Directgov.com, the UK government’s one-stop supersite for citizens, has opened up idea generation by allowing developers around the country to share ideas on how to build a word-class online hub for all national government services. The Directgov site, which launched in 2004, reportedly receives more than 11 million visits a month.
Unlike President Obama’s digital initiative Change.gov (now Whitehouse.gov), which solicits ideas from citizens of all backgrounds on a range of topics, Directgov is recruiting ideas from the developer community for a specific challenge: how to make Directgov itself more innovative.
Through a new Innovate blog, Directgov is trying to engage the developer community in forming and expanding a platform that is opening up the UK government to more input from citizens. The Obama administration might want to engage developers more directly in a similar manner. The administration could make use of techies in developing novel applications and software to share government resources and information.
The Obama Administration prides itself on online community engagement. Perhaps it should take a page out of the UK’s digital playbook. Whitehouse.gov’s technology main page lists ensuring “the full and free exchange of ideas through an Open Internet” as a top priority. Perhaps the next step is to be specific and more goal-oriented about open-source initiatives, as Directgov seems to be.