London, New York, Parramatta

Connie Malamed recently drew my attention to the How Do I Become President? challenge at Kids.gov.

How Do I Become President?A humorous take on the How Do I Become President? challenge.

It’s a competition for kids to create an infographic or poster that explains the process of becoming the President of the United States.

Not only will the winner receive a cash prize, but their poster will be distributed to schools and libraries across the country.

What a wonderful example of Government 2.0!

It’s not just about engaging the public and empowering them to participate; it’s also about educating our children.

<insert warm fuzzy feeling here>

Down under

This got me thinking about Government 2.0 efforts closer to home.

Australian Government logoI have discovered that the Australian Government has released a wonderfully poetic Declaration of Open Government upon the recommendation of a Government 2.0 Taskforce.

Indeed, four federal offices have launched a Government 2.0 initiative in the past couple of years.

Curiously, however, all were launched prior to the declaration and none since!

Uncurrent state

The State Government appears to be in “thinking about it” mode.

NSW Government logoApart from the ever adventurous Powerhouse Museum and a Government 2.0 in NSW event last year, ten or so minutes of googling on my part couldn’t find any other Government 2.0 initiatives sponsored by New South Wales.

OK, I didn’t try very hard, but it shouldn’t be that difficult… right?

That would defeat the whole purpose!

Think global, act local

PCC logoCruising further down the food chain, I sought inspiration from my local government, Parramatta City Council…

Bingo!

I was pleasantly surprised to find ParraConnecta new “connected city and community” framework designed to link existing programs as well as foster the development of new digital initiatives in the local public sphere.

Hmm… sounds interesting.

ParraConnect homepage

Plenty of progressive ideas are touted on the website, such as:

  • Wireless CBD precinct

  • Digital economy portal linking local companies, skills, needs, training and opportunities

  • Hot desk hubs and hyperlocal smartwork centres

  • ICT training for small businesses

  • E-Learning for seniors

  • A smartphone app that finds parking (a big problem in Parramatta!)

  • Apps4Parra competitions and hackfests.

But who’s to say this isn’t just another case of all talk, no action?

Well I’m heartened by the release of an impressive iPhone app called DigiMacq which scaffolds a self-guided multimedia tour of Parramatta’s historical sites.

The DigiMacq app on the iPhoneYes, it’s available now.

These guys are serious.

Smart city

As both a rate payer and an e-learning & social media professional, I have my own ideas about how the council can act locally to lead the nation (and dare I say the world?) in Government 2.0.

With the right people heeding the right advice deploying the right technologies, I’m sure we can convert the dream of a digitally connected city into a reality.

London and New York, stand aside. Parramatta is coming through!

Connected city

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