for those who would make a difference

Month: December 2010

PSleader to Introduce #GovChat in 2011

Beginning on February, 2nd 2011 at 8:00pm eastern we are pleased to announce that right here on @PSleader we will feature a #GovChat SPECIAL Chat guest on a LIVE tweetchat hosted by @ThomKearney !

These tweet chats will be conducted utilizing the hashtag #GovChat and can be followed through the #GovChat link at what the #hashtag And our ongoing schedule for future chats as well as the links to transcripts from our chats already completed will always be available at

Please join us the first Wednesday evening of each month for #GovChat to personally get to know, discuss hot topics and ask questions of our SPECIAL guests on #GovChat !

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iVote, eGovt, and all that mobile stuff

The social media enthusiast that I am, I started wondering about how to continue improving constituent connections over the next five years here in wild, wonderful West Virginia. Yes, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, MeetUp, etc… all play a significant role, but there is something even bigger I believe we need to focus more efforts on: mobile government.

Also called mGovernment, mobile government is an extension of online government connections to mobile platforms and the tactical use of these applications which are only possible using mobile phones, iPads, laptops, and any other devices that utilize wireless infrastructure. mGovernment can assist with making public information and other governmental services available to citizens anytime, any place, and the ubiquity of mobile devices mandates their employment in government functions, e.g. a mass text in an emergency, like a gas leak. However, several government agencies and public sector organizations are hesitant to adopt mGovernment. Why? Because experimenting with these technologies in the public sector is far more risky than the private sector.

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Open Formats & Open Source for Better Government

The Government of Canada is currently reliant on proprietary file formats and proprietary software applications, which lock it into a licensing bind with a single software manufacturer — Microsoft.  There is not only a question of cost — as we pay a monopoly corporation for per-seat licenses to run software that already dominates the market — but more importantly, there is the question of future access to our own data.  In this post, I’d like to share my thoughts on both issues.

Before you dismiss the idea of a major institution losing access to its stored data as ludicrous, consider this quote from Natalie Ceeney, chief executive of the UK National Archives:

“If you put paper on shelves, it’s pretty certain it is going to be there in a hundred years. If you stored something on a floppy disc just three or four years ago [2003-04], you’d have a hard time finding a modern computer capable of opening it. Digital information is in fact inherently far more ephemeral than paper. The pace of software and hardware developments means we are living in the world of a ticking time bomb when it comes to digital preservation.”

The UK National Archives includes a collection of 900 years of written material. As of 2007 they estimated that 580 terabytes of their data (the equivalent of 580,000 encyclopedias) was stored in file formats which have since become extinct.

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Web 2.0 Roles, Services & Vision Statement for Government

This was the initial visualization graphic I developed quite awhile ago when I was first aligning types of Web 2.0 according to roles in Government.

This aligns examples of Web 2.0 tools, along government roles, with 4 other axes thrown into the mix: Gov’t/Public, Internal/External.It also offers another way to look at the types of Web 2.0: according to Information flow. Once we have visualized these potential actor, application, interaction and information flows, what’s required is a Vision Statement to better understand the reasons Web 2.0 should and can most effectively be applied.

If the rockies are web 2.0, then a vision statement elaborates the reason for your trek.

A “Vision statement” is valuable for any strategic planning (right up there with elaborating the Mission statement & Values). For a few months now I have been sharing one that I developed a while ago. It takes a step back and reiterates the reason public servants and government want or need Web 2.0: to improve the work of public servants and government. I offer you a vision statement for Government to support Web 2.0:

Develop an engaged, networked & resilient public service responsive to a connected, knowledgeable & skilled public.

Notice that “Web 2.0″ isn’t actually in there. That’s because Web 2.0 is the means for the work of public servants to do what they do, like technology, communications hardware and desks. But this Vision Statement still supports Web 2.0. You don’t want to be doing Web 2.0 for the sake of doing Web 2.0 – but because it’s the best means to improve the modern public service.

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Russian Federation – e-Government Digest

Recently we launched our new project – we’ll try to collect here all of the news about development of e-government in Russia. Russian Federation, as we all know, is the largest country in the world and consists of 8 federal districts, which combine the 83 regions of the federation. That is the most important feature of our country which influences the development of the e-government there.

The e-government development processes in the Russian regions take place unevenly; the model of interaction between levels of government in e-government is still in its forming stage. The implementation of e-government is taking place in two ways: federal and regional.

As in other countries the Russian e-government development is taking place in several directions:

  • Organization of internal electronic workflow between various government authorities;
  • Providing the electronic government services to citizens and business segment;
  • Providing access to open public data via the government websites and the sites of state structures;
  • Moving of the officials into the web to start their official blogs and regional blogs;
  • Social and crowdsourcing projects implementation in the gov2.0 sector.

Once  a week we’ll publish the most important news of the e-government development in Russia, about new projects and achievements in that field.

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Kate Lundy – Keynote Address: Gov2.0 Expo 2010

Below are the notes for two speeches Senator Lundy gave to the international Gov 2.0 Expo in Washington D.C. on the 26th May 2010, including additional links, information and examples from Australia.

Please also see my “Reflections from Gov 2.0 Expo 2010, Washington DC” post for my thoughts on the event, and the media and Twitter coverage. Below is also the keynote video.

The Path to Open Government: The Pillars of Gov 2.0

The Internet is driving transformation in the very roots of our democracy.

The traditional leadership model, where the singular expression of citizen participation is at the ballot box, is transforming to an online model that empowers citizens by continually engaging and collaborating with them.

In this way, Gov 2.0 represents far more than just the application of Web 2.0 to government.

Why? Because Gov 2.0 represents an opportunity for governments to push the evolution of democracy well beyond the ballot box and in to life experience through online engagement.

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The Merits of Leading from the Middle

One of the true advantages I have seen developing within organizations, which utilize Social Media as a true enabler and game changing method of hypercommunications for their people, is the emergence of the leadership philosophy of “Leading from the Middle”.

Through all actors within and around the entity, both internal and external, working in a connected fashion, the organization and it’s leaders benefit from the eyes, ears and thoughts of all of those involved. The below video from Cisco explains the concept, ramifications and benefits of this emerging technology facilitated leadership approach.

To be clear, “Leading from the Middle” is not in any sense abdicating leadership authority or responsibility, as in any case, the final decisions and outcomes are still made by and reflect upon the leader or leadership team.

However, instead of those who choose to just lead from the front or the top in relative isolation, those who choose to lead from the middle harness the combined benefit of all organizational insights, information, knowledge and collective intelligence available to assist in making better, perhaps even the best, decisions possible.

One of the most interesting historical examples of the need and benefits of exercising a more delegated and distributed leadership style was in the case of Henry Ford.

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Two and a Half Years Later and Still No IM

In August 2008 I had the opportunity to collaborate with a technical advisor in order to give input into an Information Management/Information Technology (IM/IT) environmental scan that is being done by my departmental IT services group. This was a difficult undertaking because we had to concretely qualify driving forces and challenges to IM/IT without over-generalizing the need for ‘web 2.0’ because, for some reason, web 2.0 has become slang for ‘put up a wiki and problem solved’. However the IM/IT challenges faced by Government are significantly larger than any wiki can solve. Also it is interesting to note that the Australian government is now the second largest user of Yammer with 110 specific networks operating.

Gen Y has grown alongside information technology. We remember when the web was entirely text based, what it was like to wait more than a few seconds to download a single still image, and a when ‘Google’ wasn’t a verb. We have seen the exponentially increasing rate at which information can be found, managed, packaged and shared. We have also seen the similar growth in the breadth and depth of the tools and services with which we manipulate this information. Ubiquitous access to information is now the norm.

Herein lies the problem: the IM/IT infrastructure of the workplace simply cannot satiate our technological desires customs. Outside of the workplace, we continue to live our entire lives being able to appropriate new technologies as they emerge. We organize our lives in such a way that technology blends seamlessly into it. Yet, at work we are asked forced to do things the way we used to do them 5 to 10 years ago.

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How Can U.S. Federal Agencies Use Social Media to Enhance Civic Participation?

Anna York and I have spent the last 6 months working on a report looking at how U.S. Federal Agencies can use social media to enhance civic participation. Our work focuses more on the civic participation side than the web 2.0 side, and we hope that this report will help agencies as they begin to implement their forthcoming Open Government Plans.

We would like to thank Kevin Bennett of the Federal Communication Commission’s Broadband Taskforce, without whose dedication and helpful direction this project would not have been possible.

Our advisors, Professor and Co-Director of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Archon Fung and the Institute of Politics Director, Mayor Bill Purcell were always encouraging and patient throughout this process, and provided helpful feedback during the year. Julie Wilson and Jee Baum were also generous in their assistance as we developed our methodological approach.

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Victoria on the go with mobile government

Victoria is emerging as a hub for mobile-government, as the State’s government departments release a variety of smartphone apps and mobile-friendly websites that will cement its position as the nation’s leader in Gov 2.0.

In the lead up to the election, the Electoral Commission released the Vote Victoria app, which uses GPS technology to direct users to their nearest polling booth. VicRoads boasts the SmartPark app which reminds city drivers about clearway times and notifies them when their meter is due to expire. It has also developed Live Drive with real time updates on traffic conditions. And the State Revenue Office has just launched an application targeted at first home buyers with which they can calculate the amount of government assistance they are eligible for to help them with their purchase.

Dale Bowerman, Strategic Account Manager with Gov 2.0 strategists Collabforge, attributes Victoria’s momentum in this space to a series of policies which have opened the way for collaboration and innovation.

“The Gov 2.0 Action Plan and VPS Innovation Strategy have really set the tone for expectations around the Gov 2.0 and Web 2.0 space. In particular the Gov 2.0 Action plan, which is signed by the secretaries of all of the major departments, has given the green light to go forth and engage in the public space,” he says.

The company’s director, Mark Elliot, traces it back to the Future Melbourne plan (which Collabforge helped develop), an interactive wiki designed to cooperatively develop a ten year vision for the city. Link to full article at Intermedium

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