Tag Archives: government

Ran into Stacy B. at Cogent Law Group (Washington DC) (http://www.cogentlaw.co/ ) recently and we were wondering if government contracts would be a reasonable use case for applying blockchain.

Let’s see…

  • Voluntary and distributed electronic participants … check.
  • Transfer of some sort of high value assets, ownership, or monetary units … check.
  • A process intensive flow of data (back and forth) that must have an audit trail … check.
  • Encryption desired… check.
  • Identity of participants matters to the transaction…check.
  • Eventual placement of contractual award of some sort with deliverables fully tracked through a detailed life cycle… check.

Yes… this is a fantastic use case.  In fact, Cogent Law Group, as a member of GBA will be leading our working group that tackles this topic.

For a full discussion on this, browse here:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/government-contracting-community-ready-next-tech-stacey

If you’d enjoy getting involved (i.e., contribute to the working group), please message [email protected]

 

Question:  what are the top criteria for a blockchain implementation—or smart contact that could serve the contracting officers in a governmental organization?  Please comment below.

Government adoption of cutting-edge technologies (such as blockchain) is sometimes oxymoronic; I can recall times in my own career when as soon as a federal IT program was declared “finished” it was also declared “legacy”.  Ouch.   Estonia, however, although the size of only one North Americna large city, say…about the size of Dallas, Texas, can still show us how to git ‘r done, in spite of their relatively small population:

http://fortune.com/2017/04/27/estonia-digital-life-tech-startups/

This article gives some great ideas; the progress made in Estonia should rightly earn their national government some top credibility.  Most importantly, they are using blockchain in ways that can be scaled to citizen populations of much larger sizes. This is key for the rest of us and I believe we can learn from their deployments, over the coming months.

Also, consider that in 2014, about one third of the US federal payroll would become eligible for retirement before the end of 2017.  One may wonder how many of these retirements may not be re-filled.  This means that at least the US federal government (among others, no doubt) will need to do “more with less”… perhaps much more.

Blockchain is perfectly fit for this task.

 

Introduction

This posting is for those outside of government organizations as well as those who are on the inside, and who desire to be a change agent.  The role of driving change and exerting leadership (as anyone who has tried it can attest) is only for the brave-hearted and thick-skinned.  These courageous individuals often are the first to take-on direct fire from an outside enemy and even “friendly fire” from others who should be assisting them.

We all know that government organizations are often the slowest of entities to adopt change; however, there is good news: citizens across the world are going to demand… and essentially force change as the digital clock keeps ticking.  When one considers that there are almost as many cell phone subscriptions (6.8 billion) as there are people on this earth (seven billion), it is not difficult to imagine a pent-up demand for government services that are more convenient, less expensive, faster and more secure.  Two of the drivers behind this are that machines talking to machines like never before in the history of mankind (e.g., the Internet of Things (IoT)), and the younger generation can and often do adopt these new digital appliances very rapidly.

Blockchain does—in fact, have much to offer.  But this kind of change will take time because blockchain is essentially an infrastructure level system.  This was pointed out by a Jan-Feb. (2017) edition of Harvard Business Review article; Iansiti and Lakhani opine that

“Blockchain is not a “disruptive” technology, which can attack a traditional business model with a lower-cost solution and overtake incumbent firms quickly.  Blockchain is a foundational technology: it has the potential to create new foundations for our economic and social systems.”

Much like it took the national and international telecom network providers four generations of network infrastructure in order to offer fiber-to-the-home and streaming video to the smartphone, it will take time for government entities to swap out the 1980s era software and networks (or pen and ink processes still used in some government agencies) and replace them with a blockchain centric one.

This is especially true for Western nations; it’s not too much of a risk to predict that nations where there were not deep investments made in telecom and networking infrastructure will actually leap frog over the United States and others, by continuing to erect cell towers and be able to adopt blockchain infrastructure very rapidly.

I prefer to keep a balanced view by reminding folks that many who are in the role of forecasting business and society trends, often overestimate what can happen in two years and underestimate what can happen in ten (attributed to Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft).

Thus, the rational posture is to acknowledge the journey and its challenges, while focusing on the desire of citizens to readily adopt almost any change that will improve their quality of life, even in small ways.  This trait is basic to human nature and it is undoubtedly on the side of blockchain.

So, there is no time like the present!  Why not begin now, informing your government officials at the local, state/provincial and federal level, that today is the best time to adopt positive solutions that improve your quality of life?

Let’s Get Started

Step 1 – Find a motivation for yourself that is both inspiring and “others-centric”.

It takes courage to want to help others to affect even a minor change, let alone to wade into unfamiliar waters where sharks, snakes, and other sharp objects may lurk.  However, change is not only necessary, it is imperative to survival—even for government entities!  Nothing of consequence in our world ever remains static, if for no other reason that humans are constantly seeking new experiences, efficiencies and benefits and their expectations getting higher each year.  Therefore, you and I as leaders must adopt an attitude of “I am here to help guide others into the future… and support the inevitable”.    You and I need to find a motivation that is “for the benefits of others, not ourselves”.

In America, we use the term “motherhood and apple pie” to refer to our American way of life and the value system that is now aproximately 200 years old (i.e., family, freedom, prosperity, quality of life, leisure time, etc.).   However, no matter where you live on Earth, there is plenty of motivation to improve the lives of citizens–even at very basic levels.  Let this be your motivation when selling blockchain.  Serving others is ultimately why we get out of bed in the morning.

Part 2 – coming soon.