The Week of Gov 2.0 – Longing for More

September 14, 2009

Government 2.0, Prof. Development

Image Courtesy of Flickr User Alex Dunne

Image Courtesy of Flickr User Alex Dunne

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!

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About sradick

I'm Vice President, Associate Director of Public Relations at Cramer-Krasselt in Chicago. Find out more about me here (http://steveradick.com/about/).

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  • http://markdrapeau.com/ Mark Drapeau

    Hi Steve, thanks for a thoughtful post. I’ve forwarded this along to a bunch of people. We’re only just beginning to discuss the details of Gov 2.0 Expo in May 2010, but that’s a long, three-day event and I think there is room for “workshops” where people can (1) learn new things and (2) drill down into practitioning, and answer questions like you pose. And plus, I think it just makes a lot of sense to do. Mark

  • http://markdrapeau.com Mark Drapeau

    Hi Steve, thanks for a thoughtful post. I’ve forwarded this along to a bunch of people. We’re only just beginning to discuss the details of Gov 2.0 Expo in May 2010, but that’s a long, three-day event and I think there is room for “workshops” where people can (1) learn new things and (2) drill down into practitioning, and answer questions like you pose. And plus, I think it just makes a lot of sense to do. Mark

  • http://www.steveradick.com/ sradick

    Thanks Mark! For the Gov 2.0 Expo, I think it’d be very cool to have one of these workshops available – doesn’t even have to necessarily be part of the official conference schedule, it could be a pre or post conference type of thing. I think this is one reason why people really like the one-on-one’s that always pop up at the happy hours or right after people’s presentations – it’s your opportunity to get answers to these types of questions. Looking forward to working with you again on future events – the Summit/Expo Showcase is something that I hope continues next year and the year after that.

  • http://www.steveradick.com sradick

    Thanks Mark! For the Gov 2.0 Expo, I think it’d be very cool to have one of these workshops available – doesn’t even have to necessarily be part of the official conference schedule, it could be a pre or post conference type of thing. I think this is one reason why people really like the one-on-one’s that always pop up at the happy hours or right after people’s presentations – it’s your opportunity to get answers to these types of questions. Looking forward to working with you again on future events – the Summit/Expo Showcase is something that I hope continues next year and the year after that.

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  • http://www.rockcreeksm.com/ Meagen Ryan

    Steve,

    Couldn’t agree more. In Gov 2.0 events, we’ve had large, inspirational conferences and we’ve certainly had plenty of happy hours. Now we need to talk nitty gritty. I wonder if a roundtable format might work well for this? It could go something like this:

    Networking/socializing: First 30 mins
    Roundtable: 2 hours, formatted into 5 min presentation followed by 15 min discussion. Rinse and repeat until finished.

    Attendance would be limited to the number of people that can fit around the conference table encourage real discussion.

  • http://www.rockcreeksm.com Meagen Ryan

    Steve,

    Couldn’t agree more. In Gov 2.0 events, we’ve had large, inspirational conferences and we’ve certainly had plenty of happy hours. Now we need to talk nitty gritty. I wonder if a roundtable format might work well for this? It could go something like this:

    Networking/socializing: First 30 mins
    Roundtable: 2 hours, formatted into 5 min presentation followed by 15 min discussion. Rinse and repeat until finished.

    Attendance would be limited to the number of people that can fit around the conference table encourage real discussion.

  • http://radar.oreilly.com/ Tim O’Reilly

    What Mark said. We definitely want to have LOTS of practitioner-level content in future events. Remember, this was the first event.

    Blair Levin (now at the FCC) gave me some good advice early on. “Washington is like a three act play. In the first act, you set up the story. In the second act, you explore the problems. In the third act you hopefully get to the happy ending.”

    Think of these first events as “setting up the story.” Now comes the far harder work of exploring the problems and driving towards a resolution.

    In addition to the Expo in May and next year’s Summit, we will be looking for opportunities to pariticpate in and/or organize additional events to keep up our explorations of how to move Gov 2.0 forward – not only in Washington but in state capitals, in cities, and in other countries around the world. (I’ll be at the GTEC conference in Ottawa next month, and meeting with Canadian Gov 2.0 advocates.)

    Like you, we have lots of questions. But we hope we’ve helped kick off some great discussions and that lots of people will be moving the ball forward.

  • http://radar.oreilly.com Tim O’Reilly

    What Mark said. We definitely want to have LOTS of practitioner-level content in future events. Remember, this was the first event.

    Blair Levin (now at the FCC) gave me some good advice early on. “Washington is like a three act play. In the first act, you set up the story. In the second act, you explore the problems. In the third act you hopefully get to the happy ending.”

    Think of these first events as “setting up the story.” Now comes the far harder work of exploring the problems and driving towards a resolution.

    In addition to the Expo in May and next year’s Summit, we will be looking for opportunities to pariticpate in and/or organize additional events to keep up our explorations of how to move Gov 2.0 forward – not only in Washington but in state capitals, in cities, and in other countries around the world. (I’ll be at the GTEC conference in Ottawa next month, and meeting with Canadian Gov 2.0 advocates.)

    Like you, we have lots of questions. But we hope we’ve helped kick off some great discussions and that lots of people will be moving the ball forward.

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  • http://www.steveradick.com/ sradick

    Tim, you’re absolutely right that both the Gov 2.0 Expo Showcase and Summit did a fantastic job setting up the story (love that analogy btw). I wish every CIO in government today would watch the videos from the Summit so that they too can have the story set up for them. Really looking forward to more of your events, especially those at the State/Local level. Historically speaking, I hope that last year’s Gov 2.0 Camp and our two events from last week are just chapters in a much larger Gov 2.0 story.

    Thanks for the great event – generated a lot of thoughts/ideas/questions and was very well-produced and very inspiring. I’m glad that we have your voice involved in this movement and I’m excited for what that will bring over the longer-term.

  • http://www.steveradick.com sradick

    Tim, you’re absolutely right that both the Gov 2.0 Expo Showcase and Summit did a fantastic job setting up the story (love that analogy btw). I wish every CIO in government today would watch the videos from the Summit so that they too can have the story set up for them. Really looking forward to more of your events, especially those at the State/Local level. Historically speaking, I hope that last year’s Gov 2.0 Camp and our two events from last week are just chapters in a much larger Gov 2.0 story.

    Thanks for the great event – generated a lot of thoughts/ideas/questions and was very well-produced and very inspiring. I’m glad that we have your voice involved in this movement and I’m excited for what that will bring over the longer-term.

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  • Jessica Timmer

    Steve- very excited to read your post- as this is exactly the space that we look to fill with Gov 2.0 Expo 2010 (May 25-27th)! Now that we have set the stage that this can be done (Gov 2.0 Expo Showcase) and why it must be done (Gov 2.0 Summit)- we can now talk about (and educate) how to! Look forward to continuing the conversation and encourage you to keep your ideas flowing towards Mark and Laurel as they ramp up their planning for the event. Also, the Call for Papers will open in October so get your ideas ready!

    Looking forward to all kinds of interesting formats (workshops, roundtables, panels, keynotes, etc.!)

  • Jessica Timmer

    Steve- very excited to read your post- as this is exactly the space that we look to fill with Gov 2.0 Expo 2010 (May 25-27th)! Now that we have set the stage that this can be done (Gov 2.0 Expo Showcase) and why it must be done (Gov 2.0 Summit)- we can now talk about (and educate) how to! Look forward to continuing the conversation and encourage you to keep your ideas flowing towards Mark and Laurel as they ramp up their planning for the event. Also, the Call for Papers will open in October so get your ideas ready!

    Looking forward to all kinds of interesting formats (workshops, roundtables, panels, keynotes, etc.!)

  • http://www.steveradick.com/ sradick

    Thanks Jessica – I totally agree with both you and Tim about the storyline that you’re setting up, and am looking forward to being a part of watching it play out. Let me know when the call for papers opens up – I’ve already sent this comment on to the members of my team to start thinking about potential ideas.

    Thanks for the comment!

  • http://www.steveradick.com sradick

    Thanks Jessica – I totally agree with both you and Tim about the storyline that you’re setting up, and am looking forward to being a part of watching it play out. Let me know when the call for papers opens up – I’ve already sent this comment on to the members of my team to start thinking about potential ideas.

    Thanks for the comment!

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