Gov20: Less or more Lisa Simpson?

Posted: February 14, 2010 in Gov20
Tags: , ,

Gov20 sounds like a new buzzword, which means that it buzzes like a South African soccer arena full of vuvuzelas and is a word with a a meaning like a moving target. I will come back on great examples on Gov20 later but couldn’t wait sharing one personal opinion about them now.

The Gov20 applications I have seen so far focus on participation which is highly meritocratic and elitistic. Current projects involve Lisa but not Bart Simpson, and thereby gain little traction. We need more Bart and less Lisa.

On the other hand, some say that Gov20 initiatives will not have a lot of appeal for Bart. Ultimately, if you take democratic participation as a very fulfilling, but very challenging activity, requiring people to take difficult stands and think hard about entangled problems, the Barts are NEVER going to want to be involved. Even if he did get involved, Bart would not make much difference: he is out there in the impact distribution’s tail, which is – surprise surprise – a power law. So, given meritocracy, Lisas drive the system.

If this is right, perhaps what we should try to do, is to expand the space for the Lisas. Which is no small accomplishment, because in too many arenas Lisa has to watch on the sidelines, and all of the action is with Mr. Burns.


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