizens and shareholders are similar, but the citizen relationship is arguably deeper: It implies a set of rights and freedoms, as well as a set of obligations and responsibilities to the state. [emph mine]

--government moves more slowly, more cautiously: always an opposition party waiting to pounce; less tolerance for risk than in business
--government "silo" structure like old (in Friedman terms) business structure: time to flatten the world, horizontally integrate

Spectacular list of "G-Webs":
  1. Intellipedia: Wikipedia for spooks!
  2. Politicopia: Utah Rep. Steve Urquhart's experiment in a do-it-yourself CLDS
  3. Neighborhood Knowledge Los Angeles (and statewide counterpart NKCA): big data portal for community improvement activists -- lots of public data and maps intended to help people get info about their communities without sifting through tons of docs at the courthouse. Sure, it's more the government service provider model, but it's providing information with the idea that "consumers" are going to use the info for their own political decision-making and action. It's not G2C; it's G2G!
Top-down management mindset may hold back Govt 2.0 -- those guys don't want to give up their authority. Plus...

[Williams]: There’s considerable skepticism about the role citizens should play in policy-making. Do they have the time and expertise to make meaningful contributions to complex policy deliberations? This debate goes back centuries. In the early 20th century, journalist Walter Lippmann questioned the competency of average citizens, comparing them to a deaf spectator in the back row. By contrast, [philosopher] John Dewey argued against “an oligarchy managed in the interests of the few” and was a proponent of greater citizen participation and democratic education. That debate continues.

What’s different is that citizens now have unprecedented tools to inform themselves, to reach out to others with like interests and to organize as never before. Politicians have tools, too. There’s no excuse not to use them. The infrastructure is there. It’s about political will and a willingness to be open and to incorporate feedback and put it into practice. At the same time, digital communications make geography less relevant and reinforce the need to open up the policy-making process to global participation.

On legitimacy: go 2.0 or die! Seriously!

But is Govt 2.0 practical? Can we actually involve all of us South Dakotans in a policy debate?

[Williams]: Software developers have already figured out how to scale up collaboration technologies to support global business enterprises, so I see no reason why Web 2.0 could not support hundreds of thousands of people in a real-time policy debate. [emph mine]

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My Papers and Presentations

Papers by CA Heidelberger:

  1. "Citizens, Not Customers: Transforming E-Government," INFS 614: Intro to Research MEthods, DSU, 2007.12.09. formats: Word | PDF
  2. "Citizen-Legislator Discourse System: Toward Neohumanist E-Government," INFS 805: Design Research Methodology, DSU, 2007.11.15. formats: Word | PDF

Presentations by CA Heidelberger:
  1. "Improving E-Government: Citizens as Participants, Not Consumers," Student Research Initiative Poster Session, State Capitol Rotunda, Pierre, SD, 2008.02.20. formats: Publisher | GIF | JPG
  2. "Improving E-Government: Citizens as Participants, Not Consumers" [PowerPoint], INFS 890 Spring Seminar, Dakota State University, Madison, SD, 2008.03.26.

References: INFS 890 Seminar

presented 2008.03.26

  1. AMCIS 2008 Conference: E-Government mini-track. URL:
  2. ACSI (2006). "ACSI Methodology," About ACSI. American Consumer Satisfaction Index. Downloaded 2008.03.21. URL:
  3. Baum, C., and DiMaio, A., "Gartner's Four Phases of E-Government Model," Gartner, Inc., Research Note, Tutorial TU-12-6113, 21 Nov 2000
  4. Benkler, Yochai (2006). The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom. New Haven, CT: Yale University.
  5. Birdsall, Stephanie (2005). 'The Democratic Divide," First Monday (10:4).
  6. Butler, Patrick, and Collins, Neil (2004). "Citizen as Consumer." In Neil Collins and Terry Cradden (Eds.), Political Issues in Ireland Today. Manchester University Press, 135-148.
  7. Borland, John (2007). "Online Voting Clicks in Estonia,", 2007.03.02. Downloaded 2008.03.19. URL:
  8. Fornell, Claes (2007). "Government Satisfaction Scores," ACSI Scores and Commentary, 2007.12.17. Downloaded 2008.03.21. URL:
  9. Gibson, Rachel (2001). "Elections Online: Assessing Internet Voting in Light of the Arizona Primary," Political Science Quarterly (116:4), 561–583.
  10. Keating, Michael (1995). "Size, Efficiency, and Democracy: Consolidation, Fragmentation, and Public Choice." In David Judge, Gerry Stoker, and Harold Wolman (Eds.). Theories of Urban Politics . Thousand Oaks, CA:Sage Publications, 117–134.
  11. Lourenço, Rui Pedro, and Costa, João Paulo (2007). "Incorporating Citizens' Views in Local Policy Decision Making Processes," Decision Support Systems (43:4), August, 1499–1511.
  12. Martinelli, Nicole (2008). "In an Internet First, Americans Abroad Cast E-Votes in Democratic Primary,", 2008.02.05. downloaded 2008.03.19. URL:
  13. OMB E-Government Task Force, "E-Government Strategy: Simplified Delivery of Services to Citizens," Office of Management and Budget, United States Federal Government, 27 Feb 2002.
  14. Osborne, David, and Ted Gaebler. 1992. Reinventing Government: How the Entrepreneurial Spirit Is Transforming the Public Sector. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.
  15. Newman, J., "Issue Brief: Electronic Government," Bureau of Information and Telecommunications, State of South Dakota, Nov 2003.
  16. Ryan, Neal (2001). "Reconstructing Citizens as Consumers: Implications for New Modes of Governance," Australian Journal of Public Administration (60:3), 104-109.
  17. Rehg, William, McBurney, Peter, and Parsons, Simon. (2005). "Computer Decision-Support Systems for Public Argumentation: Assessing Deliberative Legitimacy," AI & Society (19), 203–229.
  18. Turoff, M., Hiltz, S.R., Cho, H.-K., Li, Z., and Wang, Y., "Social Decision Support Systems (SDSS)," Proceedings of the 35th Hawaii international Conference on System Sciences, 2002, pp. 81–90.

Friday, March 21, 2008

ACSI, E-Gov Performance, and Customer Loyalty

Stowers, Genie N.L. (2004). "Measuring the Performance of E-Government," E-Government Series, IBM Center for the Business of Government. March 2004.

ACSI (2006). "ACSI Methodology," About ACSI. American Consumer Satisfaction Index.

A quibble I'm not sure will stick, but interesting: Stowers (2004) points to the American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) as a good tool for evaluating the effectiveness of e-Government. But check out the ACSI methodology:

See that little bubble at the end: "Customer Loyalty"? ACSI says this about that:

Customer loyalty is a combination of the customer's professed likelihood to repurchase from the same supplier in the future, and the likelihood to purchase a company’s products or services at various price points (price tolerance). Customer loyalty is the critical component of the model as it stands as a proxy for profitability.

"The critical component" -- so how do we apply "customer loyalty" to e-Government? How many customers dissatisfied with their e-Government experience are going to move to another country? How many people dissatisfied with the Department of State website will get their passports from France instead? The ACSI appears to measure consumer satisfaction in the context of a competitive market, a condition that simply doesn't apply for most of what we turn to the government (and e-government) for.

Now Stower (2004) suggests an out (p. 25): in e-govt, "customer loyalty" may simply refer to the user's willingness to use the site again, not move to Canada. Still, there's a difference. There's only one agency I can get my driver's license from. Whether I go online or to the courthouse, my loyalty doesn't have much room to roam. I'm still dealing with the government. That's very different from the private sector situation, where I can stop buying books from Barnes and Noble's website and from their stores and do all my book shopping through

American Consumer Satisfaction Index -- E-Gov Improves Service

Stowers, Genie N.L. (2004). "Measuring the Performance of E-Government," E-Government Series, IBM Center for the Business of Government. March 2004.

Fornell, Claes (2007). "Government Satisfaction Scores," ACSI Scores and Commentary, 2007.12.17.

Stowers (2004) directs me toward the application of the American Consumer Satisfaction Index to e-Gov. In a way, this tool just feeds the "citizen as consumer" paradigm.

But if we accept the paradigm, we could conclude that e-Government is achieving its goals of improving customer service. Fornell (2007) finds that while the federal government overall scores 67.8 on the 100-pt ACSI, federal e-Gov scores 8% better at 73.4, almost as good as the private sector services rating of 74.0. (Fornell also notes the only private sector services scoring worse than the USFG are newspapers, airlines, and cable/satellite TV.)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

New Public Management vs New Public Service

Cornell website points to New Public Service as a response to New Public Management. Note that the discussion takes place under the heading of "Restructuring Local Government."

NPS is a direct reaction to NPM from authors Janet and Robert Denhardt, who "offer a synthesis of the ideas that are opposed to the New Public Management" in their 2002 book The New Public Service (Cornell says 2003; see also 2007 edition)

Seven principles of NPS (quoted from Cornell web):

  1. Serve citizens, not customers
  2. Seek the public interest
  3. Value citizenship over entrepreneurship
  4. Think strategically, act democratically (In comparison to Osborne and Gaebler, Denhardt and Denhardt assert that there is a difference between “thinking strategically” and “entrepreneurial government.”)
  5. Recognize that accountability is not simple
  6. Serve rather than steer (This involves listening to the real needs of the people and the community, not just responding in the manner that a business would to a customer.)
  7. Value people, not just productivity

The Denhardts see public administrators as more than managers doing cost-benefit analysis. Administrators are participants, just like citizens:

The public manager’s job is not only, or simply, to make policy choices and implement them. It is also to participate in a system of democratic governance in which public values are continuously rearticulated and recreated (Reich 1988, 123-24, quoted in D&D 96).

Note that NPS sounds less well developed than NPM; shorter bib, at least, on Cornell site.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Rehg, McBurney, and Parsons (2005): Big Methodology, Two Extant Systems

Rehg, William, McBurney, Peter, and Parsons, Simon. (2005). "Computer Decision-Support Systems for Public Argumentation: Assessing Deliberative Legitimacy," AI & Society (19), 203-229.

  1. "decision-support systems for public policy argumentation" so far focus more on reasoning, and inference -- the dialectic process -- than rely on knowledge database; thus "argumentation systems" rather than "knowledge systems"
  2. CAH hits the bullseye: "If appropriately designed, such systems should be able to assist debate by tracking various claims and arguments, by searching databases for relevant information, and by continually updating and assessing the overall state of the debate." (204)
  3. gaps between formal design and practice show that AI researchers need to "engage in interdisciplinary experimentation;" hang with the poliSci, Soc, and other social scientists; and participate in the public discourse system themselves (205)
  4. Zeno system
    1. EC-funded, GMD urban planning
    2. developers (Gordon and Karacapilidis) call it "mediation system"
    3. formalized IBIS (issue-based information system) model (Rittel & Webber 1973)
      1. issue: topic ("Where should we put the airport?")
      2. position: some relevant statement ("We should put it in Bob's cornfield.")
      3. argument: statements for or against positions ("Bob's cornfield is too close to the hospital.")
    4. actually labels positions as acceptable or not based on established constraints
    5. supports real-time debates
    6. intuitive, graphical interfaces
  5. Risk Agora (McBurney and Parsons)
    1. Proposed for scientific debate "over the potential health and environmental risks of new chemicals and substances and the appropriate regulation of these substances" (207)
    2. like Zeno, labels arguments, seeks to give snapshot of overall status of debate
    3. not meant for real-time
    4. no intuitive, graphical interfaces
  6. Three key roles for argumentation systems:
    1. support participants (help citizens, mediators, decision-makers find info)
    2. serve orrery role (keep records)
    3. provide forum for dialogue
    4. systems not close to being participants or decision-makers
  7. Problem with evaluation of SDSS: how do we know it's producing any better decisions than the old way? How do we measure the effectiveness of the old decision-making process? "The precise problem that interests us here, however, is the lack of an inherent, or independently accessible, standard of truth or correctness for urban planning decisions" (212) or any social decision, for that matter. Closely tied to our political biases!
    1. Think of it this way: plug in the CLDS, let it run for five years. How can I tell if Russ is making better decisions now than he was pre-CLDS?
  8. Standards from Schmidt-Belz et al. (1998)
    1. efficiency
    2. transparency
    3. non-coerciveness
    4. equality of participation
  9. Legitimacy: Four dimensions of "reasonable deliberative transformation"
    1. "self-transformation"
      1. deliberation central, not bargaining (the latter is the "conventional pluralist model")
      2. delib focuses more moving people from self-interest to conception of common good; bargaining about maximizing util.
      3. participants willing to share info, learn from each other, even change (transform!) position (negotiators usu. hold some info back)
    2. substantive dialectical quality
      1. "truth" a bad measure!
      2. address all relevant information
      3. arrive at msot justifiable/reasonable outcome
      4. combination of expertise and values
    3. inclusiveness
    4. non-coerciveness
      1. not enough to give everyone access; you also have to make sure there's not some aspect of the system that limits some users ability to have their say and to learn from other participants
      2. watch those mediators!
  10. formal procedures can be coercive, inhibit knowledge flow! Check with these three questions, based on the above roles:
    1. "Do the participant-support mechanisms favor some parties over others?"
    2. "Is the tracking or record keeping genuinely neutral -- that is, can each stakeholder perceive that the system has represented his or her or its position, interests, calues, and arguments accurately?"
    3. "And does the forum structure (e.g., the sequencing of links at the user-interface) give some participants greater opportunity to influence the deliberation?" (222)
  11. Note that determine whether there is coercion, the researcher must become a participant, talk to the other participants, understand things from their context

Monday, February 11, 2008

McBurney and Parsons (2001): Methodology Fodder!

McBurney, Peter, and Parsons, Simon. (2001). Intelligent systems to support deliberative democracy in environmental regulation. Information & Communications Technology Law, 10(1), 79-89.

Ugh! Abstract only, no full text! Get it!

Among normative models for democracy, the Deliberative Model suggests that public policy decisions should be made only following rational, public deliberation of alternative courses of action. This article argues that such a model is particularly appropriate for the assessment of environmental and health risks of new substances and technologies, and for the development of appropriate regulatory responses. To give operational effect to these ideas, a dialectical argumentation formalism for an intelligent system within which deliberative debates about risk and regulation can be conducted is proposed. The formalism draws on various philosophies of argumentation, scientific and moral discourse, and communicative action, due to Toulmin, Pera, Alexy and Habermas. (!!!)

Keating (1995): technocratic approach 1960s & 1970s

Keating, Michael (1995). "Size, Efficiency, and Democracy: Consolidation, Fragmentation, and Public Choice." In David Judge, Gerry Stoker, and Harold Wolman (Eds.). Theories of Urban Politics. Thousand Oaks, CA:Sage Publications, 117-134.

  • technocratic, "service-delivery" perspective frequent in 1960s and 1970s, too, "leaving democratic participation as an afterthought" (128)

Livingstone et al. (2007): "Citizen-consumer" in UK discourse, problems remain

Livingstone, Sonia, Lunt, Peter, and Miller, Laura (2007). "Citizens and Consumers: Discursive Debate During and After the Communications Act 2003," Media, Culture & Society (29:4) 613-638. Abstract only -- not Mundt-avail! Rats!

The regulation of media and communications in the UK has recently been subject to reform resulting in the creation of the Office of Communications (Ofcom). This statutory body, established by an Act of Parliament, is a new, sector-wide regulator, protecting the interests of what has been termed the ‘citizen-consumer’. This article charts the discursive shifts that occurred during the passage of the Communications Act through Parliament and in the initial stages of its implementation to understand how and why the term ‘citizen-consumer’ came to lie at the heart of the new regulator’s mission. By critically analysing the various alignments of ‘citizen’ and ‘consumer’ interests within the debates, the underlying struggles over the formulation of power, responsibility and duties for the new regulator and for other stakeholders – industry, government and public – are identified. The article concludes that the legacy of these debates is that regulatory provisions designed to further the ‘citizen interest’ contain significant and unresolved dilemmas.

Butler & Collins 2004: Citizen as consumer -- Ireland

Butler, Patrick, and Collins, Neil (2004). "Citizen as Consumer." In Neil Collins and Terry Cradden (Eds.), Political Issues in Ireland Today. Manchester University Press, 135-148.

Citizen as consumer has advantages for improving efficiency, but also threatens democracy (135) -- very much as Ryan (2001) says.

  1. "Citizen as consumer" comes from New Public Management (NPM): movement across Western democracies
    1. big role for marketing
    2. "focus on market operations and management of customer service" (135)
    3. see Osborne and Gaebler (1993), "the American NPM gurus" (146)
  2. "The ultimate paradox is that better utilisation of managment technologies may damage political processes and institutions, because treating citizens as consumers involves both positive and negative outcomes.... Problems associated with the separation of politics and administration are raised in this context. Initiatives relating to the provision of government services by electronic means (often called 'eGovernment') that primarily emphasize customer service delivery will also be vulnerable to such difficulties" (emphasis mine, 135-136).
  3. NPM-CAC perspective appealing -- "How could anyone not want better service?" (140) and "We should run government like a business" (143) -- but weakens sense of corresponding rights and social responsibilities/duties/obligations. Govt must be "guided by objective policies aimed at meeting social rather than personal needs" (142, quoting Humphreys, 1998:19).
  4. Elaborates on Ryan (2001), notes that consumer mindset lessens sense of collective responsibility: we can't have a system where only the direct "consumers" of higher education get a say on higher ed policy; the whole community gets to take part
  5. Again summarizing Ryan (2001): "...the market model implies that the production of public services is a technical rather than political process..." (143)
  6. "Market-driven managerialism is primarily based on happy customers rather than involved citizens" (144).
  7. Market research (focus groups, surveys, etc.) may actually keep the public at a distance (145)
    1. Well, that's problematic for my methodology....
  8. They include "principles guiding Civil Service Customer Action Plans" which refer to "customers"

Ryan 2001: Citizens as Consumers = Bad Perpsective

Ryan, Neal 2001 Reconstructing Citizens as Consumers: Implications for New Modes of Governance Australian Journal of Public Administration 60:3 104-109

Nail on the head: the market model of citizens as consumers is bad. Great advocate for CLDS.

  • 1980s-1990s: emphasis on improving service by creating markets: privatize, make government compete
    • inadequate model for regime of partnerships and cooperation
    • inadequate there isn't real competition for services
  • "citizen as consumer" hurts citizen-govt relationship
    • redefines relationship as "passive commercial transaction rather than an interactive political engagement" (105)
    • emphasizes "sovereignty of the individual over the public good" (105)
    • market mindset breaks down if market forces (competition, consumer knowledge, etc.) don't apply
    • oversimplifies relationship: often not voluntary; not simple reciprocation of services for taxes/payment; ignores mutual commitment" (107)
  • Implications
    • "public confidence in government is likely to be higher in circumstances in which there are high levels of participations, engagement and knowledge" (107)
    • surveys great, do more, but don't allow them to replace real political engagement: ranking preferences on a filtered list of choices created by a pollster still isn't as good as taking the floor and presenting your own original idea
    • "focus on individual satsifaction diminishes the contribution of public services to building the social capital that may result from a focus on collective relationships" (107)
    • "the language of producers and consumers contributes to notions of elitist government"!!! (107) contributes to impression of govt as "high value producers of services" filled with experts whom the rest of us mere mortals have to sit back and trust and not presume to bother with our humble opinions

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Google Partners with States on Gov2.0

Google press release, "Google and Four US States Improve Public Access to Government Websites," April 30, 2007

  • Lots of govt info on databases not accessible to search engine crawlers, thus harder to find
  • state tech managers working to increase amount of govt info available to Google searches
  • Sitemap Protocol is key
    • produces list of all pages on website
    • automatically sends list to search engines
  • see case study on Arizona and press info
    • Arizona: less than 50 tech staff hours >> implementation on eight major databases, "made hundreds of thousands of public records and other pages 'crawlable'"
  • Started with CA, AZ, UT, and VA
  • added MI, FL


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