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2010 GovLoop Vision – Where We Are Going & Your Feedback

So I’m super excited about the potential for GovLoop in 2010. “Twenty – Ten” not “Two thousand oh ten”

And wanted to share with you my vision of where I see GovLoop going and get your ideas on where we should go.

The mission and vision of GovLoop is clear – “To connect government to improve government.”

There are millions of government officials working across fed/state/local/international levels and various agencies….and we are all working on similar issues and we should connect and learn from each other. Whether you are working on an IT strategic plan, a recruiting strategy, figuring out how to do a new way of funding…someone else is working on a similar issue.

And GovLoop is here for you to connect and learn from each other.

There are a couple key themes I want to focus on in 2010:

Membership Growth

To me 2010 is the year GovLoop moves from the early adopters to the mainstream. We are passionate in helping solve government problems and we believe that with more members we can foster more connections on more problems. In 2010 we hope to grow membership through a variety of opportunities:

-Partnering with Amazing Associations – We already have partnerships with amazing associations such as FEW, BIG, YGL and believe that we can work together to highlight their great work and help them foster great online community on GovLoop. Interested in getting your organization more involved with GovLoop- email me ([email protected])

-Working With Cool Events – There are tons of great events in the government community. We hope to work with the number of great events to highlight their work and provide a place to have conversation before, during, and after events and also capture the rich knowledge sharing that takes place.

-Letting More People Find Us – Right now GovLoop is a private social network that you have to join to the read the content. People tell me all the time that they hate having to sign-in to read content. So we are going to slowly open up GovLoop in 2010 so more people can find us

-Helping Agencies Collaborate – There are tons of ways agencies need to collaborate either across federal agencies or across state, local, and international level. I believe that GovLoop can be an easy, quick way to help foster this collaboration via GovLoop groups whether it is a working group on H1N1 at all levels, special initiatives like data.gov, or collaboration on a topic like radon where a community needs to collaborate. Interested at all? Shoot me an email at [email protected]

Increasing Engagement
It’s great to throw a big party but it’s meaningless without true engagement and community. In 2010, we are launching a number of items to continue to engage and strengthen the awesome GovLoop Community such as:

-GovLoop Newbie Group – Providing a way for new GovLoop members to feel welcome in a safe place with mentorship from senior GovLoop members

-More offline activities – Our first 3 GovLoop events were a raging success and while GovLoop is inherently an online social network and I don’t want to throw a bunch of events, we want to provide ways for GovLoopers to extend the bond in person. I’m a big believer in online and offline actually work together and have had pleasure to meet GovLoopers at everything from Tweetups, random happy hours, to conferences and it is always amazing.

-More Opportunities to Interact – I’m really interesting in staging more opportunities to interact on GovLoop. That can be anything from AwesomeGov where we asked you to submit ideas and votes to online chats to knowledge dialogues

-New features – GovLoop is growing and extending its platform with a range of features in 2010 to further engagement and help members meet other people like them, find the content they want, and provide a safe space to collaborate. I’m always watching the latest tech trends to see if we can help you out – for example with mobile we’ve launched m.govloop.com our current mobile site and hope to do more. But we want to do more…what do you want?

-Building Resources to Do Your Job Better – There is a wealth of information on GovLoop that can help people do their job better. The problem is that the content is often disperse and hard to use. Thus we are going to build more clear resources to help you do your job better. These include:

*Best Practice Pages – Where we highlight the best of GovLoop and the web on various topics from Gov 2.0, telework, and on-boarding
*Data.GovLoop.com – Where we turn data into information and highlight government data that can help you ranging from per diem rates, best places to work, or sorting govloop members by categories
*How-To Guides – Where we provide quick summaries on various topics with the best of GovLoop information.

New Partners, Safe Place and Clear Separation

Since the beginning of GovLoop, people have always asked me what was my approach in terms of promotions and advertising. And honestly we didn’t have one as we didn’t do any and didn’t do much monitoring. I heard feedback from members that they did not like when people were overly promotional and that we needed clearer guidelines. Thus, we asked you for your help and together we built the GovLoop Engagement Guidelines. And you stated that you were cool with ads/promotions if they were clearly segmented and added value.

Now that we have a GovLoop team devoted to make GovLoop even more awesome for you…yes we need a way to support ourselves. The one change we are making in 2010 is the introduction of 10 key GovLoop partners. As we mature, GovLoop is providing ways for our partners to engage with the community to add value plus also provide the resources needed to support the GovLoop team and feature development. I’m super excited about the 10 amazing partners (companies and gov agencies) as they really get the philosophy of GovLoop and are really cool…and will be rolling them out throughout Jan/Feb.

My philosophy with partners is pretty simple – I want valued added engagement with the classy NPR, PBS style advertising I’ve always enjoyed…..there will be no dancing baby banner ads, spammy list rentals…but some cool engagement that will help you do your job better and learn more.

Giving Back
Core to the values of GovLoop is giving back. I’ve made that a key principal for 2010 as we’ve promised to donate 5% of all revenue to charity. We’ve already launched the AwesomeGov campagin by donating $1,789 to Adventures for the Cure with our charity 2.0 membership drive contest where you decided where our money went.

Next up, we have partnered with the non-profit Code for America (founder of CityCamp) and will be launching a scholarship drive next week for 4 government leaders to attend CityCamp, a great gov 2.0 barcamp for municipal leaders. We will have you submit the most innovative municipal projects and you vote on the winner.

Throughout the year, we want to do more of these activities and also see if we can get GovLoopers together to give back (maybe we should have GovLoop volunteer day).

What do you think? Any suggestions on how we can give back even better?

So that’s my general vision….I always balance out planning for the year and iterate as we go. So I’ll do a little of both and keep on listening to you for your feedback.

Enough of me talking….what do you think of the vision of 2010? What other ideas do you have that we should be doing? Ways we can help you more? And generally be more awesome?

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11 Comments

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Profile Photo K. Scott Derrick

Steve: Great ideas! I especially like the efforts of additional opportunities for GovLoopers to meet face-to-face and opening up GovLoop so that more people can find us. Keep up the excellent work and thank you for your efforts to connect government to improve government.

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Profile Photo steve davies

Like it Steve. We have similar ideas for OZloop, but with some differences due to the climate of the public service in Australia. Our Gov 2.0 Taskforce Report has a bearing on some of what we are thinking of.

Great stuff!

Steve D.

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Profile Photo Bridget Hardy

Just to say i like GovLoop. Even though not part of US government theres plenty of similarity – sorry I can’t attend the interesting sounding events but I find many of the blogs, especially on communication and management, interesting and useful. It is a pain having to sign in to read – but if it means people can feel free to make more insightful posts and candid comments then its worth it in my view

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Profile Photo Terrence Hill

Steve – This all sounds wonderful, but as you know many Federal employees do not have access to GovLoop at work because it is blocked. Maybe you could work on getting more endorsement and participation from Administration officials such as the CTO. We are missing a huge potential audience because they fear the stigma of using social networks to discuss government business. Keep up the good work!

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Profile Photo Steve Ressler

Great feedback everyone.

Terry- it’s an issue I’ve looked into and the good news is actually almost all agencies have access now baring a few holdouts. Plus we’ve had great luck reaching out to it security folks to get unblocked if thts the case. We’ll ramp this up even more next year

Scott- glad you like the idea of the gatherings and will keep u in loop as move forward

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Profile Photo Adam Arthur

Great stuff, Steve. And with a group of forward-thinking members, GovLoop will churn out a lot more ideas than what we have here! One can only imagine what will come to fruition in the coming year!

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Profile Photo Steve Ressler

Indeed Adam. The best part is that these aren’t ideas I created (trust me that’s a good thing). All came from awesome members (you came up with many) and we’ll continue to ask for feedback and ways we can make it more awesome for the member.

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Profile Photo Lisa Roper

I work at the Forest Service. We are looking at how we can best use social media in combination with other local agencies having the same interests…this might be a chance for GovLoop to put on some type of online presentation – chat – showing how agencies can share information. I am sure other forests are doing the same. But why reinvent the wheel? Any takers?

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Profile Photo Steve Radick

Huge fan of the inter-agency collaboration that GovLoop enables and I look forward to extending this in twenty-ten. One of the big issues with the government is that one agency will do something awesome (like Intelink or IdeaFactory) but it’s typically been restricted to use in that one agency or department because “why should my org pay for something that 23 other orgs are using too – tell them to pay for their own.” And moving money around/paying for a service out of multiple budgets has typically been a painful process. (Granted, that’s changing now as IdeaFactory spreads to more agencies, more orgs have started using Intelink, etc.). GovLoop, right now, has the lowest barrier to entry to meet that need. As Terry mentions below in his comment, if you can take the next step and get GovLoop on the “approved” list by Federal CIOs and IT staffs, you can hopefully make this collaboration even more widespread.

The other piece of this that really caught my eye was the “Building Resources” section. There’s a massive amount of information on GovLoop and I know I’m missing out on a lot of it because I just don’t have the time to read through it every day. The need for more emergence – the identification and collection of best practices will be a valuable step in 2010. That’s why I really like the weekly GovLoop emails you send – I know that’s the best of the best for that week, but it’d be nice to have something that consolidates this disparate content into a best practices or best posts module of some sort.

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