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As a member of the OECD's E-Government Project Advisory Group I
recently prepared a paper on the concept of "public net-work."  I am
making the full paper available to those who are interested in
offering further comment.  Below is a summary of the paper.

I consider this working draft one of the most important articles I
have written in sometime.  I believe that it contains new ideas and
fresh concepts that will help government and others use ICTs to meet
public challenges more effectively.  In short, the paper suggests
that the tools of e-democracy on the input side of governance can be
applied strategically to public implementation on the output side of

I am seeking a sponsor who will help ensure that a final print
version is distributed strategically and made widely available. I ask
that you not forward this post to other public e-mail lists at this
time.  When an updated paper has a sponsor and traditional
distribution channels it will be made publicly available.

To request a copy for comment, send an e-mail to:


Thank you,
Steven Clift
Democracies Online Newswire


public net-work
Online Information Exchange in the Pursuit of Public Service Goals

An early concept paper written for the OECD E-Government Project

By Steven Clift
Member, OECD E-Government Project Advisory Group
Copyright 2003 Steven Clift
Author information: http://www.publicus.net


Public net-work is a new concept. It represents the strategic use of
information and communication technologies (ICTs) to better implement
established public policy goals and programs through direct and
diverse stakeholder online involvement. The governments that are
hosting public net-work initiatives are shifting from their role as
"sole providers" of public services to facilitators of those working
to solve similar public problems.

Public net-work projects have the following things in common:

1.      They are designed to facilitate the online exchange of
information, knowledge and/or experience among those doing similar
public work.

2.      They are hosted or funded by government agencies,
intergovernmental associations, international government bodies,
partnerships involving many public entities, non-governmental
organizations, and sometimes foundations or companies.

3.      While they are generally public, they are focused on specific
issues that attract niche stakeholder involvement from other
government agencies, local governments, non-governmental
organizations, and interested citizens.  Essentially any individual
or group willing to work with the government to meet public
challenges may be included.

4.      In a time of scare resources, public net-work is designed to help
governments more effectively pursue their established missions in a
collaborative and sustainable manner.

Public net-work also moves beyond "one-way" information and service
delivery toward "two-way" and "many-to-many" exchange of information,
knowledge, and experience.  Public net-work is a public, yet
selective approach that uses this two-way online information exchange
to carry out previously determined government policy.

Public net-work is not an inter-governmental Intranet or an Extranet -
they tend to be limited to select government offices or contractors.
Public net-work is not about online public consultations early in the
decision-making process or directly connected to representative
institutions or processes.

Public net-work may provide cost efficiency because e-democracy tools
initially developed for the input side of government decision-making
can now be applied to the output side of public administration.
Moving beyond intergovernmental e-mail lists, policy information
portal initiatives built for multiple levels of government, non-
governmental/non-profit organizations (NGOs) and citizens as a whole
are emerging.

At the moment, publicly accessible Public net-work projects are rare.
The embryonic few only use a small set of the current ICT tools
available.  To succeed, these projects must adapt emerging models of
distributed information input and information sharing for appropriate
use on multiple sites (syndication), develop models for sustained
information exchange/discussion, and build from the existing
knowledge about Communities of Practice and computer-mediated

Developing the "neutral host" facilitation role, along with sustained
funding, is important. The host must generate trust and establish a
sense of momentum and relevancy.  Individuals and organizations are
keenly aware of the institutional disincentives related to more open
information exchange. The value of information exchange must be
demonstrated over time to overcome natural resistance to new ways of
working and collaboration.

Government partnerships, with their public missions and resources,
often make ideal hosts for broad, horizontal information exchange.
Government departments that feel their status/purpose will be
threatened by shifting from an expert gatekeeper to an involved
facilitator are not ideal hosts. Facilitation models involving NGOs
and academic consortiums have potential and should also be developed
and leveraged for better implementation of public policy.

Note: The original draft presented to the OECD used the term "e-
public work." The term "public net-work" is now being used to avoid
confusion with traditional public works projects often associated
with physical infrastructure and transportation.

[End of summary]

To review and comment on the full draft, send an e-mail to Steven
Clift <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>.  Only those promising comments and
suggestions within one week of the request will be send the draft.

^               ^               ^                ^
Steven L. Clift    -    W: http://www.publicus.net
Minneapolis    -   -   -     E: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Minnesota  -   -   -   -   -    T: +1.612.822.8667
USA    -   -   -   -   -   -   -     ICQ: 13789183

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