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Collaboration Squared (Collaborating about Collaborating)

Last month I setup a wiki, using Wetpaint, to introduce my students to Web 2.0 tools. In thinking of a name, I came up with Collaboration Squared as I was asking them to “collaborate about collaborating.” It seems to me we could use some of the same, unless it’s happening somewhere on GovLoop and I’ve not been able to find it. An exchange of Twitter DMs (Direct Messages) with @marydavie inspired me to write this post.

Specifically, I’m referring to sharing stories of success, case studies and examples where early adopters impacted change within their organization through promotion of social media and Web 2.0 tools. A search of GovLoop for the phrase “success stories” found several discussions and blogs asking similar questions, but nothing definitively answering the question. That begs the question, is there a need for some specific forum or portal that would provide “one-stop shopping” for someone interested in seeing where others have succeeded?

In April I ran across another Wetpaint site – Social Media Training – setup with the purpose of Using Social Media To Create Social Media Training. That site has over 200 members. On April 4th, I added the following page:

Thus far, no one has added anything. Granted, the membership is small, but it leaves me wondering whether anyone has successes to share?

Others on GovLoop have asked the same or similar question:

Social Networking Use in Public Sector Executive Search (no responses)

Have a good example for upcoming 6/4 event on web 2.0 in government? (1 response)

seeking state Web 2.0 success stories (many responses) – Led me to The Collaboration Project – just found it tonight, definitely a site I need to check out. That site could very well be the answer to my overall question. Their About page reads:

The Collaboration Project is an independent forum of leaders who share a commitment to the adoption and use of collaborative technologies to solve the complex problems of public management. Powered by the National Academy of Public Administration, this “wikified” space is designed to share ideas, examples and insights on the adoption of Web 2.0 technologies in the field of public governance.

In State Gov & Social Media, the author asks “if there are success stories/best practices/lessons learned by state governments using wikis for internal KM, G2G or G2C.” and received a few responses, including one pointing California’s Best Practices Wiki! with the purpose of:

The purpose of the Best Practices Center (Wiki) is to improve the effectiveness of California State government by sharing proven best practices. It enables state agencies to learn about, adapt, and apply tools and processes that have worked in public programs. The Best Practices Center builds on the willingness of state employees to share with each other by providing an online resource that supports collaboration, speeds communication, and reduces “silos.”

How are you using social media for recruitment in your agency? (no responses)

Looking to Highlight State and Local Technology Success Stories (no responses)

Collecting the best case studies of Social Media in Government (a few responses) including a reference to a Best Practices page at http://www.usaservices.gov.

Government 2.0 Success Stories from the Front Lines A very positive post (from October 2008) that received only one comment. (It also contained a reference to @cheeky_geeky – is he really everywhere? or has NDU perfected cloning?)

Musings on Web 2.0 Culture Change (by @levyj413) offers great tips and advice on implementing organizational change that received nine comments. One reader commented “Allow yourself to be inspired by and to inspire others” – I guess that’s the root basis for this blog post; I’m looking for stories of success, as much for inspiration as to emulate them.

Just tonight, while researching for this blog post, I stumbled across (and joined) the Communication Best Practices group here on GovLoop. The groups purpose? A place to share publicly releasable guidelines, templates, policies, etc. regarding government communication, including online communication. I’m not sure it scratches the “looking for success stories” itch I have, but the group still looks interesting and useful.

In conclusion, assuming anyone read down this far, I’ll restate the question I asked at the beginning: Should we have a central repository of success stories? If so, where should it be?

In my case, I’m currently preparing a presentation for a Faculty Development Program session with interested staff & faculty at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. When it’s done, I’ll happily share the presentation, along with the results and any lessons learned. I just need to know where to share.

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Bob King

Paige – Thanks for the offer. I’ll be contacting you. I’ve received several such offers (both publicly and privately).

I’m striving to get beyond the one-to-one sharing of success stories so that others do not have to struggle as long as I have to find solutions that work.

Or, referencing John Rendon’s slides below, I’m looking to move from the Industial Era (hierarchical) communications model directly to the Knowledge Age (convergent) model.

REF: (A) Rethinking Future Elements of National and International Power (1/2) (The Rendon Group)

REF: (B) Rethinking Future Elements of National and International Power (2/2) (The Rendon Group)

Mary Davie

Bob, great post and great underlying question. I think there are a number of examples such as Intellipedia, DoDTechipedia and DefenseSolutions.gov that have impacted/are impacting positive change. Additionally, the UK has been out in front of this for a while now and is often used as a poster child. Anthony William’s Wikinomics also provides many examples of success. I would also venture to guess that there must be blogs and other collections of examples of success stories.

On a separate, but related note, a friend of mine recently provided me with a link to blellow.com, a beta site that centers around supporting people with resources to participate or ask questions related to projects they may be working, getting opinions, feedback and answers to questions from groups, a meetup capability and a job board. Interesting concept focused on supporting people in specific functional or technical areas.

Erica Kraft

Having a collaboration ‘lessons learned’ / ‘best practices’ / ‘success stories’ / or ‘what’s working’ area would be useful.

And possibly to help that along would be to somehow ‘tag’ items that are all of the above and create a personal build/collection of those items? Just as you have done somewhat in your post.

If there is nothing there, create a space of your own, maybe others will contribute?

I think I’ve heard several discussions on folks in the ‘collaborating’ business looking for Best ‘Business’ Practice Models, and I agree with Mary Intellipedia is a good example — but I’d take it one step further… Intelink is a suite of collaborative services offered to the intelligence community and DoD… and it is providing more services everyday. (They just started a sharepoint service–sign up and you get your own sharepoint site collection compliments of ICES AND I think they are going to incorporate a twitter like service soon!).

I’m sure AKO/DKO also has some information on a business practice model for collaboration? Might be worth searching the AKO/DKO ‘wells’.

I would submit that at this time the best indicator for collaboration that I’ve seen… was from a presenter at a recent KM Conference in Washington DC. DoS’s Diplopedia… how many people contribute vs how many people just use the site for reference… the comparison was eye opening.

It will take time (baby steps) to build upon larger ‘lessons learned’ about collaboration using web 2.0 technologies b/c I think government is just starting the journey, but the small measureables are there, ie: use/contribute vs view.

I love your slides btw, depicting the move from heirarchical structure to networked. My only comment is (working for DoD myself) there is a blend of the two because of the innate military chain of command. BUT that doesn’t mean that organizations cannot function ‘networked’ at the same time, vice line and block. 🙂

Great posting.. I’ll be following!

Sandy Price

Need some way to corral all those authors out there asking the question into one “location.” This post is great.

Lucas Cioffi

I think the BRIDGE model developed by the US Intelligence community is a Gov 2.0 success story. It demonstrates how government agencies can save time by asking vendors to prove their collaborative tools can can meet interoperability standards before they are purchased. Interoperability among tools is vital because it creates a situation where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts; a final product in one collaborative tool can be the building blocks for collaboration in another. We at DeepDebate Inc joined BRIDGE and find the process to be very worthwhile.

Here’s an article from O’Reilly Media about it:
“According to its creator, Dan Doney, BRIDGE hopes to do for Public-Private collaboration what the iPhone Apps Store has done for the iPhone and its customers–produce a mind-boggling explosion of innovative applications for use by the Intelligence Community.”

Bob King

Thanks to all for the additional suggestions and comments, including the additional links to investigate.