A civic-social platform for a new kind of citizen duty

Dirk Jan van der Wal at OpenSource.com: “In the Netherlands a community of civil servants has developed an open source platform for collaboration within the public sector. What began as a team of four has grown to over 75,000 registered users. What happened? And, why was open source key to the project’s success?
Society is rapidly changing. One change is the tremendous development of Internet and Web-based tools. These tools have opened up new ways for collaboration and sharing information. This is a big change for our society and democracy, having an impact on our politics. How does government change along with it?
A need to change the way government organizations worked and civil servants interacted too could not be ignored. Take for example, politicians resigning because of one tweet! Meanwhile, government organizations continually face the challenge of doing more with less funds. I think this increased the need to cooperate and share knowledge; it was not longer feasible for smaller communities to maintain knowledge on their own.
The question became: How do we cooperate in an efficient manner?
In the Netherlands, we have over 500 different government organizations: departments, city councils, provinces, and so on. All these organizations have their own information and communications technology (ICT) environment. So, with a growing network and discussions around multiple themes, it became clear that one of the basic requirements for cooperating efficiently is having a government-wide platform for people to communicate and work from.
So, a small team of four started Pleio for Dutch civil servants and citizens to meet each other, have discussions, and work together on things that matter to them.
(Pleio translates loosely in English to “government square.”)
As in real life, citizens and government officials work together across various teams, groups, and networks to think about and do work on projects that matter. Using the Pleio online platform, citizens and government officials can find and then engage with the right people to collaborate on a project or problem…”