The National Academy for Public Administration (NAPA), established in 1967 and chartered by Congress, is a non-profit independent coalition of public and private sector leaders who “tackle the nation’s most critical and complex challenges”. The Academy does this through its expansive network of Fellows, Shared Interest Groups, Research, Project Panels, Standing Panels and Consortia, Centers and Special Initiatives. NAPA’s Collaboration Project, launched in the spring of 2008, is one of these initiatives. The Collaboration Project is a forum for thought leaders to come together “to share ideas, examples, and insights on the adoption of Web2.0 technologies in the field of public governance” using a wikified space to do just that. I spoke with Danielle Germain, the Project Director of The Collaboration Project, and Govloop member to learn more. (Note: Danielle just left The Collaboration Project to join GSA as Chief of Staff).
The idea for The Collaboration Project came about as an avenue to provide a means for federal, state and local governments to collaborate and share information related to the application of and best practices around emerging technology and tools.
Today, there are nine federal agencies formally participating in The Collaboration Project. The Project brings the agencies together on a regular basis through membership meetings to collaborate and discuss specific issues and challenges related to adopting Web2.0 technologies in government. The Collaboration Project also sponsors events, provides a research function, provides support to agencies trying to solve specific problems, and supports special projects, such as the National Dialogue. The Collaboration Project’s wiki site also includes White Papers, meeting notes, presentations, and links to federal web2.0 policy – most of which is available to the public (must register to view).
Some goals for The Collaboration Project include increasing federal agency membership to 12 agencies by the end of the year, and increasing the number and types of case studies available (there are many already at the federal, state and local levels). Danielle says “we need to stay relevant and agile, and move with the conversation.”
Danielle believes that The Collaboration Project and NAPA in general are valued because of the expertise in an impartial and neutral forum. The focus of transparency, collaboration and openness in the Obama Administration has also helped fuel interest in The Collaboration Project. When asked what success looks like, she replied “to build a community within government for collaboration resulting in improvement across government.”