Collaboratory Government

Collaboratory Government

In many democratic governments, there are often two main political parties. Typically, these parties primary effort is engaged in disparaging each other, in the attempt to be seen as a better alternative; with the hope that their party will gain favour with the people of the nation and be elected into government in the next term, so that they may rule the nation. In many cases, their predominate interest seems to be their own self interest.

The current American debit crisis is a clear example of political self interest and one-up-man-shift at the expense of the American nation. In Australia, statements by the Labor opposition party during their leadership candidate debate about the Labor Party’s ability to ‘take out’ the incumbent Liberal party at the next election, is another example of adversary politics in action.

Often, the dominate political parties will become the focus of special interest groups who endeavour to promote their own interests through: professional political lobbyists (persons who get paid to lobby political officials) or former politicians; specialist interest groups (such as the gun lobby); and, by donations to political parties (often to both political parties).

The outcome is that many politicians are predominately self interested; and, who tend to cater for the needs of specialist interest groups. If a political party received a large donation from a special interest group which assisted them in gaining office. Then the political party is very likely to take the interests of the specialist interest group into consideration when framing its policy.

We support Bob Brown from The Greens Party’s suggestion to ban all political donations and instead have each party’s campaign funded only through the public purse, such as a political allowance. This will help create a level playing field and avoid the influence of special interest groups in policy development; allowing for policies that serve the nations interest, than the influential select few.

Utilising a model that works well for enterprise: large companies typically have a board of experienced and knowledgeable people who oversee the activities, establish broad policies and objectives, review how the organisation is run and is the supreme governing body for the organisation. Often bringing in specialist knowledge and experience to the organisation.  (1)

A supreme guardianship council already exists in some governments, such as in the Middle East.

We advocate that a similar setup of a board or guardianship council could be beneficial in a collaborative government.

Under our model of collaborative  government, all political parties would work together to constructively develop policy. (Rather than working destructively at disparaging each other.) Ideally a conscientious could be achieved. But when a conscientious is not achieved, then the governing council could give direction to the political parties, or a final determination. (Keeping in mind the people’s mandate when they voted for the party with the greater majority.) The governing council could be called upon for advice or they could have the role for approving or rejecting policies of the lower house of parliament. The governing council could work in isolation or within a presidential model of government. The selection of membership of the governing council could be determined by key specialist skills and experience that is needed in government, such as economics, science, education and governance.

A seven step method for policy development was recently aired on BBC’s ‘The Forum’:

    Leader expresses his vision to the people.

    People accept or provide feedback on improving the original policy.

    Small groups discuss, brainstorm and develop the policy further.

    Feedback is given to the leader in two 45min sessions, where the leader can ask detailed questions.

    Leader selects a group of specialists to discuss, brainstorm and further develop the policy, who provide feedback to the leader.

    Leader engages in dialogue with the people: to give feedback and determine whether the policy decision is right.

    Leader undertakes operational action to implement the final policy.

The current model of Adversary Government actually works to inhibit innovation; where the other political parties or individuals other than the incumbent political party, must wait for re-election before their innovative policies could be enacted. Valuable time is lost waiting, which puts the Country at a disadvantage.

Under our proposed form of Collaborative Government, all members of Government actively work together in the process of policy development and good government. Both political parties and others can simultaneously utilise the seven step method outlined above, in the development of policy. As such, innovation is not hampered by whether members of government are part of the incumbent party or not.

In the 21st century we live in a connected world. The internet provides unprecedented abilities for communication and collaboration. Government is able to gain insight and feedback in real time. There is little benefit in holding onto outmoded methods. Collaboratory Government is a means by which Government is able to achieving the best possible outcomes for the people and the Nation.


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