Realising The Full Potential Of Computing

starting by reshaping government around citizens

Today’s ubiquitous computing network is one of the most powerful machines ever created by man.

However, the way it is currently being used is only scratching the surface of its potential, particularly for public services, as explained in the diagram and bullet points below.

The case for community software for public services is as follows:

  1. Computing comprises of two major components, the hardware platform, a general purpose technology, and application software, the value-adding component.
  2. The Web changed the hardware platform from the computer to today’s ubiquitous computing network.
  3. Before the Internet, business software added value by enabling supply-side automation within organisations, e.g. payroll.
  4. The Internet has since been used to add value to business software by passing data using messaging hubs, and then the Web enabled more value 
     to be added through Web front-ends.
  5. Crucially, the Web also enabled community software, adding value by enabling geographically dispersed communities designed around the demand-side, e.g. eBay and Uber.
  6. The current strategy for governments, and most businesses, is to continue to try to add value to business software.
  7. The optimal strategy for governments is to create community software designed around the citizens.
  8. The basic healthcare episode is a good example, with a single healthcare community application designed around the patient episode REPLACING 
     thousands of disparate applications operating in the UK today in GP surgeries, pharmacies and hospitals managing subsets of the process.
  9. In terms of benefits, community software is much more democratic, efficient and effective than business computing could ever be.
  10. Realising the full potential of public service computing requires a fundamental transformation: democratising public services, by replacing business software with community software.
  11. This is a historic, once-off opportunity to reshape government around the citizen, the sooner the optimal strategy is adopted the better.

It is difficult to see what the counter-argument might be, but HISL would be more than willing to debate any alternative. To ensure open and transparent debate, please add any comments and/or alternative suggestions below.

Finally, the approach required to create community software for public services is very different from today’s “agile hacking” and is more akin to the approach used to create the large, complex artefacts of the Industrial Age. See here for more detail. Again, please feel free to propose alternative approaches, this is a fundamental, once-off transformation and it is vital that the most effective and efficient approach is deployed.