Tag Archives: gov20

What Does Government 2.0 Mean to Me?

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.

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Tired of All-Hands Meetings? Try an INTERNAL Unconference

On July 9th, 2009, my Strategic Communications team here at Booz Allen held an unconference as an alternative to the traditional All-Hands meeting.  Big thanks go out to Chris Hemrick, who led the planning, development, and execution of this event.  In collaboration with Chris and a few other team members, we pitched the idea to our leadership as a low-cost, low-resource opportunity to network, collaborate on some of the tough issues facing our team, learn from other members of the team, and have an opportunity to get involved with the rest of the team beyond their individual project teams.

So, how did we do it?  And more importantly, was it successful?

Pre-Conference

After receiving approval to move forward, we established our “home base” – a wiki page on our Enterprise 2.0 platform – hello.bah.com.  From here, we coordinated all our planning and outreach efforts.  We established the hashtag that we would use when blogging or Yammering about the Uconference.  We also determined the agenda for the day: 4:30 – 8:30 on a Thursday night with three sets of two concurrent sessions followed by one full wrap-up session and some networking time.  Sessions were to be restricted to one slide, and session leaders were only given 5 minutes to give the topic introduction.

About a month before the Unconference, we sent an email out to the team asking for people to propose potential topics via the wiki.  Sessions were then voted on by the rest of the members of the team.  However, because this was such a new concept to a majority of the team, we didn’t receive as many topic suggestions as we had hoped for.  As such, we had to reduce the number of total sessions from 6 to just 4.

One of the important things for us was also virtual participation.  Our team is spread out all over the DC area, and all over the country.  We needed a way for these folks to participate too.  However, unlike Government 2.0 Camp or South by Southwest, a majority of our participants aren’t used to live-Tweeting.  While tuning in to hashtags like #gov20camp or #sxsw can give virtual attendees a reasonable feel for the content of the conference, that only works when hundreds of people are actively using the service, giving individual perspectives and updates.  However, this doesn’t really work when only a few people are doing it.  To address this, we decided to use both Yammer and Adobe Connect, allowing chatting and live audio/video.  We also created topic-specific wiki pages and blogs and each session was to have a blogger and note-taker who would help continue the conversation after the actual event.

We also decided on a location.  After a pre-conference walk-through, we chose Bailey’s Pub & Grille in Arlington because it was 1) big enough for 100+ people and had space for breakout rooms, 2) metro-accessible and centrally located, 3) had free Wi-Fi and 4) was informal (it’s a bar!) enough to give the vibe that this was something different.

Day of

SC Unconference

Upon arriving at Bailey’s to get all set up, we had the projectors running, chatter had started on both Adobe Connect and Yammer, the first of about 100 people began to file in, and I had a cold draft of Heineken that was calling my name.  Everything was falling into place.  After about 20 minutes of getting settled in, we kicked off with a quick introduction about why we were doing this, what we wanted to accomplish, some expectation setting (people are going to get up and freely walk around, attendees were encouraged to be honest in their discussions, etc.), and some logistics, we were off and running.

However, not all went as smoothly as we had planned (that wouldn’t be any fun, would it?), logistically or strategically.  First, we quickly discovered that the webcam microphones we were using weren’t sufficient enough to capture the full discussion – virtual attendees were only hearing the discussion leader, not necessarily the entire conversation.  Video also proved problematic as the lighting was very dark and the webcams we were using weren’t able to capture everyone around the room who spoke.  This, combined with the fact that Yammer went down right in the middle of the first discussion, really hampered the virtual attendees’ ability to participate.  They were restricted to video/audio of the discussion leader and live chat with person running the Adobe Connect session.  While this wasn’t ideal, all of these problems are easily fixable with higher quality microphones and video equipment.

The other challenge that we experienced was that the sessions themselves didn’t exactly go as we had planned.  As I mentioned earlier, we had to trim the number of sessions to two sets of two concurrent sessions.  But, we didn’t cut the total amount of time, so each session ended up being an hour long – this ended up being about 20-30 minutes too long.  This meant that the discussion ended up going in circles and off-topic a few times during the second half of the sessions.  We also found out that the effectiveness of the sessions depended largely on the topic at hand – there was one session focused on how we use social media with our clients that resulted in a lot of good discussion and learning.  However, the session I led was focused on the best way to divide and utilize our time.  This led to a lot of good discussion as well, but also some bickering, disagreements, not to mention some maybe too-candid comments.

Post-Conference

During the entire Unconference, Tracy Johnson was walking around with a Flip camera asking people for their thoughts on the Unconference.  Here’s what they said:

We sent out a survey asking all attendees what they liked, what they didn’t like, and what they’d suggest doing next year.  We also briefed our leadership team the following day with our own post-event report.  Attendees seemed to say that they appreciated something different, that they liked the informal nature of the unconference, and that they would definitely participate again.  The members of the leadership team, suspicious of the idea at first, were excited to hear some of the ideas and discussion to come out of the event and agreed that it was something that should be done again.

Wrap-up

I loved having the unconference – it was a welcome change from the normal stand and talk through slides meeting, and gave us an opportunity to get together with our colleagues AND talk about how to improve our team’s operations.  The concept of an internal unconference, though, isn’t for everyone.  Before you consider an internal unconference at your organization, consider your answers to the following questions:

  1. Will there be a need for virtual participation?
  2. Does your organization have an internal microblogging service (Twitter is most likely too public for most)?
  3. Is your leadership willing to listen to criticism and new ideas, and most importantly, to DO something about the ideas and opinions that are discussed?
  4. How geographically separated is your team?  Can they all gather at one location?
  5. Are new ideas and open discussion typically valued or discouraged?
  6. Are a majority of your team introverts or extroverts?
  7. Do you have a budget to cover A/V equipment, location reservation, food/drinks, nametags, etc.?
  8. Do you have a space from where the conversation can continue after the event (wiki page, forum, blog, etc.)?
  9. Will leadership participate and encourage their staff to do the same?
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Here’s Your Chance to Shine: Government 2.0 Expo and Showcase

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

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What’s Your Government 2.0 Personality Type?

Over the last few years between starting the social media practice at Booz Allen and getting involved with the broader Government 2.0 community, I’ve had the opportunity to meet a ton of different people, all with different motivations, frustrations, and aspirations.  While sitting through seemingly endless hours on my flight back from Hawaii, I got to thinking about these different Government 2.0 personalities, and attempted to categorize them here below.

Edgerider – You are always looking for the latest and the greatest Internet meme, idea, and initiative.  You’re an early-adopter of all things technology and were at the forefront of the email, Internet, and personal computer waves.  You own an iPhone and either already have, or are eagerly anticipating buying a new Netbook.  You’re a big Government 2.0 champion now, but will move on to some other shiny new thing when the Government 2.0 meme inevitably bores you.

Innovator – You’re a tinkerer who can’t stand seeing an opportunity go to waste.  You’re a workaholic not because you love your job, but because you see a small chance to make a difference and you always take that chance – the problem is that you have trouble letting opportunities pass by.  You tend to suffer from both FOMO and HOLI.  You may not have been the first one in your office who recognized the potential of Government 2.0, but you were the first one to actually do something about it.

Rockstar – You are the loudest voice in the room.  You’re the one who happily volunteers to give the Government 2.0 briefing.  You’re the first one to raise your hand and challenge the person who’s speaking at a conference.  You’re loud and you’re confident, but more importantly, you’re incredibly knowledgeable.  However, you are also a little ADD – you tend to get involved with a LOT of different initiatives without diving too deep into any particular one.

Risk-taker – You thrive on pushing the envelope and rocking the boat.  The status quo is boring to you, and as such, you’re always looking for opportunities to make things better.  You’ve most likely been in your current position for more than a year and have built up a certain amount of trust among your colleagues.  You think getting reprimanded for something at work is just part of the job and not necessarily a bad thing.  Your Government 2.0 involvement is predicated on you “being the change” whether you should be or not.  You’re still learning that change isn’t always the right answer.

Salesman – Rather than jumping right into the Government 2.0 movement, you bided your time and did a lot of reading and thinking.  You are deliberate and entrepreneurial and have developed a piece of software, a platform, or a website that is meant to help the government, but is ultimately meant to make you or your organization money.  You would do well to shift more of your energy away from selling your product and instead focus more on providing value to the community.

Realist – You’ve been there, done that.  You’re more than likely older than most of the other Government 2.0 people out there.  You understand the challenges that the government is facing, and you recognize that Government 2.0 isn’t going to happen overnight.  While this realism is needed, it also gets you labeled as too conservative and pessimistic.  You don’t get too excited, nor do you get too down – you’re the steady hand that is more than likely managing a Risk-taker or an Innovator.

Laborer – You are the “do-er.”  You’re the foot soldier who’s drafting the social media policies, who’s gardening the internal wiki, and who’s developing the briefings, talking points, and speeches for the Rockstars.  You aren’t interested in being a member of the Goverati and would rather blend into the background.  You are probably well-respected for the Government 2.0 work that you do, but not many people know about it.  While arguably the most important group of people behind Government 2.0, you receive little to no fanfare.

Skeptic – “Why the hell are you spending so much time on Twitter and Facebook when you could be doing real work?”  You don’t see the real business value to social media, and would prefer that your staff stick to the mission-related activities.  You’re conservative and would rather just do your job and go home.  You don’t like change, and you’re probably the one who’s pushing to see metrics and ROI of social media.  You’re not necessarily opposed to social media, but you just don’t see the value yet.  Because of this, you’ve become an adversary to the Risk-takers, Innovators, and Rockstars, but you could offer real value in a Devil’s Advocate-type of role.

Thinker – You’re not on Twitter, nor do you maintain a blog.  However, you ask a ton of questions and do a lot of reading about social media and Government 2.0.  You look up to the Rockstars and the Innovators, but your conservative and private nature keep you from putting yourself “out there.”  You see the value of Government 2.0, but prefer to deal in the theoretical, rather than actually doing it.  You have a job totally unrelated to social media, but want to be involved, as long as it’s on the periphery.

Techie – You’re an IT developer, web programmer, enterprise architect – some sort of IT guy/girl.  You’re an avid World of Warcraft player, and have been using forums and online bulletin boards for more than a decade.  You know the difference between UNIX and Linux, and easily get frustrated when people ask for your help with their computer.  You’re responsible for actually creating the software, platforms, and websites that the Rockstars use, that the Innovators dream up, that the Salesman plugs, and that the Skeptic told you was a waste of time.  You wish you had more say in the strategic development of Government 2.0, but aren’t sure how to get involved at that level.

Opportunist – You got involved with Government 2.0 because you saw an opportunity to make money, enhance your career, or build your business.  That’s your first and primary goal – if you do something good for the government too, that’s great, but if you do something good for you, that’s even better.  Your motivation is on using Government 2.0, not in being a part of Government 2.0.  You are probably one of the most active and vocal people in your organization and in the Government 2.0 community, but because of your motivations, you also present some of the biggest risks.  You and the Skeptic do NOT get along.

Bystander – You have no interest in Government 2.0 or social media.  You’re happy coming to work, doing your job, and going home.  You value your work/life balance, and aren’t interested in anything that infringes on that.  You’re not opposed to Government 2.0 – you might even see the value in it at a holistic level – you’re just not interested in getting involved.

The following personality types were suggested by some of the Rockstars, Innovators, Edgeriders, etc. found in the Comments section.

Networker – You believe in information sharing and connecting people to one another.  You are the government version of Gladwell’s Connector.   Networkers have extended contact lists and actively share information — often through listservs, email, and presentations, oftentimes not even realizing that you’re living Government 2.0.  While probably less tech-savvy than the others on this list, you see the potential of Gov 2.0 and dream of the time when everyone will be a Networker without even trying.

Ambassador – You’re a Rockstar at the core, but you realize that one of the tenets of Government 2.0 requires flexibility.  Ambassadors do whatever it takes to advance the cause, whether that means talking code with a Techie debating the merits of social media with a skeptic or trying to get your Edgerider friend to slow down long enough to give the Laborer time to put something in place.  Depending on who you’re talking to, you can fill all, or none, of these roles.

What’s your Government 2.0 personality?  Would you categorize yourself as one of the above or would you create another category?

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