Harnessing the unexpected: a public administrationinteracts with creatives on the web
Tito Bianchi - Department of development policies, Italian Ministry of economicdevelopmentAlberto Cottica - Kublai, Italian Ministry of economic development
Regional development policy is supposed to foster new business. However, thematching between business projects and economic development policies turns out to bevery far from perfect because of the State
s lack of understanding of the merit ofcreative projects; of the interference of rent-seeking intermediaries; and of differences incommunication styles between the creatives and policy-makers. Trying to bridge thegap, the Italian Ministry of Economic Development launched an initiative called Kublai. Ithelps creative young people living in the lagging areas of Italy generate entrepreneurialideas and develop them into feasible projects. To do so, it adopted an uncompromisingweb 2.0 strategy, and found itself exploring the potential of the collaborative web inpublic policy.
Kublai has put in place and animates a small, mainly online community of peopleinterested in developing projects with economic development potential in the creativeindustries. It is meant to be a welcoming environment for those who want to discuss thegrit of creative ideas, where competence is rewarded, and transparency makes anyshared knowledge easily accessible.This experience shows that 2.0 methods can effectively yield results of public interest
that would be out of reach if the government had to rely only on its forces. Creativeindividuals ﬁnd in the project staff and in their peers the incentives to develop ideas intofeasible projects, while the most innovative projects ﬁnd partners and supportiveinstitutions online. Furthermore, as they validate each other
s ideas, evaluation andranking of creative projects (a notoriously tricky activity) spontaneously emerges as a
by-product of their interaction.Paradoxically, in order to exploit this potential, the government has to learn not to doeverything on its own, but enabling the initiative of outsiders and acknowledging its ownlimits. And a policy-maker needs to be very clear about the goals he is pursuing, toafford being so permissive.