As previously blogged, Agileware sponsored the Government 2.0 Public Sphere Event held in Canberra on June 22nd. Without a doubt it was a resounding success. I am humbled by the speakers that presented on the day covering a diverse set of topics, depth of research and experience.

Common themes throughout the day:

  • Geo-location and how everything can be associated with a location
  • Public servants need to be given permission to speak, without fear of retribution.
  • Information and data paid by the tax payer, needs to be made freely available to the tax payer. Free the information, for free!
  • Open access to data in open formats (open standards)
  • Creative commons licensing for information created by the Government for the public
  • Popularity of iPhone as the mobile web platform
  • Broadband access is not ubiquitous in Australia. Many rural communities still on dial-up (why?!)
  • Release early, release often
  • ePresence we need to secure our online identity
  • Twitter, twitter and more twitter

At the event, Minister Lindsay Tanner together with Senator Joe Ludwig announced the Government 2.0 Task Force.

This announcement was picked up by the media, from ZDNet

The Federal Government today launched a taskforce to investigate web 2.0’s ability to make government more transparent and increase community engagement.

I was also very proud that Nerida Hart spoke about the NRM project and specifically our work on the NRM Navigator and Evidence Base System which has been underway for close to 2 years now.

A big thanks to Senator Kate Lundy and Pia Waugh for inviting Agileware to sponsor the event and for organising a very stimulating and challenging day. Well done.

Related buzz on Publicsphere:

Some great photos of the event:

The text and slide from my 5 minute presentation is below. Apologies to those who attended on the day, I was very nervous about not fitting it all in!

Open . Social . Now

Public Sphere: Government 2.0 – Justin Freeman from Kate Lundy on Vimeo.

By Justin Freeman, Director, Agileware Pty Ltd. 22nd June 2009

Thank you Senator Kate Lundy for allowing Agileware to sponsor todays event and to also speak briefly.

The title of this talk, Open . Social . Now reflects my observations of the changing demands of both internal and external stakeholders on the systems they use to execute and interact with Government business today.

Open Social Now is about:

  • Open standards, open protocols, open access and open communications. Openness.
  • Utilising most powerful mass communication tool ever invented – the Internet, accessible by almost anyone on the planet. Individuals communicating with millions+. One to many, many to many. Social.
  • Happening in real-time, with an infinite and permanent memory of events. Accessible from any device. Information and events streaming to you, now.

I will briefly cover two case studies that support this observation.

Case Studies

Department of Defence, Navy. Task Risk Management System

Navy have procedures for risk management which are actively promoted and publicised. However, there are no standard systems prescribed for providing staff with a consistent methodology for applying the prescribed risk management procedures.

Agileware worked with a Directorate within Navy to develop a Task Risk Management System that incorporated both the risk management requirements as well as work planning and reporting features.

By using the system, staff achieve a high level of collaboration: sharing and capturing results of the tasks for others to use now and in the future. The Directorate can report on work, assign and track tasks as well as ensure all risks proceed consistently through the risk management workflow.

The system is open. Defence staff from other Directorates are encouraged to use the system to review the progress of risks and associated activities. All without having to be granted access or login.

The system has replaced traditional desktop applications, email and document management systems that promote information silos and capture information completely out of context.

Key features of the system include:

  • Web based, accessible from any desktop within Defence
  • Open access to the data without requiring an account
  • Push notifications through email subscriptions and RSS capable
  • In context, document sharing
  • In context, discussions which relate to the risk and mitigation activities
  • Task collaboration
  • Risk mitigation workflow process.
  • Real-time reporting

The system was 100% developed using open source software and licensed under the GPLv2. The software is Drupal and is available at There are no license restrictions or limitations on its use.

However, there have been many challenges with implementing an open source system within an IT environment that is very closed, outsourced and Microsoft-centric.

Use of the system is being expanded beyond the original Directorate with work in progress to make it available to all Directorates and with the strong possibility of being mandated as a best practice for risk management. The system has been in operation for nearly 2 years.

Australian Centre for International & Agricultural Research

ACIAR is an Australian Government statutory authority that operates as part of Australia’s Aid Program within the portfolio of Foreign Affairs and Trade. It contributes to the aid program objectives of advancing Australia’s national interest through poverty reduction and sustainable development.

ACIAR wanted an on-line workspace to seek synergies, capture knowledge and provide useful reference material to assist in maximising the outcomes from the research for projects in North Vietnam and the Philippines.

Agileware worked with ACIAR develop a community website standard for these and future projects. With the project members located in both Australia and throughout the world. The website brings together the project members to securely collaborate, share and discuss project-related information in a open environment.

Features for the community websites include:

  • Freedom to share, create and collaborate
  • Blogging by the community
  • Distributed and delegated authoring of content
  • View all activity on the website, new posts and new comments
  • Content is self moderated
  • Rapidly create open and/or closed groups
  • Shared calendar and events
  • Photos identify uses and humanise the conversation
  • Use both controlled taxonomy and free tagging or folksonomy taxonomies to categorise content
  • Subscribe via RSS feeds and fine-grained automatic email notifications
  • Google maps integration for geo-location of project events and information
  • Mash-up content from external sources such as Google Maps, Flickr, Youtube and others

The system was 100% developed using open source software and licensed under the GPLv2. The software is Drupal and is available at

The Philippines project website has 70 members and the North Vietnam around 30 members. Members are very active engaging in on-line discussions, posting blog entries, updating the calendar, creating project documentation etc. The enhanced communications between members has enabled not only greater visibility of their work but changed how they work and the outputs.

ACIAR are continuing to develop and grow their online community through projects websites.


These case studies include the concepts of Open . Social . Now

  • Open By utilising open standards and open source software; providing open access to information. Building on the work of others to rapidly create new works. Remixing information from external sources as required by the community. Not prescribing any specific software requirements or artificial limitations. Providing a platform where the information can be shared or integrated with other systems. The freedom to use, modify and distribute.
  • Social Providing a secure platform within which people can safely collaborate and communicate. Encouraging community conversation be it within the Department, Directorate or small project teams. Community taking ownership of the information. Continual change and growth as the community provides feedback.
  • Now Providing real time access to information and a permanent information source. Notifying users as information is added or updated. Creating a timeline of events. Being constantly available and accessible from any device on the network, regardless of operating system or web browser.

Thank you.

NRM Navigator, Presentation by Nerida Hart from Land & Water Australia

Very proud to listen to Nerida Hart include the NRM Navigator website, which was Agileware developed in partnership with Land & Water Australia using Drupal on a open source platform.

Public Sphere: Government 2.0 – Nerida Hart from Kate Lundy on Vimeo.

All presentations from the Public Sphere event

View all the video proceedings from the Government 2.0 Public Sphere event hosted by Senator Kate Lundy on Vimeo. Includes the announcement of the Australian Government 2.0 Taskforce by Minister Lindsay Tanner and Minister Joseph Ludwig.

About the author Justin rotate

Director at Agileware. Justin has been developing and supporting software since the 90s. A strong advocate of free software and good customer service.

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