Sunday, January 09, 2011

2011 Questions

To kick off the New Year, Barron's magazine runs a multiple choice annual quiz, this year titled "Reading the 2011 Tea Leaves". The prize is a subscription to Barron's and lunch with Andrew Bary in Manhattan (I'm guessing he's not going to pay my flight costs too in the very unlikely event that I win). Here's a sample of the questions:

4) The biggest financial surprise

a) S&P finishes with a 20% gain

b) Gold ends below $1,000 an ounce

c) Federal Reserve boosts fed-funds rate to 1% or higher, from near zero

d) Inflation lifts commodity prices by 15%

e) Treasury yields surge, 10 year note ends above 4.5%

13) What will happen in Washington

a) Obama's popularity surges

b) Sarah Palin emerges as GOP frontrunner for 2012 election

c) Courts block implementation of the health care plan

d) Strong economy adds two million payroll jobs

e) none of the above

14) What will happen abroad

a) Gold finishes above $1,700 on dollar and deficit fears

b) Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai is out as president

c) Frustrated Hillary Clinton quits as secretary of state

d) China's economy cruises and its stocks rise over 20%

e) EU monetary system collapses amid bailout crisis

f) none of the above

There are 17 questions in all. Such questions, properly focused, help you think through what you think is going to happen over the coming 12 months and establish a thesis for the year. In this case, it might tell you where you are going to put your money (or where you aren't going to put it) and, if some of the events happen, how you might react.

It occurred to me that a set of questions couched in the same way could help us think through how government IT will deal with the year ahead. I'm interested in crowd-sourcing and then publishing (and widely syndicating) a dozen or so questions so that we might see what everyone thinks will happen. A couple of example questions might be:

6) What will the first OGC gateway report published in unredacted form be

a) an historic NPfIT gate report

b) the last ID cards report

c) the gate 0 report for universal benefits

d) the gDigital report

e) Other ... please specify

9) Who will the new government CIO be, replacing John Suffolk?

a) Someone from outside government who has never worked in government

b) Someone from outside government, returning after a spell away

c) There won't be a replacement

d) An existing Cabinet Office employee

e) An existing major department CIO

f) Other ... please specify

13) What will the first true gCloud application be that gets widespread adoption (>20,000 users in government)

a) email

b) a project-based collaboration tool, based around huddle or sharepoint or equivalent

c) an equivalent to facebook that allows profiles, random knowledge connections and pan-government conversation

d) a VOIP service that saves government money when, as Sir Philip Green said, "it's phoning itself"

e) Other ... please specify

Be interested in what people think of this - and if it works, I'll aim to get the questions out before the end of the month, giving everyone a couple of weeks to reply.


  1. Hi Alan

    I've posted your G-Cloud question to the Conservative Technology Forum on Linked in. It's an Open Forum now and includes the likes of Richard B and so you are most welcome to contribute.

    best wishes


  2. Anonymous11:18 pm

    I think the question should not be about supply but demand.  So will Cabinet Office force the departments that have signed up to GCloud strategy actually step up, stop building internally and adopt GCloud services if the suppliers invest to create them?