How do you get a small entrepreneur in northern Sicily to navigate through the maze of government bureaucracy, tap into the creative juices of an architect or a musician and submit a successful funding proposal for a government-funded development project?
With perfect timing, coinciding with the release of the latest Doing Business report, Alberto Cottica from the Italian Ministry of Economic Development (and, most importantly, a regular follower of this blog!) explains in an interview how Second Life is helping budding entrepreneurs around the country make sense of arcane government procedures (all too needed, given that Italy ranks 78th on the ease of doing business). The goal is to get these entrepreneurs to participate in development projects they would not normally get engaged with. This is all the more important since "creatives" such as musicians or designers are often intimidated by "bureaucratese."
Alberto provides yet another example of social innovation in a developed country that has potential applications in a Development 2.0 context—yet, as I noted before, the two discourses are unfortunately still running largely on parallel yet separate tracks. Bandwidth is an obvious challenge when it comes to a platform like Second Life. However, coming from a presentation on Understanding Islam through Virtual Worlds at the Gov2.0 Expo earlier this week, this seems to be an avenue that’s worth pursuing.
(Then again, here's one story to bring us back to reality!)