Russia does not need to vainly repeat the experience of developed countries in the area of governance, particularly since at present they are experiencing the same problems, though to a lesser degree, he said.
In Russia, the problem of effective governance is historical, Gref said. The two traditional Russian questions: "who is to blame?" and "what is to be done?" point to the original ineffectiveness of problem solving in the past and the lack of an answer to the question of what needs to be done to correct the situation, he writes.
The absence of an effective system of governance leads to greater dependence on the leader of the country or region, Gref believes.
"It has now become obvious that a breakthrough in the area of effective and quality work of the government is possible if we involve the energy, activism and intellect of our not indifferent citizens in this work," Gref said.
Russia has no other resource in the area of governance, but the country's reserves of social energy and collective reason are huge and are on a par with the potential of developed countries. Russian citizens can solve any problem, Gref said.
"We must raise the question of changing the paradigm for the activities of government institutions, of the need for a governance revolution in which civil activism, expertise and oversight will become an integral part of all processes and phases in the formation of government decisions," Gref said.
He clarified that he is referring to the real and extensive involvement of concerned and competent citizens directly in the process of governance as lay experts, that is, as co-participants and co-authors of government decisions.
Two conditions are needed to implement this in practice, he said. "First of all, we need political will. Secondly, we need modern, high- tech systems. Their use is already possible based on the Internet. Such systems exist in the form of innovation technologies both abroad and here in Russia," Gref said.
Gref is referring to a new class of innovative network systems that fall under the umbrella of crowdsourcing, a process of tackling a clearly formulated problem by involving as many concerned people as possible and organizing their efforts so that a solution is found.
"Based on the methods of crowdsourcing we can create a new model of governance, a model for the 21st century. This goal is ambitious, but fully attainable," Gref said.
He said any system based on crowdsourcing includes four stages: involvement of concerned citizens in the problem solving process; organization and stimulation of idea generation; selection of the best proposals by the participants themselves; and selection of the best participants based on their contribution to solving the problem.
These four pillars of crowdsourcing are implemented in various ways in the form of special network software platforms for various types of problems.
The creation of such crowdsourcing platforms will be one of the main global trends in the development of information technology in the next 10-15 years, as well as in the technology of corporate and state management, and Russia needs to be at the forefront of this trend, Gref said.
He believes the implementation of this new model would set the stage for a breakthrough in the effectiveness of the country's modernization, economic growth and higher living standards, lower social tensions and improve public moral, and improve Russia's reputation in the world.
Gref said this is completely consistent with the position that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin voiced during the presidential election campaign.
A key result of the implementation of crowdsourcing systems will be the formation of a large pool of lay experts from among the best participants.
Government policy based on the broad application of the new model would lead to fundamental social shifts. The distance and estrangement between the authorities and the public would be reduced. New opportunities would be created for the career advancement of talented managers in a transparent system of social elevation. The accountability of government institutions would increase, and the moral and ethical climate inside these institutions would change, Gref said.