Today I co-facilitated a session on Governance with Daniel Kaufmann, the Director, Governance and Anti-Corruption World Bank Institute. In his post before the session, he distinguishes between e-government and m-government:
...But e-government, focused on government services, has under-emphasized broader aspects of governance, particularly those where citizens and institutions outside of government play a key role. People have not been at the center of e-government, and e-government applications have often been static and immobile, relying on IT infrastructure which is out of reach for most locations and citizens in developing countries.
But the good news is that recently a dynamic IT-revolution has been afoot, placing the citizen center stage. It is m-governance, or ‘Governance-on-the-Go’ (GonGo), with the focus on (mobile) governance rather than only on government. ’GonGo’ is enabling open, fluid and interactive ways for people to relate with each other and with institutions, including civil society and NGOs, the private sector, media, parliaments, and also public institutions.
Daniel frames the opportunity to put people in governance through mobility, and for good reason. Africa has 20% mobile penetration and 80% of the population has access to the network through those with mobile devices. This bridging function is common in the developing world and has its own design considerations (see Genevive Bell's research).
Daniel went so far in the session to suggest there may be a Twitter for governance for the 3rd World (he also said there was really four worlds). Picture open source identi.ca with a specialize mobile interface. Not just as a tool for communication across citizen networks, or flash mobs, but for governments to communicate internally and with citizens.
I'll try recap the session in another post.