Big Ideas About the Future of Government

It’s still too early to tell what all of this idea generation, foresight sharing and insight tagging will add up, but a couple of themes are starting to emerge from my explorations of the nearly 1000 cards that have been played in just the first three hours.

First, there is an almost bottomless well supplying a constant stream of ideas about how technology can improve how government works. And a lot of them revolve around the use of predictive technologies to anticipate citizens’ needs and pre-emptively offer or re-calibrate services. It’s ironic, because while so much of the “govtech” community is driven by techno-lbertarians who are looking to downsize and outsource government, these cards are showing the broad spectrum of futures in which new technologies allow us to dramatically expand the role of government in people’s lives, but do it in carefully-calibrated and deeply beneficial ways.

Nudges are a popular tool. For instance, Moose suggests using pre-emptive home energy audits to target incentives to get wasters to conserve more.

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Education, which is the subject of a new IFTF research initiative, is a topic that’s generating loads of ideas. Both teaching and learning are due for anupgrade. “When educational needs are not met, an alert is sent to a group of volunteer educators that provide either in-person or virtual extra help” writes charles_schultz

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Big data will play a starring role in the schools of the future, if nmtrapp is right, “Data driven educational system that is highly customized to students’ abilities and interest.”


Entirely new platforms that will give governments an intervening role in the lives of many, such as disabled persons, are on the horizon. Gaude says “Augmented reality interfaces allow blind people to have virtual service dogs.”

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And in Stockholm, where the e-Adept system combines ultra-high-precision navigational tool with computer-synthesized speech instructions, this future has already arrived.

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