Networks on the ballot
- By Bruce McConnell
- Oct 29, 2000
National elections change the networks and directions of governments, while
human and electronic networks help manage change and transform risks into
In 20 countries between now and January, elections will create opportunity
and risk. Elections can change the responsibilities of key officials and
the direction of e-government. Managing change in leadership and in the
policies and rules governing international e-commerce requires effective
Networks have always been integral to human society. Networking means
capitalizing on the knowledge, skills and influence of your contacts and
respecting the limits of your relationships. Organizations that understand
the interdependencies between their changing networks and business objectives
will lead in the New Economy.
The network model of working optimizes the intellectual assets of all
participants because information is shared globally but maintained locally.
Three ele-ments are essential in building and using this model: rewards,
reliability and results. Unlike older models that depend on slow, central
control of information, the network model rewards participants who share
information that is accessible, understandable and verifiable. Open self-disclosure
also builds the trust necessary to increase information sharing. Most importantly,
the network model increases speed and quality by enabling informed and interactive
During the Year 2000 fix, the network model created a virtual roundtable
that enabled government officials from 170 countries along with executives
from global companies and representatives from international organizations to collaborate on proposed solutions with equal voices and opportunities.
The International Y2K Cooperation Center encouraged countries to develop
Year 2000 Web pages detailing their readiness and contingency plans. Nations
that developed dynamic and informative pages early on and kept them current
were rewarded as companies and citizens who consulted those pages took actions
favoring the more-prepared nations.
That network continues, tackling information security and policy transparency.
In places where change is occurring through national elections, deregulation
and government restructuring special attention is paid to maintaining
reliable information on the local situation, such as who holds key positions,
the impact of short-term decisions and the potential impact on e-society
policy. Participants have an incentive to share information in the manner
For organizations that want to enhance existing networks or create new
ones, the network model can:
* Optimize intellectual assets by replicating best practices and avoiding
wasteful duplication across organizations.
* Increase return on investment by solving complex problems at the intersection
of business, government and technology.
* Open doors that build sustainable local partnerships and work collectively
across business and government.
McConnell, former chief of information policy and technology at the Office
of Management and Budget, is president of McConnell International LLC.