I first came across the idea of “government as a platform” when I was interviewing Tim O’Reilly last year year. Tim’s quickest way of explaining “gov as a platform” was using the iPhone as an analogy: i.e. just as the iPhone’s value has been optimised by opening up the iPhone platform to a legion apps (provided by 3rd parties), so government should do the same to optimise its value.

What *government as a platform* might look like in practice therefore, is a government opening itself up (from a data, policy and function perspective) and letting (social) entrepreneurs build apps (real or virtual) to help facilitate the various functions of government in a more effective / efficient way.

As a way of explaining this, we’ve developed up an infographic to show how *government as a platform* could work [see below] from an open policy-making perspective – as this is our specific area of interest.

Possibly the two most interesting *layers* in this model to consider are the *app* and *delivery* layers, as each of these are arguably best produced by 3rd parties – social entrepreneurs or the 3rd Sector.

This is model is increasingly being adopted by the UK government (with its Big Society initiative) and from my travels is something that’s also emerging in Australia too.

Excitingly for us, we see ourselves fitting into the *app layer* with our plethora of digital democracy apps and also from an overall *platform perspective* with our Citizen Space platform, which can be used to manage the whole process from an engagement perspective.