Co-creation, ideation, and other -ations at the federal government level

I had the pleasure of participating on Government 2.0 radio last night, chatting about collaboration, innovation and social media in Government ( One of the most interesting items we discussed was the Federal Agency Ideascale Dashboard (, which you should check out regardless of your interest in government 2.0 initatives. Here is why:

* This is a great example of an ideation platform in action. If the Federal Government can fire up a platform as robust as this one as quickly as they did what excuse does your business or State/Local agency have for not doing the same?
* The platform provides a good overview of which agencies are participating. Agencies like Veterans Affairs and NASA are generating a lot of activity while other agencies like SBA and USAID are not generating much discussion.
* This ideation platform will ultimately lead to co-creation of value between government agencies and the citizens they support. This is similar to the way HP works with its customers, through support communities, to create new product offerings and features. It works.

What is being done well?

* The White House has done an excellent job of putting a sense of urgency to this initiative. Without this sense of urgency it is unlikely much would have been accomplished.
* The dashboard provides a clear graphical indicator, right at the top of the page, of the metrics being used: ideas, votes, comments. This concept should be applied to any agency or business.
* The goals from the executive level have been combined with the passion and vision of those at all levels. The dashboard, the ideation platform, none of this was explicitly called for in the open government directive. Give your teams a clear understanding of the goal, the strategic framework within which they are allowed to play, then let them execute. Let your teams be creative and excel.

How should this be improved upon?

* This initiative, and any that you will start in your business or agency, can only be successful if you have clearly defined goals. The White House, as the executive team, must step back and better define the goals of these efforts (or better yet push this to the agency level). Avoid goals like “become more transparent” and “increase engagement”. These goals sound good but are fuzzy tactics, not goals. Your goals should be clear, should be measurable, and might focus on increased revenue generation (for businesses) or for increased citizen participation (for agencies).
* Remember to market the initiative. Very few people outside the public sector know about the Federal Dashboard or the Open Government Directive. This must change.
* Remember that these initiatives, and others like it, require citizen/customer involvement. The Ideascale platform is a good technology for those web-enabled citizens but there are far too many that are not on the web, not involved through these channels. When you deliver technology solutions make sure you are meeting your citizens, your customers, where they are, not where you want them to be.

Let me know what you think? Did you know about this dashboard? Does your company or agency use any ideation tools?


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