A S Hardie's blog

Published by Parliament again

The House of Commons Public Administration Committee published the submission I made to their inquiry into the effective use of IT in Government. It gave me an opportunity to stress many of my favourite themes and assertions concerning procurement, risk, competence development, the headlong rush to ever-tighter integration, the obsession with process and the continuing lack of user involvement in system procurement and development and the almost total ignoring of the sociological context in which systems are installed and operate.

The full submission is available on the UK parliament web site here.

I have included the summary here for the impatient.

Support for the Toolkit Approach

Think this InfoWorld article strongly supports the proposal in my "Toolkit Approach to e-Participation" paper that the toolkit and community of practice building approach is the right way to go about opening up government and delivering cost-effective public services.

Walled Channels

You may have seen the stories about mobile operators modifying the content of Web pages accessed via their networks - so-called "transcoding" or "contact adaptation". You may also have seen the story about Vodaphone and Orange in the UK requiring Nokia to strip out the VOIP functionality in the N95, to stop users bypassing the mobile carrier for voice services.

What I think we are seeing is the first signs of responses amongst mobile operators worried about being disintermediated by WiFi in mobile devices and their carrier revenue stream collapsing.

Discovering Ciborra

Last month, I had one of those moments of discovery but, as is often the case, what I found was not what I went looking for. I attended an otherwise fairly routine meeting about Identity in the Information Society at LSE. During the lunch break, I picked up some special scientific journal issues at the LSE publication counter, all in memory of Professor Claudio Ciborra who had been a professor at LSE up until his untimely death in February 2005. Being an academic, little of his substantive work appears on the Web, which is why I found out about him too late. When I did, the overall impression I gained was of an important work left unfinished.

Tim Berners-Lee and Democracy for Difference Cases

With Tim Berners-Lee at the BCS Lovelace Lecture, March 2007

I was lucky enough to meet Tim Berners-Lee, last week, at the BCS Lovelace lecture in London. The lecture, predictably enough, was packed out but, curiously, only about thirty people bothered to stay for the reception afterwards. Maybe, they thought Tim wouldn't stay but he did and I got to talk to him for over half an hour.

In his lecture, he spoke about his recurring theme - the Semantic Web - as well as some newer ideas like Web Science and what he called "The Challenge of Inter-creativity", when he mentioned something that struck a chord with me: "New forms of democracy for difference cases".