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The Ideas Campaign

March 12th, 2009 · 4 Comments · Collaboration, e-Democracy, Government 2.0, Ireland, Net-Gen, transparency, Trust, Web 2.0, Wisdom of Crowds

AMAS   consultant and Managing Director Aileen O’Toole recently launched a new incentive on the web in Ireland entitled ‘The Ideas Campaign

The Ideas Campaign

From the website:

The Ideas Campaign is about asking people for ideas to stimulate economic activity. It is challenging people in Ireland to be innovative and creative and to play their part in planning this country’s economic recovery.
We’re looking for ideas to:

•    Preserve and grow employment
•    Stimulate activity across key areas of the economy
•    Make it easier to do business in Ireland

Our campaign motto is simple – no whinging. The Ideas Campaign wants people to be positive, to think about the solutions and not the problems. We want people to draw from their own experiences to identify how Ireland can emerge from this recession and, particularly, compete on the world stage and earn export revenues.

I submitted a single idea to the website late yesterday afternoon with a simple suggestion.

Let others see and comment on the ideas being submitted to the website.

I am not sure if Aileen or her team were planning on revealing some of the ideas on the site anyway or whether my suggestion led to the publication yesterday evening of summaries of some selected submissions.

Some commentators are hailing the ideas campaign website as  ‘embracing social media’  which patently it is not.

In fact the very functionality of the site highlights an apparent misunderstanding of what social media is, and it misses a fantastic opportunity to provide a really worthwhile forum for interested parties to both submit ideas and suggestions for Ireland’s economic recovery, and also through this  forum, to see those same ideas challenged and debated and refined into better ideas…

…or else to see some ideas rejected , for reasons that other fellow participants  with different information or experiences may highlight.

The website explains that the best ideas as selected by an unnamed Advisory Group will be forwarded to government;

We have set up a small Advisory Group and invited a number of leading figures to participate. They bring a wealth of experience from the worlds of business, academia, economics and the public sector. The members of this group will be announced soon.This group will advise on the ideas we receive and how best to structure and present them in an action plan for government.

Again, whilst I admit the participation and guidance of experts and professionals is a good thing, I think that perhaps ‘the crowd’ should also have a voice in the selection of and refinement of some of these ideas. There are some excellent examples of large amounts of useful and intelligent debate on many subjects taking place on websites such as Boards.ie and Askaboutmoney.com, both of which use ‘forum’ type software to enable this ‘many to many’ debate.

I also feel that the use by the Ideas Campaign of social media such as Facebook is a little ill-conceived, as it is necessary to become ‘ a friend’ of the entity  ‘Ideas Campaign’ before you can contribute anything or communicate with anyone via Facebook,  becoming a friend on Facebook means opening up all of your privacy settings and private information (normally shared with your friends) to someone (or some group of people) that you do not know.

Instead it would be more appropriate to create a Facebook ‘Page’   where anyone can join by becoming ‘a fan’ and thus post and comment to the group or else to create a Facebook Group where again, Facebook members can join the group and comment on group forums.

Here is an interesting post by Tim Davies  on the choice between using Facebook Pages and Facebook Groups for Social Participation.

Twitter is also being used by the campaign semingly as a vehicle for releasing 140 character ‘press releases’ about the website, instead of offering an additional channel for debate and contributions.

Linked In is being utilised by IdeasCampaign as an ‘individual’ LinkedIn user, where again I feel it would be more useful to create a Linked In ‘group’    that individuals could join and use to connect and communicate directly instead of having to communicate through the ‘Ideas Campaign’ user.

I do not intend to be overly critical about these things, (and indeed I would be happy to assist with the campaign if my assistance was wanted) I merely hope that as there are 19 days remaining until the ideas campaign officially closes, and that as the campaign, through Aileen’s hard work and effort now has such a high profile, that Aileen and her team might decide to open up the debate a little and allow some greater transparency and participation, two things that have been missing in the public sphere in Ireland for quite some time..

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4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 mark // Mar 12, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    you can see here the lack of trust engendered by keeping all the contributions ‘private’ in addition to a legalistic and off-putting ‘Terms and conditions’. http://www.gavinsblog.com/2009/03/06/ideas-campaign/

    If all ideas submit to the site were visible, and were debated and commented on ‘in the open’ online those who originated ideas would be recognised and fears about lack of transparency and the Ideas Campaign organisation’s ‘motivations’ would be diminished..

  • 2 mark // Mar 13, 2009 at 9:05 am

    See also some more debate around the same themes here: http://www.valueireland.com/2009/03/im-still-not-convinced-by-the-ideascampaign/

  • 3 mark // Mar 13, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    The Ideas campaign is now trying to explain the intentions of its T&C http://www.ideascampaign.ie/no-need-for-warning-on-private-ideas/ when in fact if they enabled comments on their wordpress site, they would instantly reassure people that the process is transparent. The fact that they have no mechanism at all for public feedback is in fact the antithesis of social media..

  • 4 david fraser // Mar 23, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    Split all of the debt according to its basis .i all development debt put into one vehicle. Take all of the security used to secure this debt into the same vehicle. Each developer would be allowed to keep a limited portion of their assets if they give complete cooperation.

    get a team of Architechts , engimeers and business people to run this group.

    Allow this group to borrow to work through all of the different sites and all of the profits from thwe developments be used to repay the debt at whatever rate

    make sure that the plannig in all cases can be fast tracked on the basis that a good return on these assets will reduce the exposure for the state

    this could be done over say ten years and i believe this group could make a substantial profit.

    Any developer wishing to take advantage of this scheme must assist with site plans and any other expertise etc in order to avoid being made completely bankrupt

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