My first post on GovLoop! I feel like one of those talk-radio listeners who finally calls in “first time, long time.”
Here goes -
President Obama remarked in the last State of the Union Address that the last time the federal government was restructured was in the age of black and white TV. You may be able to debate the facts behind this statement, but ‘perceptually’ this statement rings true. The government is slow to change, even despite all of the change (technology, demographics, how we work, etc.) that is happening in the world today there is one thing that has remained relatively free of change. That is how the government workforce is structured.
For the government to take advantage in the advances in technology, the type of work we do today, and how we do it needs to become more flexible. Without flexibility and adaptation even the best workforce plans may fail to anticipate new trends or challenges.
At Deloitte Consulting’s GovLab (Twitter: @govlab), we thought that to become more flexible the government needed to adopt a new organizational model for its workers, and through our research we came up with one. Our way is called Fed Cloud!
In GovLab we use the term cloud to mean a cloud of government workers who are not tied to any one agency. The cloud refers to a pool of employees that can be tapped when your objective needs require and that can work across agency boundaries in their area of expertise.
The concept of cloud labor is not all together new. Many private companies leverage cloud labor concepts to complete internal projects. Amazon.com has set up a cloud labor platform, called Mechanical Turk, which enables people to assign small segmented work tasks to users. Cloud labor concepts can also be seen in Finland in that country’s National Library project where “workers” simply play a game to help transform the country’s archives into digitized searchable text.
Even forward-thinking organizations in the US Federal government are using new types of “cloud” labor. The office of eDiplomacy at the Department of State has set up a portal for students around the world to help the Department of State complete tasks.
Fed Cloud is more than just micro tasks and outsourced labor. It is part of a three pronged structure of government that consists of government-wide shared services, thin mission-organized agencies made up of policy and subject matter experts as well as front-line service employees, and a cloud of shared labor that helps government organization’s achieve their missions.
Now you might be thinking to yourself…this will never work. Well don’t worry you are not alone in that thought, we spent plenty of time researching all of the obstacles and roadblocks that stand in the way. We even came up with a list. All of these reasons may be valid, but given how it is increasingly hard to predict the future, and with all of the changing work trends and challenges facing the federal government something must be done to be able to attract and retain a workforce that can solve tomorrow’s challenges.
We think our idea is a good place to start from…but don’t take my word for it, come read our report and see for yourself. www.deloitte.com/us/fedcloud