Strengthening Democracy using Real Time Governance

Real Time GovernanceWhat is real time governance?

Real Time Governance is an ideal democratic and citizen empowerment process where citizen involvement is amplified using online feedback platforms such that “opinion” translates into governmental policy.

The first such initiative was launched by the the Obama Administration in 2009 under the name of Open Government Initiative (OGI). This created the framework for subsequent citizen involvement platforms under OGI such Change – a citizen petition online platform, Challenge, Open Data and more!

Citizen experience and feedback management

Sometimes, policy initiatives started by one entity are implemented even better by others. While the Obama administration laid the first foundation work for real time governance, other nations have taken it much further towards true implementation in policy making. For instance, in Dubai, the government has set up one of the World’s most “measurable” scores for “citizen happiness.” Its simple but highly insightful Citizen Happiness Meter a simple Net Promoter Score (NPS) or Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) survey to get powerful feedback on citizen satisfaction.

One of the critical reasons why this program has been so successful in Dubai is because the government understood something – citizen satisfaction must be prioritized as highly as customer satisfaction.

However, if a nation wants to truly create a real time governance platform – they need to focus on comprehensive citizen experience and feedback mechanisms where metrics for each industrial sector have to be different.

Specialized insights with specific industry-based feedback surveys and polls will play a far greater role in drilling down into the specifics of citizen experience.

For example, a person in the Mining industry will be far more involved in providing valuable feedback to the government if the survey questions are specifically oriented towards understanding pain points and satisfaction for people employed in that specific industry.

Similarly, most questions for the Mining industry will be irrelevant for the IT industry where a different set of questions will be required to get a comprehensive understanding in the software industry.

How to make real time governance truly effective?

The simplest answer will be – through a complete 360-customer satisfaction metrics mechanism for citizens. This doesn’t just mean sending a generic poll to people asking how their day went using public resources – it means that a government needs to deploy comprehensive feedback collection and management platform.

In a broader sense, there need to be two types of citizen feedback mechanisms for it to be truly effective:

Citizen feedback for private resources: This is particularly geared towards understanding employee satisfaction with organizations, how fairly private businesses treat employees, do their companies follow minimum wage policies, work hours, access to maternity leave and so on. This will also include satisfaction while using and purchasing basic consumer products from private businesses.

What is important to note here is that private businesses stand to gain (not lose) through governmental oversight. Private businesses depend on customer satisfaction to drive their businesses and if the government can provide additional industry insights as well as benefits for serving people well, it’s a win-win!

Citizen feedback for public resources: Public resources feedback will cover all resources controlled by the government and utilized by the people. This includes all public sector businesses and public resources such as parks, sanitation, transportation and so on. Historically, public sector resources are viewed as inefficient and inadequate by most users of these facilities. A citizen feedback mechanism in real time governance is the key towards identifying pain points and creating action plans for effective implementation of solutions.

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