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Gov 2.0 Expo 2010: Tim O’Reilly, “Government as a Platform for Greatness”

Tim O’Reilly coined the concept of Government as a Platform in this presentation and documented in this book section.

He describes how traditional IT for government should become more like Facebook, Twitter and the other Internet pioneers who have been harnessing the evolution of the Cloud to become ‘platforms’, doing so for government would enable a shared infrastructure that enables more rapid digital transformations.

It inspired a train of thought that other visionaries built upon and that continues to this day.

Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, championed it in the UK, describing in this article how it’s a key design for tackling the large scale duplication of efforts and thus costs in Government IT. GaaP offers to eliminate these inefficiencies through a shared platform model.

Writing for Computer Weekly Mark Thompson asks ‘What is Government as a Platform and How Can We Achieve it?’ where he examines the key principles and how they might be implemented. In another he explores the distinction with Platforms for Government, one being still the traditional ‘cathedral’ mode of organizing government, versus the truly disruptive approach of ‘bazaar’ marketplaces.

In his Code for America video Tom Loosemore describes the background and philosophy in making it a central design model for GDS, the UK Government’s digital team.

As reported in this NextGov article Ed Mullen, a tech designer involved in developing many of these initiatives, offers a refreshed, detailed repeating of this same vision:

“This loosely-coupled ecosystem would have new pieces that are operated by the federal government that states can integrate with and use. It would utilize inexpensive commodity tools offered broadly in the private sector.

Microservices from companies would be employed where appropriate to provide functionality the companies are uniquely positioned to offer. Custom development would be reserved for situations where other options are not available. Application programming interfaces (APIs) would assemble all the pieces into user-centric products which would be deployed on cloud infrastructure.”

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