Posted by Teresa Carlson
Vice President, Microsoft Federal

(Cross-posted from the Microsoft FutureFed blog)

The Open Government movement, in all shapes and forms, converged today on the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C. for the first ever Gov 2.0 Summit, sponsored by O'Reilly media and TechWeb.  From geo-tagging and neighborhood apps to creating “government as a platform,” the topics are rich and diverse.  A highlight for me was the conversation between Tim O'Reilly and Microsoft’s Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie.  The two have known each other since the mid-90s and have been onstage together before. 

In an authoritative exchange, Craig reminded and encouraged us that even with the incredible changes we’ve seen in the last 20 years, there is even more to come in the next five years.  Decades where the personal computer was the platform were followed by the Internet, web browsers and email.  We’re now on the verge of an entirely new evolution of the user interface, with gestures and devices becoming integral to interaction.

As we apply this to government, Craig suggested that all of these tools can be put to use to make government services more efficient and available.  From health care to education, three areas of focus can drive government action: access (availability of services), outcomes (healthier, smarter, more efficient, etc.) and cost containment (improved processes resulting from technology advances).   

So where should governments focus?  And should they be doing more?  Craig noted that IT gives us a new set of tools, providing governments with higher ordered ways of programming and the wherewithal to bring about efficiencies and create value.  Data services become central to meeting new citizen needs through the inventive development of meaningful applications.

With parallel computing (the development of which has been in the works for more than a decade) and smart grid advances, to wireless and “the cloud,” the global marketplace will reward not only the public private partnerships that bring many of these ideas to life, but also the governments that act to ensure that innovations emerge. 

Enjoy the exchange between these two visionaries...

Check back on this blog tomorrow for more updates from the Gov 2.0 Summit, as we participate in meaningful discussions around openness and interoperability.  In the meantime, check out TechFlash’s highlights of what Microsoft is already doing to help make Gov 2.0 real for Federal agencies.