US Government, There’s An App for That

Tim O’Reilly, popular for the O’Reilly series of tech books, has an interesting idea: make the US Government function more like the iPhone.

The best way for businesses and developers to think about Government 2.0 as a platform is to look at Apple and the iPhone, according to Mr O’Reilly.

“With government procurement it’s about working with the same group of people and saying we are going to work with trusted partners and them saying here is our handful of offerings.

The iPhone has spawned thousand of apps

“The iPhone comes out and Apple turns it into a platform and two years later there is something like 70,000 applications and 3,000 written every week. They have created a framework and infrastructure and that is the right way we should be thinking about government,” said Mr O’Reilly.

He said past examples of how the government had excelled as a platform were the internet and GPS, the global positioning system, which were both government-funded projects.

I agree with him, in principal, only because I think he has a point here even if his metaphor is a little off the mark. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has repeatedly said, “Government does not create jobs, it only creates the conditions that make jobs more or less likely.” There’s truth to that and if the US Government created something more of an infrastructure than a buddy network, maybe we’d see private sector growth explode.

Then again, this could never work. All that data being hard to find and read is a feature, not a problem. At least not to the government. Making things easy to discover would keep politicians too honest and the public too informed.

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