Marga van Rijssel is the Online Community manager and strategist at Politie 2.0.; the Dutch Police’s online community built on the Ning platform. At SMILE Conference she will speak about Ning, what it is and what you can do with it. She will address the Ning technique, how it works and how to build a Ning community. Managing the community you’ve built and how police benefit by community engagement on the Internet.

An extra special presentation at SMILE

In history there have always been moments of transition. There will be a break with former times; a transformation. And with a transformation always comes a paradigm shift. A change from one way of thinking to another. It just does not happen, but is driven by agents of change. After that the world is adapting to the changes and is organizing it self along new lines.

The industrial revolution is a transformation which was caused by the rapid development of new techniques and their application. This revolution happened in different phases. The upcoming of iron founding and steam power at the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century led to a switch from manual to mechanical manufacturing of goods. The major change happened in the textile sector. Particularly the textile industry has been the leading sector of the industrial revolution. The invention of the steam train in 1824 made the transport of goods easier and speeded up the industrialization. The coming of steal, electricity, turbines, internal combustion engine and oil characterize the second industrial revolution. Communication and digitalization characterize the third industrial revolution. New ways of communication that are upcoming from the end of the 19th century and the introduction of the computer in the middle of the 20th century make it possible to seek information almost everywhere in the world. Globalization is making its entrance.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” ~Charles Darwin

Every transition causes changes. The industrialization brought urbanization and an exodus of the rural area. Home industry made place for mass fabrication. People went working in fabrics. There was the upcoming of an new social class, the working-class. In the beginning of the industrialization there was a lot of resistance. There were straight riots of unemployed home workers, who were pressed out of the market by cheaper working new factories.

At this moment there is a transition going on to the information age. Acquire and canalize of information is more important now than the production of goods. The canalization and processing of information cultivates in the old industrial countries continues larger capital currents in comparison to the old industry. Besides the canalization of information there is the entrance of the word “network” or “community”. That is not a new concept, but never before networks did manifest themselves more powerful as nowadays. Network thinking is part of the new paradigm and seems to give an answer to the closed hierarchic organizations. Some people talk about a recession, but when you look from a longterm perspective a transition is taking place, the “digital revolution”. This transition changes society in a fundamental way. No one who sits in the middle of it, knows exactly how it tuns out. There are many questions with open ends on which no one knows the answer.

The digital revolution
According to Moore’s law the speed of computers doubles every 18 month. It is not the increase in speed it self that is interesting, but above all what you can do with this increase of speed. The internet is available for a broad public since the beginning of the nineties of the 20th century. An high speed broadband connection to the internet is since 2005 for almost everyone a possibility. Mobile internet is emerging fast. All kinds of applications that we thought impossible 15 years ago, now are impossible to think away. Think of email, online shopping en banking, reading the newspaper on the internet, the possibility to download films en music, blogs, Youtube, Google Earth, LinkedIn, Flickr, Hyves, Skype, Wikipedia, web-tv channels and push media. And this is just a small grab out of all the possibilities the internet has to offer. An invaluable amount of information lays within easy reach.

The fundamental change that is taking place in society, is not caused by political upheavels or economic developments, but by the digital revolution.

Home shopping is becoming more and more easier. Working at home is now already a possibility and will be normal in the future for lots of people. Communication via the internet changes the way of working together, the culture and manners. Hierarchic structures will disappear and giving way to networks where everything and everyone is connected. All people gradually get an IP number and are thus connected to the Internet. Man and machine are more and more integrated. Right now an important part of people always carries a cell phone to be accessible, to be able to chat and to have information available within direct reach, preferably location based. As the network becomes so intertwined, a trend can be observed that everyone has entrance to all information any time. Work and private increasingly run into each other. You can then say you don’t want to do home shopping or work at home. Past experiences learn that there is really no choice. What is technically and economical is justified, sooner or later will happen. People will stay shorter in one job. Jobs are constantly changing nature and content. The job of those who are educated today, does not exist at this moment. In the work someone does, technology will be used that has to be invented yet.

From Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 and beyond
The Internet of ten years ago was characterized by static webpages. It was only possible to look at information. The Internet looks like a very big encyclopedia at distance. The amount of mobile phones is little, but is increasing. This Internet is also referred to as Web 1.0.

In recent years there are coming more and more opportunities on the Internet to actively create, add and share information. People exchange information with each other within communities. The internet is used to co-operate. The term “prosurism” is introduced. The user is now a consumer as well as a producer of information. For consuming and producing information there are on the Internet many applications and tools available. This Internet is also referred to as Web 2.0, the social web.

As more information becomes available on the Internet, the Internet becomes more intelligent. Web 3.0 is called the intelligent or semantic web. The Internet breaks out of the computer en spreads it self over many other devices in an open environment. The Internet is thus not only available at fixed locations via PC or laptop, it also connects devices to the Internet. For example, a car can be connected to the planning of the garage and car parts are ordered based on sensors in the engine. In this way the Internet will be integrated in the physical world. It is everywhere and always available(‘ubiquitous’). Networks will be connected to each other. With tools like Twitter real-time information will be exchanged.

Web 2.0 and the Police
All changes that come with the introduction of new internet technologies, will lead to a new way off working in the broadest meaning of the word. It is about other ways of working together than now are usual, like sitting in the office together, having meetings and a altogether briefing and debriefing. The technologies that are now available make new ways off working together possible. The Internet drives the paradigm shift.

“In the struggle for survival, the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals because they succeed in adapting themselves best to their environment.” ~Charles Darwin

Web 2.0 has an impact for the police and the information organization of the police. The Internet offers new challenges, uncertainties, insecurities, and threats for public safety. Boundaries don’t exist anymore. The police cannot close the eyes for all these changes and can only confront all the challenges in an adequate way by going to work in a different way: “new crimes, new methods”. To establish this our organization should be constantly changing. From a closed culture to an open culture where it is common to work together and share information, from hierarchic communication to networking. Sharing information inside as well as outside the organization, national and international.

The police is an information intense organization. Police work is about data, information, knowledge and intelligence. Only a part of the information can be found within the information systems the police uses. A mass of information can be found on the internet. To use information to support the police work in the right way on strategic, tactic and operational level, space for innovation will be necessary. Police workers will have to get and be involved within the discussion about todays information systems, the future information strategy and internet strategy and the corresponding information services of the Dutch Police.

Police employees will have to get space en possibilities to think along about innovative applications that support police work in the right way. People that come with good ideas must have the feeling that their efforts will be recognized and rewarded. Managers will build a level of trust that is necessary to initiate and support this change of culture.

Two statements of Charles Darwin about change:

“In the struggle for survival, the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals because they succeed in adapting themselves best to their environment.”

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

Politie 2.0
On the Internet we have created an open digital community Politie 2.0. Politie 2.0, the possibilities of the digital revolution for the Dutch Police. This community has the goal through “crowd sourcing” to give as much people as possible the opportunity to think along and discuss about the present information services and the future information strategy and internet strategy of the Dutch Police. It is about the Police on the Internet, new challenges in a new age, Open Source, national and international collaboration, privacy, security, the utilization of web 2.0 tools, the meaning of web 2.0 for the police, innovation, change of culture, cybercrime, intelligence, the very complex information services, communication, cloud computing, twitter, participation of citizens in police work and about many other subject. The theme of Politie 2.0 is “We know more than I”. Everyone is allowed to think along and every contribution, how small it is, is welcome. All the information can be used by police corps in their own environment for example to organize information sessions.

In this way is has to be realized that there will be a solid and supported information and internet strategy for the Dutch Police. The goal is that there will be a discussion going on about the existing information services and how these can be improved. That a current stream of small innovations is under way. Small innovations that support police officers to do their work in the periphery of society and the security of citizens can improve.

On the digital community Politie 2.0 there is lot of information to be found about Web 2.0 and what it means for the Police. The information can be found in blogs, discussions, videos, links, photos, audio, recommended books, documents and presentations. There is even an online course about Web 2.0 tools linked to the site. There is not only online activity within the community, there are also offline meetings where information is shared. Upcoming events are published at the site.