Implementation and Management Approach
The initiative relies on it's open character in terms of contibutions from numerous governmental organizations, professionals within both public and private sector and last but not least the participation of civilians presenting themselves based on individual "special interests".
The collective of Civil Servant 2.0 initiaves relies on "the power of crowds" and "open environment". As a result, it's network growth is organic, establishes consistent widening variety of topics/discussion and a sustainable continous improvement in terms of the quality in content.
This also leads to additional deepening and expansion of discussion and learning within the generic peer-group(s). As a result, the intensity of moderation and guidance on the online channels of the collective remains relatively limited leaving room for continuous development for/by core-contributors.
Civil Servant 2.0 is using free social media sites, e.g. a network site (Ning), a blogging site (WordPress, self hosted), a wiki (Wetpaint), etc.
Next to that other online services are used, e.g. Google Groups, MailChimp, FeedBurner, Disqus, etc.
We have used 'Best of Breed' web 2.0 products, all of them are either open source software, or are SaaS (software as a service) products with an advertizing revenue model.
This means that the investments in software and services are extremely limited; which made it possible to start en grow this initiative on a purely volunteering basis. Both public sector and private sector involvement is on this basis.
For a comprehensive service offering, we have choosing the following products and platforms:
- WordPress weblog (wordpress.org, implemented as www.ambtenaar20.nl) hosted at a webhosting company, This is the main user interface, it ties the other products together
- Ning community SaaS-platform (www.ning.com; implemented as http://netwerk.ambtenaar20.nl)
- WetPaint wiki software SaaS-platform (www.wetpaint,com); several wiki's have been implemented with this platform, e.g. werkplaats.ambtenaar20.nl.
Using the menustructure of the Ning and of WordPress, users can easily navigate to all these platforms, and access the comprehensive functionality with no need for any training. This ease-of-use enabled the rapid growth of the community (about 15% growth/month, one of the fastest growing Dutch Ning communities).
Some future developments that are planned:
- During 2009 we will enhance the ease-of-use by introducing some market leading modules for authentication (a combination of Google Friend Connect and/or Facebook connect and/or OpenId Hyves connect and/or Twitter OAuth authentication), and and comment management (probably www.disqus.com). This is currently under investigation. Usage of these platforms is free-of-charge.
- Complete integration with the emergent microblogging platform Twitter. This will enable users to more easily give comments on blogposts, which will probably lead to a higher growth rate (in number of users, number of posts and dialogues).
Some other out-of-packet expenses are:
- hosting the WordPress weblog, - developer license for the Thesis WordPress template ($187);
- one-time expense for eliminating the advertisements at the Ning community site (EUR $29 per month);
These expenses are carried by various members of the community, a clear sign of the commitment of these members.