Bryan Sivak on Digital DC: How to Create a New Culture of Digital Government

Hey Govies!

I just got off the phone with Bryan Sivak, the former CTO of Washington DC, a little while ago. We were prepping for this Thursday’s PdF Network conference call (1-2pm EST). The topic is “Digital DC: How to Create a New Culture of Digital Government.” We’re both really psyched for this conversation.

Bryan is going to focus on how to shift the assumptions inside government agencies away from risk avoidance to a willingness to embrace change, including trying social media, opening up government processes to public involvement, and so on. He comes from the software start-up world, having launched his own company in 1998, and came into government in 2009 at the invitation of then-Mayor Fenty.

He’s got plenty of chapter-and-verse stories about how he was able to plant and nurture small changes inside the DC bureaucracy into really widespread transformation–like getting thousands of people inside the DC government all onto and using Yammer for internal cross-department communication. We’re also going to look at topics like how government can change how it manages failure, and look at some real life lessons from DC’s handling of some recent crises.

Right now thru May all these PdF Network calls are free; you just have to RSVP in advance:

We’ve also got a really interesting call coming up on “Connected Cities” looking in particular at how Boston is using technology to connect citizens to each other and their government:

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Joe Flood

I was working for the DC government when Yammer was introduced. It was really interesting. The effect was to break down hierarchies and enable front-line workers to communicate with agency heads. It was really brave of them. The techies used it the most, as an internal Twitter, where they could talk about projects they needed help with. Like on Twitter, some people shared a little too much, including things they should’ve discussed in private. A gentle reminder of the “rules of the road” with social media would’ve been useful before Yammer was introduced.

Micah Sifry

Joe–That’s really interesting and exactly the kind of detail we want to get into on this Thursday’s call. I hope you can join us.


Heather Coleman

Thanks for sharing this information Micah! I signed up for the next several calls. Looking forward to this week’s call with Bryan and also the May 26th topic on the Future of the Internet.

I have started a group on Facebook where interested individuals can discuss the DC Digital Divide issue. I shared this information on there as well. Would love to have you join us: