Transparent government

I have read three blog posts in the last few days which together strike me as indicators of a welcome trend. The first two were both from the new Government Digital Service blog, the first from Mike Bracken on his first few weeks in government as Director of Digital. It’s a very upbeat assessment, but […]

White elephants or white space?

Public sector organisations have a tendency to be elephantine. I suggested a few days ago that this was at least in part as a result of their size and age, rather than necessarily because being elephantine was limited to the public sector. In a comment on that post, Rik Barker challenged that view: I’ve been […]

The agility of elephants

It is well known that elephants cannot dance. It is less well known why that is. Helpfully, this year’s Royal Institution Christmas Lectures have thrown some light on the subject. Essentially, elephants have big fat legs because as size doubles, mass cubes, so proportionately fatter legs are needed. Mark Miodownik, the lecturer, demonstrated the effect […]

There is no such thing as the government

In the UK, we appear to have a government. It looks like a government, often talks like a government, and sometimes behaves like a government.  But you can’t really understand the way government works until you realise that it doesn’t exist. Bits of government exist, of course, lots of them. Sometimes we call those bits ‘departments’ and […]

What if bears had indoor plumbing?

The pope is a catholic, it goes without saying. But perhaps it would be better if sometimes he were not. When papal elections come round, there is always a little comment in the press coverage to the effect that the college of cardinals can elect anybody they please – they don’t have to choose one […]

From data to information… to insight?

4IP announced a new investment last week: Everybody has economic transactions with the government, whether outgoing in the form of tax, or incoming in the form of benefits, loans or grants, and in these times of fiscal austerity the project has widespread relevance by making the huge numbers we hear on the news mean something […]