Continuing with the theme of public policy innovation, the UK Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills recently released an interactive version of its Innovation Nation white paper. The interactive version is only a summary, but it is in a format that anyone can comment on, paragraph by paragraph. The comments that everyone else has made are very visible, and it really makes for a very different experience to reading the full paper in PDF format.
The Social Media Manager at DIUS, Steph Gray, comments on the release:
“we hope the bigger story will be the breaking down of the classic consult/deliver dichotomy which we’re challenging policy teams to overcome. We’d love this interactive document to become a place where policymakers, stakeholders and interested citizens come together to help move a policy forward, and we’ll be doing our best to act as a bridge between commenters and the civil servants who are working hard to change things. Don’t underestimate the scale of the cultural challenge here: we’re asking seasoned, busy public servants with a familiar way of working to take extra time and effort to make engagement a continuous process – and to do so in a whole new way.”
It’s an innovative way of collecting innovative ideas about innovation. Innovation is in the process, content and subject. The implementation is simple but very powerful, and I love it.
Reading the full report was a struggle – scanning through dry platitudes to try to sift out the information. Reading this live document, knowing I had the opportunity to comment directly, I paid much more attention. And I was always interested to see what other people had said, even if I didn’t agree.
The real test, of course, is what happens next. I have posted some comments and will see what kind of response I get.