Apple is closed; switched off from the conversations about them. They keep their customers at a distance and go to remarkable lengths to prevent users from giving them ideas. As far as Apple is concerned, they know all the answers.
Apple products are also quite expensive. They charge as much as the market can bear – and sometimes more. So why is it that they are so popular?
It comes down to the user experience. The experience is so great that people will keep using it no matter how much of a pain it can be. It allows for the organization to still succeed, even if it is closed in its culture.
That being said, no level of government’s user experience is up to the same level as Apple right now.
Google, on the other hand, has a much more open culture. The company has a number of blogs and forums for each service it operates. Much of Google’s technology is open source, and it runs platforms for others to host and share their code, as well.
Google’s pricing model is much different than that of Apple’s, too. Instead of charging as much as the market can bear, Google charges as little as it can bear.
Google wants as many people as possible to use its products because that makes the product work better. As a result, Google’s products are often free, or as close to free as they can. Google is more of a platform or network than just a company that sells stuff.
Local Government needs to be more like Google than Apple.
It needs to listen to its users and develop and design services around their needs rather than deciding on its own what is best for them.
It needs to take the time to explain itself to its users, and set up feedback channels that feed directly into service design. In fact, communications, customer service and service delivery should all be part of one single process, with each element constantly updating the others.