We’ve already had the Summer of Gov, but September 7-11 was the Week of Gov. With the Gov 2.0 Expo Showcase on Tuesday and the Gov 2.0 Summit on Wednesday and Thursday, plus a multitude of happy hours and networking receptions, I was immersed in all things Gov 2.0 last week. There are already plenty of recaps, summaries, and other articles detailing the events of last week – if you’re interested in finding out what you missed, videos from all of the sessions are (or will soon be) posted here. Watch those, and then read through all of the news coverage here for that. Now, what I want to explore in this post is one particular topic that came up time and time again among the attendees I spoke with.
There were some very successful, very cool Gov 2.0 initiatives that were highlighted, but while I came away both impressed and inspired by the results that were discussed, I was left asking myself more and more questions about HOW the speakers got to these results. This isn’t a criticism of these two events – I realize that I wasn’t the target audience for the Summit (that program was geared more toward C-level execs) and the Showcase was more of a teaser for the Gov 2.0 Expo coming up in May. That’s exactly why I now have more questions than answers – I want to know about the challenges these people faced; I want to know the risks they took and why; I want to know what they’d do differently if they could go back in time – most of all, I want to know how they went from good idea to being highlighted at the Gov 2.0 Expo Showcase or Gov 2.0 Summit.
As my colleague Brian Drake discussed in this blog post, we both spoke with a number of people who would like to see a Gov 2.0 Practitioner event that targets the people actually doing the work of Government 2.0. While it’s great to hear from people like Vivek Kundra and Vint Cerf, it’s difficult for me to relate directly to their experiences or to turn that knowledge into something actionable in my day-to-day job. A Gov 2.0 Practitioner conference that focuses on the real-life challenges, benefits, and concrete actions would help fill this gap, giving attendees a action plan for moving forward. So while I left the Gov 2.0 Summit feeling excited about the prospects of OpenID and Government 2.0, I was also left asking myself things like, “that’s great that OpenID is coming to the government, but now what? How do I help my client’s organization take advantage of this program? How do I turn this great idea into something actionable for my client?”
I think there’s a very real need for an event that brings together Gov 2.0 practitioners and aspiring practitioners in one place to share war stories, to discuss what really works and what doesn’t, and to learn from each others’ mistakes and successes. Maybe it’s another Gov 2.0 Barcamp or another event entirely, but I don’t need another event to discover the benefits of opening up my data or by communicating more transparently. What I need is an event that tells me how I get my manager to sign off on dedicating the resources needed to make that data open and accessible. I need an event that answers these questions (and more):
- How do I negotiate with my IT staff to get social media sites unblocked?
- How do I involve our Legal department when I’m terrified they’re going to shut me down?
- What’s the best way to get people to contribute to our organizational wiki?
- What am I missing in my social media policy?
- How do I best get senior leadership to actively participate in social media? Should they?
- We still have Internet Explorer 6 – how am I supposed to get IT to support social media?
- We have a blog, Twitter account, podcasts, and other social media already, but no one is using them – what’s the best way to build more community?
- We have a TON of data that I want to open up to the public, but I don’t own any of it – how do I approach the owners of this data and convince them to open it up?
Would you be interested in an event dedicated to sharing these types of war stories and providing actionable next steps that you could use? If you’ve ever left a Gov 2.0 conference and had any of these questions, then you’re the target audience!