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Category: ThomKearney

Framework for the Virtual Government Network

Updated with video of Thom Kearney presenting on the Virtual Government Network at PSengage, November 22nd, 2011

Thom Kearney – The virtual Government Network @ PSEngage2011 – November 22, 2011 from PSEngage on Vimeo.

Original post from Jan 6th, 2011:

The following material comes from a paper I recently finished as part of my studies. I took the opportunity to combine what I have learned about Information Management and Collaboration and then apply that knowledge to something that might be practical.  If you want the paper you can find it on the Articles page, here is a somewhat abridged version for your perusal and comment. By the way, if you do comment I promise to get back to you, however my response may not be immediate.

Virtual Government Network Collaboration Framework

The framework elements generic in the sense that they could apply to any large-scale collaboration network; in this example they have been populated with the Virtual Government Network in mind.

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PS Engage – Q&A with Andy Jankowski

This is the first in a series of guest posts by @IM4Ward, on behalf of the PS Engage planning committee.

The PSEngage conference is happening November 22, 2011 and the line-up of speakers is great!  To give more insight to the knowledge and interests of the speakers we sent them each a set of questions tailored to their individual experience.  We will be posting the questions and their responses over the next few weeks, so please keep checking back regularly.

Today’s interview is with @AndyJankowski Global Director, Intranet Benchmarking Forum

Andy will be speaking about the shift from traditional intranet and portal environments to digital workplaces.  He has been working in the area of collaboration and communication for years and has seen how the thinking, experimentation and solutions have evolved to achieve business goals and objectives.

1.      From your experience, how do companies and government differ in their approach to adopting social workplace practices? 

Surprisingly, not as much as you would think. While both entities are different structurally, they share similar needs and interests; knowledge sharing, expertise location and employee engagement to name a few. Regulatory environments aside, the approaches to which these entities, whether private or public sector, take in adopting social workplace practices is more affected by organizational culture than any other attribute. I have seen the same type of approaches, as well as speed and success of implementation, in both public and private settings. It just depends on the culture, leadership and willingness of the entities to change.   

2.      How can a social intranet help a government workplace be more innovative?

Innovation often results from serendipitously connecting people and dots. Social intranets enable and speed this process by bringing unstructured information and previously unknown networks to the forefront of employee communication and collaboration. Government entities are by necessity hierarchical, structured and often complex. Social intranets can help a government workplace be more innovative by enabling information and person-to-person connections to flow freely without disrupting the necessary structures in place.  

Andy has trained and competed for the past three years with the Heroes Foundation Cycling Team and we wanted to know if he was able to apply what he has learnt from his past time to his work.

3.     What have you learned from cycling and racing that can be applied to bringing about change in an organization?   

  • It’s a long race, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sprint several times throughout it. [Don’t be afraid to push things a little faster from time to time]
  • You do not know what is possible until you try and that’s when you realize that anything is possible.  [Even organizations seamlessly adopting new processes and collaborating together] 
  • It is better to learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable than to try to live and work in a false world of comfort.  [This is how progress and innovation happen]
  • Your brakes can be your worst enemy and cause more accidents than they prevent. Be careful when to apply them.  [Be careful when deciding to stop an initiative]
  • A well organized team (peleton) will out race an individual in almost any situation.  [A well organized team will break down barriers and silos and make more progress]
  • The same road looks different depending on the day.  [Do not be too quick judge your organization and its ability]
  • A very slight adjustment (seat height, pedal stroke, gearing) can make a world of performance difference.  [Small steps and improvements can cause big advancements]
  • Time is a man made concept. If you are creative, there is always time. [Being too busy is no excuse]
See you at #PSE2011!
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Weaving a tapestry of ideas and people

As many of you know I am helping to put together a networking and learning event as part of the @PSLeader initiative started by Jeff Ashcroft, Jeff is the same guy that got me into doing the #GovChat series of twitter chats, it all started with a comment on a blog post here.

Anyway, when I was part of the Public Service I was involved in the first Collaborative Management day and was excited about it, basically I think the whole #w2p #goc3 thing is awesome. Sadly, now that I am Private Sector I can’t participate in the same way, so that got me to thinking and…

…a while ago, a group of us in the shadow public service were chatting and felt that it might be a good idea to create an event that builds on the #goc3 momentum for collaborative management.  Of course if we were going to do something it had to have value over and above what an internal conference could provide. The logic we came up with goes something like this:

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Ten Principles for Designing Open Government Institutions

The below tweets are @ThomKearney‘s attempt to share part of @BethNoveck‘s testimony to Cdn Parliament #w2p #goc on March 2nd, 2011

1. Go Open – Government should work in the open. contracts, grants, legislation, regulation and policies should be transparent #w2p #goc

2. Open Gov Includes Open Access – After the public has paid once, it shouldn’t have to pay again. #w2p #goc

3. Make Open Gov Productive Not Adversarial –Gov”t shld invest in providing the data that people really want and will use. #w2p #goc

4. Be Collaborative – Rulemaking should be open to public early to allow for constructive alternative proposals. #w2p #goc

5. Love Data – Design policies informed by real-time data. Release data for economic benefit. See for more #w2p #goc

6. Be Nimble – Forcing organizations to act quickly discourages bureaucracy and encourages creative brainstorming and innovation. #goc #w2p

7. Do More, Spend Less – Design solutions that do more with less. Instead of cutting… ask if there is another way…#w2p #goc

8. Invest in Platforms – … Focus on going forward practices of creating raw data and real engagement. #w2p #goc

9. Invest in People – Changing the culture of government will not happen through statements of policy alone…. #w2p #goc

10. Design for Democracy..ask if legislation enables engagement that uses people’s abilities and enthusiasm for the collective. #w2p #goc

Ten Principles from Beth Noveck @BethNoveck related via Twitter by @ThomKearney

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Thom’s Top Ten #g2e 2010 edition

Back in May I wrote about attending Gov 2.0 Expo, in that post I promised to share some of what I learned. In short, it was an intense three days, lots of great presentations, and more importantly dozens of interesting and insightful conversations.  Here is my report.

1.  Top quote

I thought this was a very mature statement.

” web 2.0 tools are not something we need to learn to use, but environments we need to learn to live in.” Jack Holt, Dept. of Defense

For other things I thought were cool at the time you can check out my twitter feed from the conference.

2. Thou shalt engage

There is a ton of civic and employee consultation going on south of the 49th parallel. It seemed like every second presentation was about some form of engagement, mostly using the tool made available by GSA to all agencies, a good example is GSA’s own consultation.

With all this activity going on I expect we will see some more lessons learned in the next few months at, but two early conclusions appeared in my mind:

  • A broad national conversation is difficult if not impossible and of limited value.There are simply too many voices. Maybe when semantic analysis improves it will be practical but for now focus is essential.
  • Follow-up is critical. You need to know what you are planning on doing with the input,  be transparent about your intentions and follow through. Be sincere and prepare for the unexpected.  See this post from David Eaves for some perspective on what can happen.

David also had a wonderful keynote at the show about open data, baseball and government. You can watch it here.

For a Canadian perspective on engagement check out what the folks at Ottawa based Publivate are up to.

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Letting go for high performance leadership

© Chris Lamphear, iStockphoto

In Gov 2.0 circles I often hear that organizational culture needs to change. If you think about that you will realize that people need to change. If you think about that you will realize that you have to change. Last year I heard the story of a public servant leader who discovered that sometimes by letting go, you get better results. I think it is a good example of the transformation many of us need to consider for ourselves.

Two years ago, Angelina Munaretto took leadership of the Applying Leading Edge Technologies (ALET) working group within the Canadian government. This horizontal, mostly voluntary group was established to explore ideas around the use of social media and Web 2.0 tools for the government communications community.

At the outset, the group was structured in a traditional way and using government hierarchy: a Project Manager, two sub-working groups with co-chairs, and an advisory committee. Work began on defining the deliverables, finding members for the working groups and then working towards meeting the needs of this defined structure.

What nobody counted on, but in retrospect is not surprising, is the level of interest, passion and commitment exhibited by the entire government community in response to the global trend towards Web 2.0. All areas — not just communications, but programs, IM, IT and human resources — wanted to participate in some way. Those who were involved in applying the tools on a day-to-day basis started suggesting new projects that would help advance their programs, communications and use of Web 2.0 tools. The community grew into 150 people and 36 departments and agencies represented. Five departments seconded employees to work on deliverables for the community at no cost to the project.

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