Archive | Government 2.0 RSS feed for this section

The Week of Gov 2.0 – Longing for More

September 14, 2009

52 Comments

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!

Continue reading...

What Does Government 2.0 Mean to Me?

September 3, 2009

16 Comments

Because Booz Allen is a Diamond Sponsor of next week’s Gov 2.0 Summit, and I’m on the Program Committee for the Gov 2.0 Expo Showcase, I have been incredibly busy trying to pull together presentations, talking points, attendee lists, and other logistics for next week.  However, I did take some time to participate in Tim O’Reilly’s “What Does Gov 2.0 Mean to You?” initiative in advance of the Summit next week.  For me, Government 2.0 isn’t about the tools, but what those tools enable – it’s about more than just creating a blog and engaging in dialogue with the public, it’s about more than just creating a wiki that’s open to multiple government agencies, and it’s about more than just making data accessible to the public.  Gov 2.0 is about what you do after that.  It’s about updating policies because of the conversations you had on the blog, it’s about using a wiki to deliver better intelligence analysis to our country’s decision makers, and it’s about opening up government data to crowdsource IT development, saving money increasing innovation.

There are tons of GREAT initiatives out there, initiatives that we’ll learn more about next week, but in many cases, these initiatives are just laying the foundation for government innovation. Think about it.  Next week, we will hear about lots of exciting Gov 2.0 initiatives taking place at the federal, state, and local levels. But, we’re also going to hear lots of stories about social media bans, offices still using IE 6, and information silos.  Remember that Government 2.0 isn’t just about getting on Twitter or building a wiki – those are just first steps.  It’s about using these tools to create a government that’s truly of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Continue reading...

Social Media Done Right Means No More Social Media “Experts”

July 21, 2009

47 Comments

Where will all the social media experts be in five years?

Where will all the social media "experts" be in five years?

“If I do my job right, I shouldn’t be doing it in five years.”

That’s what I said almost three years ago when Walton Smith and I started our social media practice here at Booz Allen.  Like Geoff Livingston, I’ve felt for a long time that social media shouldn’t be considered some “special” strategy or some public relations parlor trick, but rather as part of an overall communications strategy.

Seeing as I’m part of a 500+ person team of strategic communications professionals here, my goal was not to create one smaller team of geeks who blog and Tweet all day, but to get all 500+ people on the team to know, understand, and use social media just as they know, understand, and use press releases, email pitches, and town hall meetings.

Sure, there will always be a need to call in the “experts” – the people who live and breathe this stuff – but for the most part, every communications professional needs to understand social media and its place in the overall mix of communications strategies and tools.   If I hear one more person tell me that they’re “too old for this stuff,” or that “I’m just not ready for that,” all you’re really telling me is that you’re not interested in being a really good communications professional.  These types of people won’t last for much longer anyway.

Over the last three years, we’ve made a lot of progress here in integrating social media into our overall communications capabilities – we’re no longer doing public relations, change management, crisis communications, event planning (among others) AND social media.  Social media is not a separate discipline – it’s just another set of tools in the toolbox that a communications professional has at their disposal.

Well, a little more than halfway into my prediction above, I can proudly say that I think my statement still holds true.  If anything, it might happen sooner.  Seemingly every RFP I come across now includes social media, and almost every one of our client projects has at least asked the question, “is social media right for our client?”  For the last three months, my days have been filled almost completely with meetings with various projects and clients to talk about social media, writing the tech approaches to several proposals, and giving internal presentations to our senior leadership about the importance of Government 2.0 and the role social media is playing in the future of our government.

Though I’ve been working my butt off lately to handle the incredible demand for social media and Government 2.0, everyone here has also realized that this demand isn’t going away anytime soon – in fact, it’s only going to increase.  I’m hearing more senior leaders here say things like, “This can’t just be done by Steve’s team – we need more people who know and understand this stuff.”  I’m seeing more performance reviews being conducted where people are being asked what they did to learn more about social media over the last year.  I’m getting more requests from people outside of my immediate social media team asking how they can get more up to speed with social media so that they don’t always have to come to us for help. I’ve found out about really cool Government 2.0 work that we’re doing after someone has already started it, instead of me being the bottleneck for all that work.

At the current pace, I imagine that I’ll soon just be Steve Radick, one member of a 500+ person team of communications professionals, all of whom know how to write a press release, create a corporate newsletter, write a speech, craft engaging blog posts, use Twitter to engage with their audiences, and develop a strategic communications plan.

Then, I’ll move on to my next challenge…

Continue reading...

Here’s Your Chance to Shine: Government 2.0 Expo and Showcase

June 7, 2009

3 Comments

Have you done something to help usher in the era of Government 2.0 and want to show it off?  Have you changed the culture of your organization from one that hoards information to one that openly shares and collaborates with each other?  Are you tired of toiling in obscurity while you see the same stories about Intellipedia, the TSA blog, and GovLoop getting all the glamour and accolades (note: I think these are fantastic projects and don’t mean to diminish their value – just that they’re typically the most popular examples)?  Maybe you are bringing openness and transparency to the government at the state or local level, but think that no one cares because it’s on such a small scale?

Well, if you answered yes to any of the questions above, here’s your chance to shine and maybe even win a coveted “Govie” Award.  O’Reilly Media, Inc. and TechWeb, co-producers of the annual Web 2.0 Summit and Web 2.0 Expo events, are holding the Gov 2.0 Expo Showcase, a one day event featuring government projects that leverage the Web as a platform.  The event will highlight the projects exhibiting transparency, participation and collaboration in government.  The Gov 2.0 Expo Showcase will take place September 8, 2009 at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC.

So, how do I participate?

Submit a proposal in one of the six categories, Government as Process, Provider, Partner, Protector, Peacemaker, or as Product.  The Program Committee (full disclosure: I’m a member of the Program Committee), will review all submissions and choose four projects in each category who will give a five minute “lightning” talk about their project, followed by a panel discussion.  Of these four presentations, one will be chosen to receive a “Govie” award and will be asked to come back and speak at the invite-only Gov 2.0 Summit taking place the next day.

How do I know if my project is good enough to be selected?

You don’t.  But, the good news is that neither does the Program Committee unless they can read your proposal.  The Committee is looking for the architects, managers, leaders and catalysts of real-life Government 2.0 projects to submit proposals for this unique event.  They should represent new thinking, demonstrate the value of web 2.0 and gov 2.0 principles, and have made an impact on government and the citizens and communities it serves.  We don’t know the full range of the projects that fit into the Government 2.0 revolution, which is why we’re hoping you’ll show us what you’ve got.  These examples can be found at the state, local, federal, international, departmental, and agency levels.  We’re looking forward to being surprised, both at the scope and nature of the proposals we receive.

That’s great marketing-speak, but bottom line, what’s in it for me?

Aside from fame and fortune, you mean?  Well, how about:

  1. The chance to win a prestigious “Govie” – given only to the best example of Government 2.0 in each of the six categories.
  2. An opportunity to highlight your work, your organization, and your ideas in front of your Government 2.0 peers and other activists.
  3. Should you win a “Govie,” you’ll also be given the stage at the Gov 2.0 Summit where you can speak to some of the most influential names in social media and Government 2.0, including Tim O’Reilly, Vivek Kundra, Aneesh Chopra, and Bev Godwin.
  4. You’ll get to network and rub elbows with these same people as we will undoubtedly sample of the District’s finest drinking establishments.
  5. Validation of your hard work and long hours to realize the vision of Government 2.o.
  6. Help shape the focus of the Gov 2.0 Expo coming up in May 2010.

Good luck to all who submit proposals – I can’t wait to hear about all of the success stories out there that haven’t gotten all of the publicity, exposure, and awards.

More Gov 2.0 Expo Showcase Information

Continue reading...