Much has been made of the decision by President Obama to include Congress on the decision whether or not to attack Syria after their use of chemical weapons on their own people. No matter what side you come down on around these events and choices, the one aspect for me that stood out in all the dialogue was that the House and Senate needed to travel back to Washington D.C. to get anything done. In a country that prides itself on innovation and technology, it is really sad that we don’t have a legislative body that can get things accomplished like we do because their are unable or unwilling to transact their business online.
I understand the need for face-to-face meetings and the rules of the House and Senate. I realize the tradition and protocols are there for a reason. But, in the business world around the USA and the rest of the world, so much of what we do need to do requires online technology or it would be prohibitive or impossible to actually accomplish. We often don’t have the luxury to delay for a more optimal setting or location. Because of this need, there are many services now that cater to the needs of online collaboration, communication and synchronous decision-making across large groups of teams and organizations.
If I was a VP or Marketing over at WebEx or GoToMeeting, I would be dishing-out the free accounts. Or, at the minimum, running some better commercials around the fact that your business should be collaborating better the Congress can. I would love to see legislation over at GitHub. I would love to see Congress have the ability, in a non-emergency but yet critical time-frame, to be able to do a web conference or teleconference and do up and do votes for critical legislation like companies do everyday to meet our deadlines and stay competitive.
The requirement that a physical presence is still required to get things done is no longer reality. The Internet is not just a series of tubes. What will it take to get the Congress to innovate and use effective tools to work together and deliver for those that are already collaborating in new and innovative ways? It’s time to step it up.