Defining e-government

Do you think about your refrigerator and consider it "technology"? Of course not.

Do you think about your refrigerator and consider it "technology"? Of course

not. Maybe our grandparents did, but we don't. Today, when the Net Generation

thinks about the Internet, it doesn't consider it "technology." Baby Boomers

do, but to the N-Gen, it's just a way of life.

Don Tapscott illuminates those differences in his 1999 book Growing

Up Digital: The Rise of the Net Generation. The Internet is indeed turning

conventional wisdom on its head.

Think about it. Alternative suppliers are just a click away, so businesses

are obsessed with building strong customer relationships. Similarly, the

N-Gen has grown up knowing that they can't trust the authenticity of information.

As a result, they check sources on everything. The days of relying on the

broadcast media is over — at least for those entering the work force now.

To them, all sources are suspect until corroborated and analyzed, including

information provided by the government.

What happens to democracy in all of this? This largest-ever generation

is not going to make important decisions based on image or 30-second ads.

They are not comfortable being passive recipients of mass-media broadcasts.

They have become accustomed to continuous debate while constantly questioning

basic assumptions. They don't have any patience with hiding or obscuring

the information needed to determine truth.

But isn't this actually a huge boost for democracy? An informed electorate

is in the best interests of our society. We must be careful, though, not

to frustrate these new voters. They will participate actively in American

governance, but only if they can do so in a way that fits their around-the-clock,

multitasking, truth-seeking approach.

For those reasons, we should look to the Net Generation to help us define

"electronic government." A dot-com mentality is necessary as we experiment

with how emerging technologies can play a positive role in our governance

structures. We should expect that interim and eventual stages will be different

from the structure that is in place today.

What should we do to prepare?

* Develop a business model that will support a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week

operating capability, institutionalize the knowledge of the existing work

force and make room for ideas that are second nature to this emerging generation.

* Celebrate innovation. Establish a "Giraffe Award" — following the

example of Thurman Davis, the deputy administrator at the General Services

Administration — to recognize people who "stick their necks out." Let's

recognize agencies, programs and civil servants who try something new, even

if it fails.

* Create a union/management task force that includes members of the

N-Gen to identify how we can start to make the government more effective

and the work performed by civil servants more relevant to society today

and in the years ahead.

Getting ahead of this monumental generation shift will ensure that our

democratic system remains strong and that our government truly operates

in the service of the people.

—Piatt is the chief information officer at the General Services Administration.

MORE INFO

Other columns by Bill Piatt

"Internet, interagency"[Federal Computer Week, April 17, 2000]

"Citizens @ MyGov.gov" [Federal Computer Week, March 6, 2000]

"Embrace the new economy" [Federal Computer Week, Jan. 24, 2000]

BY Bill Piatt
May 08, 2000

More Related Links
X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.