Tell us what

Crowdsourcing is becoming a popular idea in policy circles – but it should be extended to policymaking itself.

Yesterday Michael Gove proposed a ‘wiki curriculum’. Last October the Cabinet Office launched its Tell Us How website for public sector workers ‘to get involved in helping remove the unnecessary burdens and bureaucracy that can get in the way of delivering first class public services’. This followed HM Treasury’s Spending Challenge to invite ideas for the 2010 Spending Review.

Government deals with complex issues. The wisdom required to respond to these issues is widely distributed, so it’s right that policymakers in the 21st century should experiment with ways to capture this wisdom.

But why stop there? Instead of just inviting responses to a pre-defined agenda, why not encourage the experts ‘out there’ to set the agenda – starting with better definition of the problems that policy is intended to solve.

There’s a big difference between Tell Us How and ‘tell us what’.


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