Gov 2.0: Government Likes to Draw Lines and It Is Now Time to Cross Them

05/26/2010 11:57 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Christina Gagnier Entrepreneur. Tech Lawyer. Partner @gamallp. Teaching @UCILaw. Board @WithoutConsent.

Kicking off the Gov 2.0 Expo in Washington, D.C., Bill Eggers, who coined "Government 2.0," provided context for his term: Government 2.0 is a revolution and "revolutions need heroes." Media guru and wine enthusiast Gary Vaynerchuk expressed the attitude that Eggers' Government 2.0 revolutionaries will need to take: lines are drawn by government that are meant to be crossed.

Governments are exceptional at drawing lines, creating frameworks and upholding constructs on the assertion that "this is way we have always done things." Some of these lines in our age of mass technological dispersion do not make any sense when citizens are eager to interact with their governments in a dynamic way.

The Sunlight Foundation's Sunlight Labs and the various contests that it sponsors, including Apps for America and Design for America, give governments a view of how citizens want to interact with them. For example, award winner of "Best Redesign of a Government Website" was a redesign of the Internal Revenue Service website that makes your IRS experience customizable. It was the type of the idea that would transform a reality in the life of every taxpayer, but was even framed during the presentation as something that was not actionable. While there are many legal reasons why government websites and improvements thereof are slow to roll out, these strictures, these "lines," are holding back the next level of citizen engagement online.

The heroes in Government 2.0 will cross these lines. They will bring radical redesigns to sites like the IRS portal. They will push for legislation to catch up with the pace of technology. They will trail blaze and assume risk, sometimes in ways unexpected. But, crossing the lines takes government one step closer to citizens, not into the unknown.