In line with the Open Government Directive released by the Obama Administration last December, 23 Federal departments and agencies have recently established open government websites, through which they can engage the public and increase agency transparency. These new sites include the latest news, data and information related to fulfilling the President's calls for a more open government. They also allow visitors to provide feedback on each agency's open government plan, and ideas on how agencies can be more effective and efficient. The open government sites will remain open until March 19th.
Visitors can access the list of open government sites through USA.gov. The public can also track user activity on the open government sites through OpenGovTracker.com.
As more people visit, interact with and provide feedback to these sites, the agencies that host them will be able to improve services and foster greater engagement with the public.
This dialog provides everyone who visits with the opportunity to influence the future development of the Federal government's web-based information hub, USA.gov. Since December 16th, Federal employees and members of the general public have been adding ideas and engaging in discussion around how the Federal government should develop its web portal.
When you visit, be sure to check out the two most recent discussion topics, "Most Frequently Accessed Services" and "Would you use a personal account on USA.gov?"
Make sure your voice is heard and visit Your Voice Matters today.
Data.gov is an online hub for government information that was launched last May to achieve the administration's goal of increasing transparency in government. In order to fulfill its mission, the site provides descriptions, information on how to access, and tools that leverage datasets from agencies within the Executive Branch of the Federal government.
The launch of this dialogue represents a milestone in open data. Through this initiative, the Federal CIO Council is encouraging the public to get actively involved in the development of what is certain to be a key component of a wider government transparency effort.
So please, visit the site, participate in the dialog and help the administration achieve its goal of a more open and transparent government.
The release of the Open Government Directive is an exciting development that represents a great stride by the administration towards making government more open and transparent. We encourage you to read the Open Government Directive for yourself, and learn how the President's Open Government Initiative will be implemented.
On Thursday, November 12th, GovLoop launched their new charitable initiative, the "AwesomeGov" Fund. GovLoop is asking users to nominate and vote for their favorite non-profit organizations. When the contest ends at 11:59 pm on December 15th, the organization with the most votes will receive $1 for every new person who has registered with GovLoop during the contest's operation.
So please sign up, tell your friends and vote! With your support the National Academy can benefit from GovLoop's innovative approach to philanthropy.
The "AwesomeGov" Fund page is easily accessible through GovLoop, or directly here.
Washington Life Magazine's Creative List highlights individuals from the Washington Metropolitan Area who are leaders in their field. On Sunday, November 8th, the Creative List recognized a number of New Media leaders from the DC area.
The Department of Defense released a memo clarifying its guidelines for the use of open source software. Deputy Chief Information Officer, David Wennergren, has informed DOD administrators that they should evaluate open source software according to the same standards they use for proprietary software. Wennergren complimented open source software for its flexibility and stated that he would work with DOD staff to overcome any barriers that may exist to adopting open source solutions.
This memo does not represent a new policy, but rather a clarification of an existing one. Earlier guidelines led some to believe that any open source code written for a DOD project would have to be released to the public, when it is actually up to the department to decide if software developed for internal purposes is released. This memo supersedes a DOD memo on open source software written in 2003.
If you are interested in this story, Guy Martin, owner of DOD's open source Forge.mil community, recommended this blog post on twitter.
Federal News Radio this week broke the news that the Department of Homeland Security plans to expand the Transportation Security Administration's IdeaFactory, a web-based idea generation tool open to all TSA employees, to DHS as a whole.
IdeaFactory has been extremely successful in soliciting ideas from frontline workers in TSA on how to improve agency operations. We at the Collaboration Project have been big fans of IdeaFactory for a long time, and we commend DHS for this move!
Also visit our case studies section where we have highlighted IdeaFactory as one of the best examples of the benefits of collaboration and engagement in government.
Twitter usage is increasing among teenagers and young adults, according to a new survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. The survey found that 37 percent of 18-to-24-year-olds now use the microblogging Web site, compared with just 19 percent in December 2008. Still, the median age of a Twitter user is 31, a figure that has remained stable over the past year, the survey found.
And while Twitter is getting younger, the survey found that Facebook is graying a bit: the median age for Facebook users is now 33, up from 26 in May 2008.
The Fall newsletter features articles on how local, Federal and foreign governments are currently using Web 2.0 technology to engage their citizens in innovative and meaningful ways. Articles for the newsletter were contributed by numerous Gov 2.0 thought leaders, including National Academy Vice President and Collaboration Project co-founder, Lena Trudeau.
To read the newsletter and learn how government is harnessing Web 2.0 solutions to engage the public, click here.
This dialogue, in which the National Academy of Public Administration has partnered with DHS to host, is particularly groundbreaking in that it has brought stakeholders into the policy formulation process before a final decision has been made, allowing them the opportunity to read, review, and rate proposals being developed by DHS for the review. This final phase presents users with the near-final products of five DHS study groups for a "sign off" with the community.
Since the dialogue's launch in August, this innovative outreach effort has received over 26,000 visitors, who have submitted hundreds of ideas and responses. The dialogue will run through next Sunday, October 4th.
GovLoop is a government-oriented social networking site, often referred to as "Facebook for Feds." Steve is a pioneer in the burgeoning field of "government 2.0", and he's been a tireless advocate for the use of social media in solving the complex problems of government. Membership on GovLoop has been growing solidly since it launched in May 2008. The site now boasts 18,000 members.
Steve's post on GovLoop's blog followed an announcement by GovDelivery that it had purchased the site. Steve will remain as President of the site and leader of the GovLoop community.
We at the Collaboration Project think this is a great boon for GovLoop and for the broader Gov 2.0 movement. We are very excited to see what the future holds for Steve and this groundbreaking network!
We encourage our collaboration community to participate – your voice will add a lot of value.
Until the third phase goes live, you can sign up to receive updates at [www.HomelandSecurityDialogue.org]. The first and second phases of the dialogue, which were live in August, are archived online in their entirety here: Phase 1 | Phase 2
The Recovery Dialogue on IT Solutions: A national dialogue we hosted on behalf of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board to access innovative ideas on how Recovery.gov – the website established to track all stimulus spending – should be designed.
A National Dialogue on Health IT and Privacy : The National Academy's first National Dialogue initiative, hosted on behalf of OMB and the Federal CIO Council to bring health and IT professionals together with policymakers to discuss how new IT solutions could improve the delivery of healthcare, while ensuring the privacy of patients' medical information
The Ohio Redistricting Competition: An innovative initiative by the State of Ohio to solicit public plans for the drawing of legislative districts. The competition resulted in fourteen submitted plans, three of which will be considered by the Ohio General Assembly.
The Guardian Newspaper's "Investigate Your MP's Expenses: An online gallery of expense claims of UK Parliament members in which visitors can sort and flag claims that have yet to be reviewed. This approach not only gives citizen readers a role in ensuring transparency in their own government, but also supplies the newspaper with hours of free document review.
The Pew Internet and American Life Project recently released a report on "The Internet and Civic Engagement." Particularly interesting – and relevant to what we've learned in our National Dialogues – is the main finding: political activity is highly correlated with income, regardless of whether that activity takes place online or off-line, and that online political activity looks remarkably like off-line activity.
"Contrary to the hopes of some advocates, the internet is not changing the socio-economic character of civic engagement in America. Just as in offline civic life, the well-to-do and well-educated are more likely than those less well off to participate in online political activities such as emailing a government official, signing an online petition or making a political contribution."
During the week of April 27th to May 3rd, 22,000 visitors from 50 states and 98 foreign countries, from Fortune 500 companies and small businesses, web designers and financial services experts, internet novices and the creators of the WWW and Web 2.0 all went online to participate in the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board's National Dialogue. The purpose was to solicit ideas and suggestions on how to build recovery.gov into the preeminent site where the public can monitor and track the spending of recovery funds.
The feedback provided the Recovery Board with comprehensive and actionable ideas, priorities, and key themes, as well as a knowledgeable community who can be engaged repeatedly as recovery.gov grows and changes. Some of the top ideas that were suggested include geographical mapping, XML formats, and linked open data; among the overarching themes were information syntax and collaboration.
Read the full report here, or view the archived Recovery Dialogue here.
Of particular interest are the enumerated duties of the Regional Authority – they're not simply guidelines, but really specific requirements. It seems that citizen participation is really built into the job descriptions of these government offices.
Today, the National Academy of Public Administration, in partnership with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, has launched an Open Government Dialogue to solicit ideas from the public on how the government can become more transparent, participatory, and collaborative. This online brainstorming session which is now open through 1pm on Thursday, May 28th, will enable the White House to hear your most important ideas relating to open government, including innovative approaches to policy, specific project suggestions, government-wide or agency-specific instructions, and any relevant examples and stories relating to law, policy, technology, culture, or practice.
We would like to ask you to participate by doing the following:
2. Follow @ogovbrainstorm on Twitter to keep up with the highest rated ideas.
This brainstorming session will provide the basis for two more stages of interaction: a Discussion Phase, when the conversation will dive deeper into topics raised in this brainstorming; and a Drafting Phase, during which the public can contribute to draft language for recommendations. Stay tuned to www.whitehouse.gov/open for the next steps in this process.
We hope you will join the discussion and share your innovative ideas in this groundbreaking dialogue!
The People's Voice award is the second for NASA's Web site, which also won in 2003. More than 500,000 people cast votes this year.
NASA's Web site, which received 120 million visits in 2008, offers the public the latest news, mission coverage and multimedia from the agency's scientific research, technology development and exploration efforts. Visitors can surf thousands of images from throughout the universe, watch live video from the International Space Station or read more than a dozen blogs written by agency employees.
In the last year, the NASA Web team has expanded its presence into social media, creating an official NASA channel on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/nasatelevision, multiple Twitter feeds led by @NASA, and mission pages on Facebook and MySpace. Since NASA astronaut Mike Massimino began twittering via @Astro_Mike on April 3, he has gained more than 175,000 followers. NASA was recognized in February with a Shorty award for its @marsphoenix Twitter presence, which was written in the "voice" of the spacecraft. For a list of NASA missions providing updates on social media Web sites, visit http://www.nasa.gov/collaborate .
The draft paper ranges in scope from discussing how government employees may interact with the citizenry through Web 2.0 technologies to more technical considerations such as multichannel delivery, interoperability among agencies and how data can be shared with the public. The draft also has a collection of use-cases, including a number that involve social networking technologies.
eGovernment refers to the use of the Web or other information technologies by governing bodies (local, state, federal, multi-national) to interact with their citizenry, between departments and divisions, and between governments themselves. Recognizing that governments throughout the World need assistance and guidance in achieving the promises of electronic government through technology and the Web, this document seeks to define and call forth, but not yet solve, the variety of issues and challenges faced by governments. The use cases, documentation, and explanation are focused on the available or needed technical standards but additionally provide context to note and describe the additional challenges and issues which exist before success can be realized.
The General Services Administration has signed agreements with Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo and blip.tv that make it possible for federal agencies to use new-media tools while meeting their legal requirements, GSA officials announced today.
Under the agreement, agencies can immediately begin using new-media tools that let people post, share, and comment on videos and photos on the Web. Individual agencies must decide which tools their employees may use and how they may use them.
This potentially lifts a big hurdle in the way of agencies being able to use Web 2.0 services online. We've explored this and other issues in our Key Policy Issues and Discussion section.
Ohio recently announced the Ohio Redistricting Competition, in which residents are invited to submit recommendations for consideration by the Ohio General Assembly in drawing new legislative districts for the state. The project's stated goal is to "demonstrate that an open process based on objective criteria can produce fair legislative districts in Ohio."
The competition will begin on April 6, 2009, and the winners will be announced on May 11, 2009.
To commemorate Sunshine Week, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) last week launched a search tool that allows the public to closely examine thousands of pages of government documents the organization has obtained through litigation and FOIA requests. The documents relate to a wide range of cutting-edge technology issues and government policies that affect civil liberties and personal privacy, according to a release from the organization.
FCW recently posted a transcript of newly appointed Federal CIO Vivek Kundra's speech at the FOSE conference last week.
Of particular interest were his comments on data openness and the potential for the emerging Data.gov concept:
"Another model - and these are things you can expect to see - is the idea of a Data.gov platform. What I mean by that is we're going to be publishing government data and beginning with a default assumption that information should be available to the people, not with the default assumption that information should not be in the public domain. If you look at what happened when data has been democratized, when data has been put in the public domain, you've had an explosion of innovation."
Also notable is his statement on the need for technology to be integrated into the core of management and mission, a view we obviously espouse:
One, technology for technology's sake is useless. It needs to enable a core mission. The core mission when you look at some of the most complex systems across the federal government, we need to stop dissecting and looking at them as one - again, going back to being so special that no one else can do it. Two, we need to make sure that we're injecting innovations across the country that are happening, and three, we need to look at models that have succeeded so that we're not investing in projects or initiatives that are risky and untried in some ways but balancing that against fundamentally rethinking how the government works.
A lot of time what ends up happening is we have these processes that have been there for hundreds of years, and we're looking for technology, a solution to essentially take us back hundreds of years rather than saying: What innovations have happened and how do we fundamentally change the way the government operates?
A simple example is an explosion in Web 2.0 technologies. We need to re-engineer on the back end - not the technologies but the staff and the teams within agencies to make sure that they're better positioned to take advantage of some of these technologies and drive hard in that direction."
This new event will bring government leaders and innovators of Web 2.0 together to explore how technology can enable transparency, participation, collaboration, and efficiency at all levels of government. The Summit will follow up with Gov 2.0 Expo in 2010.
"The success of the Obama campaign in using new media and participatory democracy techniques has set high expectations for the use of those same techniques in governing," said Tim O'Reilly, CEO and founder of O'Reilly Media. "Meanwhile, there is enormous talent on the consumer Internet that can be applied to the problems the government is working so hard to tackle. We can uniquely bring these two elements together, and help the leaders in Washington enable transparent, participatory, and efficient government."
"This event will be a much needed catalyst to start the conversations, create the frameworks, and highlight the successes of this new model," said Eric Faurot, Senior Vice President of TechWeb. "There is now a desire for change that crosses party and function boundaries, and an awareness of the profound changes that Web 2.0 has brought to civic life through the private sector. Gov 2.0 is the mashup of these two possibilities."
Of note, particularly for us at the Collaboration Project, is a quote in the WP article about the proper place for public comment in the lawmaking process:
"A lot more questions need to be addressed: Where do you insert the public comment portion in a bill? Do you start five days before the president signs it? Or do you start the moment Congress passes it?" asked Andrew Rasiej, founder of the political-tech site Personal Democracy Forum. He served as an adviser to the Obama transition's technology, innovation and government reform group. "As of right now, the comment section is like a black hole. Of course it's not enough by the standards of the Internet as we know it today."
Shortly after President Obama's inauguration, he issued a memo on transparency directing his top officials to develop plans for an Open Government Directive to promote transparency, participation, and collaboration. The Sunlight Foundation has created this page in order to add a public element to the crafting of this Open Government Directive that is itself transparent, participatory, and collaborative.
We encourage you to submit ideas for what the Directive should address, and to vote for your favorite submissions below.
The team that ran the most technologically advanced presidential campaign in modern history is finding it difficult to adapt that model to government. WhiteHouse.gov, envisioned as the primary vehicle for President Obama to communicate with the online masses, has been overwhelmed by challenges that staffers did not foresee and technological problems they have yet to solve.
Obama, for example, would like to send out mass e-mail updates on presidential initiatives, but the White House does not have the technology in place to do so. The same goes for text messaging, another campaign staple.
Beyond the technological upgrades needed to enable text broadcasts, there are security and privacy rules to sort out involving the collection of cellphone numbers, according to Obama aides, who acknowledge being caught off guard by the strictures of government bureaucracy.
With the release of the latest weekly video address, the White House has shifted to a Flash-based video solution using Akamai's content delivery network.
The White House's decision to move away from the Google-owned video-sharing site will likely be met with praise by privacy activists and could mark the beginning of a real backlash in response to Google's insatiable thirst for detailed data on the browsing habits of Web surfers.
Ironically, the decision by the White House comes days after YouTube began to roll out new policies to better protect the privacy of visitors who view videos embedded into federal government Web sites. The move by YouTube may prove to be too little, too late.
The most interesting thing here is that, for the first time in a while, government's needs may be a real market mover in the field of third-party Web 2.0 services.
Hosted by the National Academy of Public Administration, and sponsored by the Office of Management and Budget, General Services Administration, and Federal Chief Information Officers Council, the National Dialogue represents a critical, proactive effort by government to engage interested stakeholders and serves as a model for government organizations seeking to be more transparent, participatory and collaborative.
The academy sees three challenges that are inhibiting a truly collaborative federal government: an outdated 20th Century approach to technology where each agency has their own rigid IT environment; an inability to relate data to information, and information to decision making; and a bureaucratic culture where strong incentives exist to protect institutions as opposed to allowing cooperation and innovation. The NAPA has issued a paper, "Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration," which encourages the new administration to meet these challenges head on. They outline a collaborative model that brings citizens' ideas and priorities into the process of decision making and governing.
This is a smart and juicy paper that bears more than one post...We have a government with hundreds (or hundreds of thousands) of applications that don't talk to each other run by people who don't talk to each other. Definitely sounds like there is room for improvement.
After our big IT debate of mid-January I thought it was refreshing to see a group take a step back into that 30,000 foot zone and look not at code, not necessarily at where information should be located on a page, but to do some writing about what technology should be designed to accomplish. I think it's easy to forget about asking those forward-thinking questions when we can't find some information we want (I know I've gone round and round looking for reports, or contact information, for example). But that's different from deciding what we think federal IT should do in the future as to opposed to what we're frustrated it can't do now.
Federal Computer Week's Mary Mosquera dedicates a full article to the paper's call for renewed technology leadership in government:
Agencies need to change their traditional approach of owning and maintaining their own IT systems. Instead, they should acquire IT as a service. Agencies should turn their massive amounts of raw data into usable information that can be shared with others and used to support decisions. They also should change laws and policies that keep employees from using collaborative and social media tools, the report states.
Meanwhile, some pockets of agency employees use collaborative and social media tools and communication approaches, according to the report, which comes from NAPA's Collaboration Project Advisory Panel.
"Bold program and project staffers should continue to move out and experiment and embrace these tools as new ways of doing the business of government," the report states.
UPDATE: Dr. Ramon Barquin, of the business intelligence forum BeyeNETWORK says:
There have been many recommendations that have been offered to the new Administration over the last few months, but one of the most relevant and coherent was a paper published by the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) under the title, Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration.
In all, this should be a very valuable and useful document for Barack Obama and his team.
Kundra, who has deployed advanced applications to improve the performance of public services during his nearly two years as CTO for the District, will replace Karen Evans as administrator for e-government and information technology in the Office of Management and Budget. (Indeed, we've chronicled one such project of Vivek's, the Citywide Data Warehouse, right here on the Collaboration Project.) The position effectively serves as the federal government's chief information officer. The administration could announce Kundra's appointment as soon as Thursday.
Kundra, who is well-known in D.C. and beyond for his innovative approach to deploying social media and managing IT investment.
Even before this appointment, Kundra had been involved with President Obama's transition team, advising its Technology, Innovation and Government Reform group – known affectionately as "the TIGR team" – on technology and innovation issues. Watch him in action here:
We applaud this appointment and wish Vivek the best in this exciting new role!
While Recovery.gov will rely on an "oversight board" to post updates, Stimulus Watch seeks to crowdsource the task of monitoring stimulus spending on "shovel ready" local projects that have been offered up as potential recipients of federal grants. Each recipient will get a user-edited wiki page describing the state of the project in neutral terms, while discussion pages and a voting system will let visitors weigh in on the worthiness of the endeavor—ideally self-selecting for either geographical proximity or relevant specialized knowledge.
The task force was charged with advising and assisting the British Government with delivering benefit to the public from new developments in digital media and the use of citizen- and state-generated information in the UK. The report addresses the following issues:
How government can further catalyze more beneficial creation and sharing of knowledge, and mutual support, between citizens
What more can and should be done to improve the way government and its agencies publish and share non personal information
Are there any further notable information opportunities or shortfalls in sectors outside government that those sectors could work to rectify?
Check out Google Geospatial Technologist Ed Parsons' blog about the report here.
The parent company of our partner Delib was recently featured in the Washington Post for creating an embeddable widget called aMap that lets you make a diagram of any argument with supporting logic in an interactive mindmap.
Iampublicservice.org, a website launched in 2008 by several friends of the Collaboration Project (Andy Krzmarzick, Steve Mandzik, and Steve Ressler) is seeking to bolster the image of public servants by allowing people who work in government to share their stories. The stories will be collected on January 12, 2009, and the most inspiring ones will be compiled into a book to be released around Inauguration.
The City of Tigard, outside Portland, OR, recently launched an enterprise-wide GIS system intended to foster collaboration across city agencies and with the public. The 24-month project has resulted in a centralized corporate geodatabase environment with a suite of desktop and Web applications integrated with the city's key business systems.
Of the services Google will be offering ten Cabinet agencies will be a piece of hardware that provides Google search technology securely on an internal network. The story was recently covered on WAMU radio (listen here – uses Windows Media Player).
BearingPoint recently launched GovTwit, a directory of Twitter accounts and blogs of various players in the government space, including state and local, federal, contractors, reporters, academics and more. The list is continuously updated and open to public submissions.
A recent report from Forrester/Bull revealed that businesses are using open source components in all enterprises, without even asking their customers, changing significantly from a complete commercial build to a mixed orchestration of open source and commercially licensed software.
On November 24th the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) launched the Global Development Commons. This new site profiles successful uses of new technology in international development, and also serves as an aggregated source of the latest news on interactive development initiatives. Equally as important, Global Development Commons strives to foster increased collaboration among development practitioners by offering several social networking features including an interactive space for users to comment on featured projects and suggest other 2.0 best practices.
1. Get the Web 2.0 culture equation right
The Obama campaign successfully leveraged Web 2.0 to develop thousands of grassroots networks, but after providing the tools and direction volunteers needed, the campaign wisely got out of the way.
2. Tap into the collective IQ
When Obama began formulating his healthcare plan, he started from the premise that he and his team of advisors, weren't going to be able to come up with all the best ideas. Instead he appealed to his supporters for their ideas on how to fix the system and used those ideas in developing his proposal.
3. Outsource work to the crowds
The additional bandwidth provided by tens of thousands of "supervolunteers" allowed Obama to do what no national campaign had previously imagined possible: conduct retail politics in dozens of states-simultaneously.
The U.S. military has launched a video-sharing website called TroopTube intended to help connect service men and women and their families and supporters. A year and a half after restricting access to YouTube, the new site enables users to register as members of one of the branches of the armed forces, family, civilian Defense Department employees or supporters, upload personal videos, and respond to others' videos.
New York Governor David A. Paterson today announced the release of a new Web site, ReduceNYSpending.gov, that will lead the public in a discussion about how to control unsustainable growth in the size of New York's budget. The site features news updates, videos, and an interactive "Speak Out" section that enables users to submit their ideas and their very own budget proposals to the governor through a "budget calculator".
Tech guru Tim O'Reilly delivered the keynote address at a recent conference of Web 2.0 industry members, telling them that that Web 2.0 will reinvent government if innovation focuses on changing the world by designing applications that will help solve food shortages, global warming or other problems, rather than on more "sophomoric" uses as as are seen on social media sites.
To this end, they have used the popular social community builder Ning to launch New Ideas For Government, a site that solicits ideas from across government and enables discussion and refinement of these ideas. The site already has contributions from some well-known names in the federal and public administration communities (you'll have to visit to see who!), and is definitely a site to keep an eye on.
Gartner, Inc. recently released a report that argues that social networks, booming in usage, may come to complement and possibly replace some government functions. The firm says that such phenomena as budget cuts and growing complexity of issues will force government to adopt new social technologies.
The U.S. Air Force is in the process of creating an online virtual platform called MyBase, similar to Second Life, intended to let students and instructors interact through avatars in simulated training classrooms. The initiative is part of USAF's vision for learning transformation, a white paper released in February 2008 centering on appealing to the millennial generation and encouraging lifelong learning.
Read the full post from Federal Computer Week here
David Walker, former Comptroller General of the United States and current president of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, recently outlined ways collaborative technology could be involved in discussing ways to achieve fiscal sustainability. One of his suggestions is to engage citizens in national dialogues to solve the country's most pressing fiscal stresses.
A new report issued by FaceTime concerning the growth and impact of collaborative technologies finds that the costs associated with repairing malware attacks and corporate data leaks have risen along with employee usage of Web 2.0 in the workplace. The specific costs of these incidents are estimated at more than $125,000 per month across the private sector.
IT research and advisory firm Gartner has warned in a recent article on the British site Vnunet that governments need to step up their commitment to social networks in order to tap into societal resources such as volunteer groups, philanthropists and associations. If it neglects collaborative tools, the firm argues, government will have a harder time connecting services to those in need.
Cisco Systems, Inc. and Leadership, Inc. recently teamed up to launch a new site called "New Ideas for Government" that aims to solicit ideas from federal employees and those outside government on how to improve government. The site includes a broad array of topics such as acquisition, the presidential transition, bolstering recruiting and human resources, using technology to best serve the public, and many others. Users can create profiles and post, respond, and rate ideas, spurring a conversation on government's most daunting challenges.
Speaking at a recent conference about knowledge management and business intelligence hosted by the Digital Government Institute, FAA knowledge architect Giora Hader and the National Defense University's Paulette Robinson spoke of the necessity for the Federal government to embrace Web 2.0 technologies. Hader and Robinson cited the social web's capacity to recruit the next generation of public sector employees as a strong incentive to implement these tools in the work place. And they importantly noted that the demand for access to Web 2.0 tools will only increase in the future because "people are social animals and like to be able to collaborate together."
Back in July, we had the opportunity to present the case for collaboration to the Department of Energy's Visiting Speaker Program. The Visiting Speaker Program "draws leaders from academia, business, public and private enterprise, and other organizations with interests similar to DOE to present on topics such as organizational theory, the business model of sustainability, resilience in challenging circumstances, and issues of global importance." This great program, sponsored by DOE's Office of Health, Safety and Security, is doing a great service in connecting folks across government who are interested in getting to action and working across organizational boundaries. (Hey, that sounds like us!)
At the program, Frank DiGiammarino, along with National Academy Fellow Jonathan Breul, spoke about the emerging challenges facing government and why it's no longer good enough to work in isolation from partners and peers across government and society. Click here for a downloadable copy of the presentation or here to check out highlights from the session.
In August, the Army introduced a new Knowledge Management Principles document that highlights a new initiative to transform the organization's culture of information sharing. While the Army has traditionally treated institutional knowledge on a 'must-know' basis, this initiative strives to enhance collaborative opportunities across the enterprise.
Web 2.0 and the "social Internet" are very powerful technologies and ideas that governments should certainly be exploiting. However, in the headlong rush to act, all sorts of stray ideas risk being "caught up in the fishing net." The truth is that most governments have a large backlog of potential high-value projects that could work by simply exposing great information databases to businesses and private citizens the old way.
Over at the Wikinomics blog there is an interesting post about District of Columbia Chief Technology Officer Vivek Kundra and his recent inititative to release data representing more than 84,000 3D buildings for inclusion in Google Earths' Cities in 3D program. This effort is intended to allow citizens a greater role in discussions about the city's future.
"Transparency, Participation and Reinvention in Government" encompassed the common thread that people want to share information and add to an aggregated pool of information to build momentum and interest through social networks, YouTube, and blogs in campaigns.
In a recent editorial in BusinessWeek, Steven Cody and Sam Ford argue that the current economic challenges facing the U.S. requires government to engage more directly with citizens. For them, Web 2.0 technologies such as blogs and podcasts offer a 21st century version of FDR's fireside chats where citizens can be invited into the democratic process in timely and innovative ways.
"Official content" — like video — that is posted outside the House.gov domain should be clearly marked, should not appear alongside commercial or campaign content and should contain an exit notice for people linking out from the House.gov domain, Capuano recommended.
Last month researchers at Princeton University'sCenter for Information Technology Policy released a new study that recommends government administrators abandon their ambitions of developing user-friendly websites, and instead concentrate on providing raw public data in structured formats such as RSS or XML. The authors predict that if the private sector had free access to information such as regulatory decisions, Congressional votes, and campaign finance data, they would quickly overtake the feds in effectively analyzing and presenting the data. Maybe the U.S. should follow the lead of the U.K. and launch an initiative like 'Show Us A Better Way'?
A survey recently released by Meritalk finds that Generation Y prefers to connect with government online in an interactive manner similar to the way they seek out news and other information. The poll was conducted among 2,000 people born between 1977 and 1990. Notable results from this survey include: 88 percent of respondents will obtain their news online during the next four years, 74 percent want more information on government spending and programs, and 85 percent said they want the next president to reach out to the public online at least once a month.
"Government agencies are looking for simpler processes, yet enhanced interactions, for the way they serve their constituents," said Gail Thomas-Flynn, general manager of State and Local Government for Microsoft. "The common framework offered through the Citizen Services Platform enables efficient collaboration and productivity to provide better service, reduce costs and improve management insight."
Michael Lynch, CEO of enterprise software leader Autonomy Corporation, delivered a warning about the potential pitfalls of Web 2.0 in yesterday's Financial Times editorial, entitled Embracing the friend, taming the beast. Although collaborative technology is often (and correctly) praised for the new communication opportunities that it presents, Lynch delivers an intriguing argument that new interactive platforms are actually a double-edge sword.
According to a new survey of business and government organizations recently released by CDW Corp, more than 40 percent of IT decision makers have launched Web 2.0 technology within their own organizations. However, there is also a strong sense of caution among these leaders: 31 percent worry that Web 2.0 will be used for personal use over work, 28 percent are concerned about information security, and another 27 percent worry about employees wasting time.
Today, we at the academy are convinced that collaborative technology
has the potential to transform government in America, to tap into the expertise of people outside the hierarchy of any single
agency or department, to make government more transparent, and to open the door to a broader array of experts focused on solving a particular problem or to citizens who want to contribute to making government work better.
The interactive Web is forcing change across society, and the public sector is no exception. In this feature article, Frank DiGiammarino and Lena Trudeau highlight Virtual Networks, and how they bring together stakeholders and peers to meet the challenges facing government leaders.
Federal Agencies Create 23 Open Gov Sites – 23 Federal agencies have just created new open government websites to engage the public and discuss open government initiatives. Learn more and check them out today\!