State Dept: Liveblogging eDiplomacy at Gov20 symposium

Dan Sheerin, Deputy Director, eDiplomacy Office, US Dept of State
Lessons learned from Diplopedia and Communities @ State

One thing we’re doing: Bring diplomats into the IT decision-making process

Online collaboration / crowdsourcing tool — the “Secretary’s Inbox” — for suggestions and ideas for Secretary of State Clinton.
How do we use technology in this multi-partner world?

Molly Moran
Diplopedia encyclopedic wiki for employees
Communities @ State blog-based communities of practice or interest allow for sharing of information regardless of bureaucratic or geographic location.
58 active communities.

Launched Diplopedia with basic guidance and governance — individuals didn’t have to get approval for participation, a culture shift in an organization that depends on approval levels. With governance, we’re less prescriptive and more descriptive. After early hesitations based on cultural shift, Diplopedia has been embraced with widespread participation and innovation. Users adapted and innovated creative uses for the site.
With “Communities @ State, develop goals and procedures in tandem with administrators

We have a mindset of “perpetual beta.” It’s not that we’re really always only in beta roll-out, but that we are flexible, innovative, learning, changing. Fail faster to achieve success faster!
Don’t let perfect get in the way of the good
Learn from users
Reassess goals and plans
Iterative design

One learning — when people use a tool, they decide how it is best used for them. Don’t pre-determine all the uses — let your people play, stretch, create.

Education compared with training. Too often we focus on training when we need to be educating and training. Decentralized, viral training. Invest in case studies.

Decentralized communication — self-publishing and radial publishing. “Radial publishing” radiates out — timeless, radiating out as resource for others.

Resist Balkanization — Don’t bifurcate your audience, tie things together, tags not folders, leverage metadata

Try Open Source, such as:
MediaWiki – Diplopedia
Communities @ State — Movable Type
Google Analytics
Benefits: Cheap, familiar, intuitive, OS development community not always for Windows-based enterprise environment.

Work with other agencies! Share best practices, SOPs, documentation, code, ideas.

Leave a Comment


Leave a Reply

Robin Paoli

Michael, I didn’t hear them mention location-aware technology for eDiplomacy. I think their ppt presentation will be available for download from GovLoop this weekend / next week…