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Alexander Schellong, a senior consultant with CSC’s public sector management practice, and Philipp Mueller, director of the Center for Public Management and Governance at the Salzburg University Business School, write in the Harvard International Review on the fundamentals of network society.

“In the sixteenth-century, Machiavelli, a senior policy advisor in the city-state of Florence, Italy, became one of the first thinkers to address the new formations of political power that developed with the advent of modern society. In his seminal work, the prince, he argues for the importance of influencing public opinion. For Machiavelli, attaining the positive opinion of his subjects is the precondition for political effectiveness. Machiavelli believed in the capacity of the people to judge the public good in various settings. [...]

Networked forms of societies are becoming serious alternatives to modern societies and we need to better understand them if we want to succeed in today’s complex policy environments. So in 2010, Machiavelli would advise the prince to build her power base around open networked communities, transparency, standardized interfaces and a bold move to just sail unchartered waters to test their boundaries.”

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