SXSW – Do Citizens Really Want Participatory Government?

The SXSW Interactive conference is so good because people also manage themselves in an interactive way. By that I mean, helpful concepts are often delivered from the user/participants in the room. There were many user comments, for instance, about this session, like …

“We should probably define by what we mean by participatory
Citizens are more interested in responsive government
Government was not designed to move fast”

This one really resonated for me, especially, being from Texas and currently hanging out in Austin …

Government should “pave the cow path”.

By that the user was referring to how cows trample the grrass to create a path toward the barn and dinner until its worn down to dirt/mud.

If government recognizes the direction people are taking to reach a goal, they can pave the path. Government’s role is to help people move forward faster and make the path more efficient. Governments can point more people to the road and help them reach societal solutions faster.