Leaving SXSWi today just after the key note with Jennifer Pahlka was to end on a high note. Last year it started as a feeling, now I’m sure! The tech hippies are taking over the world. At its core I think crowdsourcing is slowly fueling the biggest democratic movement in history – this time not invented by the Greeks, but by the Geeks – as I think Jennifer Pahlka put it.
Code for America is a fantastic project that uses the principles from Open source development and Crowdsourcing to solve problems within the public sector.
Code for America is a new non-profit that “helps governments work better for everyone with the people and the power of the web.” They are building a network of cities, citizens, community groups, and startups, all equally committed to re-imagining government for the 21st century.
A related project is “The Red Tape Challenge“. An experiment the British Government is conducting in an effort to clean up in legislation and laws. Using the web to give feedback to the law and policy makers, directly from the people, who on a daily basis are in contact with the consequence of the law. The initiative is “designed to promote open discussion of ways in which the aims of existing regulation can be fulfilled in the least burdensome way possible.” “…The default presumption will be that burdensome regulations will go. If Ministers want to keep them, they have to make a very good case for them to stay.”
This I believe is the real beginning of a change in democracies where the engagement of the citizen in the governing of democracies is changing. And where the key to the future of a 21st century society lies in its ability to implement this strategy with its citizens.
I think the most important thing any free society can do right now – big or small – is to use the power of social media to leverage the distance between policy makers and it citizens in the most concrete way imaginable.
To be a citizen in the new world you will have to participate – because “goverment is what we do together” in a democracy.
Forget social media – this is a global citizen movement.
Image from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wader/74677334/