Live Blogging the 2011 Next Generation of Government Summit: Closing Keynote

3:55 p.m. That’s all she wrote, folks. Thanks for reading. Closing remarks by Steve and Dave are going down now, but the live blogging portion of this conference is now over. I think it’s fair to say NextGen 2011 was awesomely successful, and on behalf of everyone at GovLoop, we hope we’ll see lots more of you at next year’s summit.

Take care!

3:40 p.m. Last up is’s Kathryn Fink, who will be giving a talk called “The Power of a Community Like You – Lessons from”

Kathryn: I love the energy and enthusiasm going on here.

I’m going to talk to you about the “100 percent Rule.”

Over 9 million people have joined Meetup. One happens every 13 seconds. They support each other, learn from each other, have fun each other.

The 80-20 principle says 80 percent of effects come from 20 percent of the causes. Online, we talk about the 1 percent rule: only 1 of 100 members will contribute to a community regularly. There’s also “the vital few and the trivial many” theory. It’s pretty depressing.

And yet! People-powered movements are successful because they defy those stereotypes.

First, a story has to shift from a me-centric to us-centric.

The key ingredient = connection. is widely used by the Tea Party movement. They have distinct identities, but they use technology to become greater than the sum of their parts.

It also happens at the neighborhood level. Many meetups have improved their communities and some have even evolved into nonprofits.

Citizen to citizen = infinite possibility. That’s what GovLoop’s all about.

Challenge: find five people to stay in touch with, keep on top of each other, get together once in a while.

In all these ways, it can be the “vital few and the useful many” or even the “vital few and the vital many.” Everyone is vital when they’re connected.

3:20 p.m. Next up: “Consider – Harnessing Reflective thinking in Government,” a talk from the author Daniel Patrick Forrester.

Daniel: I wrote a book about stepping back, reflecting, and thinking.

I’ll show you some evidence leaders are, it turns out, distracted. “Mutitasking is an impossibility.” You can’t do two things at once with the same success as you could do either one alone.

Remember when Obama announced that we had killed Osama bin Laden? First, he asked for sixteen more hours to think about it. People thought he was going to make a decision right then and there, but he was not ready yet. “I don’t know about you, I like my presidents thoughtful.”

I don’t like that when our leaders choose to think, they get attacked for it.

True story: 28 percent of our time is spent being interrupted by things that are not urgent and getting back on track. 25 percent of our time is spent producing content (that includes email). 20 percent of our time is spent in meetings. 15 percent is spend searching through content. And 5 percent is spent thinking and reflecting.


When you take time to think and name the problem… it makes a huge difference.

Thad Allen realized Katrina wasn’t a hurricane, it was a weapon of mass destruction without criminality. It took him 13 hours on the ground to figure that out. It made all the difference in dealing with it effectively.

The Patraeus Big Idea Framework: Where did the ideas for the counterinsurgency doctrine and the Iraq surge come from? Lots of thinking in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. Here’s the Patraeus framework:

1. Get the “big” ideas right -> 2. Communicate those ideas within the organization -> 3. Oversee and implement the big ideas -> 4. Capture/share refinements to the big ideas

We need to focus more on steps #1 and #4.

“Your generation has unbelievable challenges” and you’re going to need to step up. It’s unbelievable the decisions being made here in D.C. without any attention to the framework.

3:05 p.m. Hey all and welcome back to the NextGen 2011 live blog! The time has come, we’re on our final session. First up will be a talk titled “Public Service: It’s personal” by TSA senior advisor and SES candidate Kriste Jordan Smith.

Kriste: “It’s 102 degrees outside. You’re here.”

I am more than just a govie. I’m also a foodie. And I’m the moderator of one of the largest D.C. dining websites. Those two circles overlap. Food and gov. There’s a phrase from the latter realm that I think applies to your professional life too: Tell me what you eat and I’ll tell you who you are.

Some people are so busy they hardly have time to eat. There are others who have more time and can grow our own gardens. There’s a wide spectrum.

So I’ve twisted it a bit to apply to the other realm. Now it’s: Tell me what you do and I’ll tell you who you are. I don’t mean you are your job. It’s more than that.

What’s the D.C. question when you meet someone at the park? [Everyone: What do you do?]

We often try to map what you do to our agency’s mission. But none of us single-handedly puts on a red cape and changes the way the government works. The kinds of changes we’re trying to make takes time. It’s complicated. We can’t always see how we’re advancing the mission.

Here’s another way to answer the question: Emotional wake. When you interact with someone, you leave them with a feeling. Think abut what that is. How are you influencing them? This applies to Myers-Briggs T’s as well as F’s. “What are you doing to enable greatness in others?” What are you doing to empower them?

“Tell me what you do and I’ll tell you who you are.”

I’m going to end with a quote from the founder of Chick-Fil-A: How do you tell if the people around you need encouragement?

They’re breathing.

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