Government Needs to Go Open Source

Why is it so hard for government to look for resources that already exist? As someone who’s managed social media accounts for the government I understand the challenge. The inclination is still for the need to “own” and “create” rather than collaborate. Even when it comes to training videos or conference entertainment, there is no need for government agencies to spend thousands on products with no enduring value or deliverable to the American taxpayer.

Take this $52,000 Veterans Administration training video, just one part of an excessive conference that cost the American taxpayer over $5 million and no doubt took resources away from veterans who need them.

In the meantime, however, check out this video, released just this week by U.S. Army Infantry soldiers stationed in Kunar, Afghanistan. Cost of this, actually entertaining, actually watchable video? A lot of talent, a lot of spare hours, and a priceless reward of morale boosting to the service members and their families.

Why is this kind of spending still happening? Why can’t the government use what it’s got? I’d be curious to hear from others.

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Terrence (Terry) Hill

First, I gotta say, that Afghan video was much better than the Patton fiasco. We in the government have to tendency to look outside for talent, ignoring the talent that is all around us. In fact, the outside/private sector “talent” that they often consult with is often composed of a bunch of ex-feds who weren’t successful while they were in office and now they are paid to lecture those holding the bag. Let’s stop relying on expensive consultants and holding lavish boondoggles. Let’s make better use of the talent right in front of us!

Elizabeth Fischer Laurie

Thanks for sharing Lindy. I made it through 4 minutes of the first video and had to stop it because I was distracted by other things (i.e., it did not keep my interest at all).

I actually stopped what I was doing and watched the entire Afghan video – and almost started crying to keep from busting out laughing at my desk! I might need to watch it again for an afternoon pick-me-up.