Digital divide: cause or effect?

It is beyond challenge that there is a digital divide.  It has been less clear to me whether the existence of that divide is is something to be concerned about in its own right or whether it is an indicator of broader social problems – and so whether it is the symptom or the cause […]

A tale of three gurus

Months can go by without encountering a single guru, then before you know it, three come along in a single week (actually there were more, but they were so thick on the ground that some I merely brushed past on staircases, rather than hearing them speak). Second of the three was Howard Rheingold, famous as […]

Digital exclusion – Michael Jackson memorial edition

Hard on Martha Lane Fox’s speech at Reboot Britain yesterday – with a fuller account in today’s FT – comes a piece by Eszter Hargittai on the tacit social exclusion in access to tickets for the Michael Jackson memorial service: Having the chance to win a ticket … required Internet access at several levels. First, […]

Rebooting into touch

I have mixed feelings about a day spent at Reboot Britain.  I am glad I went:  I saw some interesting material and had some interesting conversations.  But I also found it quite frustrating.  The event as a whole seemed perpetually to be on the verge of breaking into a rich discussion, but it never quite […]


There’s always a gap between the short-term results of a well-polished system and the first results of a switch to a more efficient one. If you stick with that thing you’ve worked so hard to perfect, the next few hours or weeks or months will surely outperform the results you’ll get from the new thing. […]

What would it take to put government in orbit?

Things go wrong.  Processes don’t quite work.  The requirements change before the software is finished.  The deadline is approaching so the scope is reduced.  The system isn’t quite as scalable as the vendors claimed.  The training was designed to support the original design, not what has actually been implemented.  There are seventy six legacy systems […]

Using the internet

The latest Oxford Internet Survey was published a couple of weeks ago.  It’s been going every two years since 2003, so starting to build up an interesting picture over time. There’s a splendid summary by somebody called Paul Reynolds writing from New Zealand which is rather more user-friendly than the one in the report itself. […]

Information powers on

The Australian Government has just announced a Government 2.0 Taskforce, which seems to be getting some of the same sorts of reactions as our own Power of Information Taskforce – that it is an establishment fix, that it needs to deliver instant radicalism, that it is a huge opportunity ready to be taken.  I know […]

Another voice of government

I wrote about the voices of government last month – five categories of public sector bloggers, with the fifth largely empty.  Step forward John Duncan who blogs and twitters in his role as UK Ambassador for Multilateral Arms Control and Disarmament. In my earlier post, I had the FCO bloggers in category 3 – People […]

User centred abdication

The idea of user-centred design is now so prevalent that it scarcely needs any introduction.  In this modern world of customer focus, who could be against it?  I am in no position to knock it –  this blog has a set of posts labelled user-led design.  There is a risk, though, that it all gets […]