Alphagov – doing things differently

What a breath of fresh air the Alphagov project is. The project launched a prototype concept website for Government earlier in the week.

This is a web project doing things differently in Government, although on the project’s own blog they say they “… are not the first to tread this path” [in Government], they’re certainly one of the most high profile.

Aside from the agile approach, which has often been suggested as poorly suited to Government, what I love about this project is the openness. The frequent tweeting, ‘huddle-ing’ and sharing of details about the project, even before the site went live. It is a project not shrouded in mystery that seems not to be scared to take criticism and comment. They have fully adopted the concept of ‘open’ not just through using open source technology but also through their open engagement and collaboration with the public.

I love the ongoing conversations taking place on the project’s Get Satisfaction community, not only are the project team responding to comments and problems but the users themselves are finding solutions through dialog with each other.

Obviously, this approach makes logical sense, it is the public whom this website is supposed to serve, this is the ultimate model of a user-centered approach.

There is no doubt a long way to go with the project, but the initial stages have been very positive.