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Weekly Round-up December 02, 2011

Gadi Ben-Yehuda

On December 07, GSA is presenting a Webinar on social media metrics that I will be moderating. Here are some of the articles that I'm likely to touch on:

  • Make it like a game. As the Apps for Healthy Kids site can attest, people are more likely to do the things they should be doing anyway when they get points for it. That's the idea behind GovLoop's Leaderboard and behind Federal Social Media Index. In their language, they "rank which federal agencies are doing the best job of engaging their audiences on social media through Twitter." Worth a look!
  • How that game is scored. Spring Metrics has an infographic that sketches out the evolution of Web metrics, from "hits" to "engagement." That said, the whole "infographics" thing has evolved, too. . . .
  • Interpreting the results.Amber Nusland of Brass Tack Thinking argues that the best tool for social media metrics is "Human 1.0, and the brain they bring with them. (Find a good one, of course, there are some lemons out there)." She goes on to say:

    If all we’re doing is reporting on noise and putting in pretty graphics, we’re doing ourselves – and the painstaking work we’ve undertaken – a terrible disservice. We need people, human brains who can interrogate that data relentlessly, question its use and validity and contextual relevance, and transform it into information that enlightens us, that guides us, that’s completely relevant for our work and our achievements and our goals…and even lead us to another layer of questions we should be asking.

  • Metrics: the fourth quarter? Finally, on GovLoop, I explain how I see the evolution of social media in government as a four-step process, starting with adoption, and going through imitation and customization until we finally get to where we are: evaluation. Want to more? Hey, buy the rights register for the GSA Social Media Metrics Webinar next Tuesday!

Dr. John Bordeaux

This month, a grand experiment, an important study, ends. The Project on National Security Reformbegan in 2008 as an exploration into the systemic failures of the U.S. national security system - led by the individuals who re-organized the Pentagon with the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act. Understanding that the 1947 National Security Act, along with its embedded assumptions and various modifications over the years, remained insufficient as an organizing construct for the challenges of the 21st Century, a stalwart team labored to not only learn the root causes for systemic failure, but also to recommend structural reforms that would position the U.S. to achieve its goals in a rapidly changing world.

One key finding: the U.S. lacks not only a shared vision, but also the repeatable ability to establish such a vision. Without a long-term perspective, we suffer from short-term agendas. In the words of the study: "Most organizations experience a challenge in sharing information and knowledge and in achieving appropriate data flow across organizations. However, within the national security community, the ability to perform these functions is practically nonexistent."

The study ends, but core challenges remain. The failure of the U.S. national security system to behave as a singular, effective system remains the greatest of these. The nation should be indebted to the contributions of the Project on National Security Reform.

Dan Chenok

John Kamensky

  • OMB: New Dashboard to Track High Priority Infrastructure Projects. OMB’s Jeff Zients announced in a recent blog post that OMB has created a new dashboard to track the progress of infrastructure projects through various agency permitting and approval processes, such as the Tappen Zee bridge replacement project, San Joaquin River Restoration Project, and a Denver housing project.
  • OMB: Reduce Contract Spending for Management Support Services (November 7, 2011). OMB issued a memo to agency CFOs, acquisition directors, and procurement chiefs, directing them to cut spending on management support contracts by 15 percent ($6.7 billion) by the end of FY 2012.
  • OMB: Appoint Suspension and Debarment Czars (November 15, 2011). OMB issued a memo to agency heads directing them to create a single point of contact in their agencies to oversee their efforts to suspend and debar irresponsible contractors.
  • Obama: Modernize Record Keeping in the Social Media Age (November 28, 2011). President Obama issued a directive to agencies on records management – the most significant since President Truman – to bring agencies into the digital age. According to AOL Government News, agencies produce 475 million pages of records a year.
  • AGA's Online Government Fraud Prevention ToolKit. The Association of Government Accountants have released a “state-of-the-art, online resource designed to help officials at all levels of government to prevent, detect and deter fraud. The ToolKit is a valuable tool to help promote program integrity at all levels of government.”
  • AGA Report: Using Performance Information. The Association of Government Accountants also released a research report on improving the use of performance information, based on agency-level interviews, “Using Performance Information to Drive Performance Improvement.” They will host an audio seminar on it on December 7.
  • World Bank: Using Mobile Phones for Participatory Budgeting – in the Congo! We think the US is the home of Open Government and Citizen Engagement. Here’s an interesting 4-minute YouTube video by the World Bank about how citizens in the Congo are participating in government budgeting efforts via their mobile phones! Here’s their description: “Prior to the assemblies where citizens convene to decide on the budget allocation, hundreds of thousands of messages (SMS) are sent to citizens, inviting them to attend the meetings. Until this moment, over 250.000 text messages have been sent. These interventions ensure high levels of popular mobilization and foster the inclusiveness of the participatory budgeting process. Via their mobile phones citizens can also vote for budgetary priorities and receive updates on the status of the selected public works.”

The Business of Government Radio Show: Matt Leighninger

The Business of Government Hour features a conversation about management with a government executive who is changing the way government does business. The executives discuss their careers and the management challenges facing their organizations.

The show airs fives times a week on two radio stations in the DC Metro Area.

Mr. Matt Leighninger begins to pull back the veil on how the various online engagement tactics and tools can be used, and when they work best. Mr. Leighninger is the Executive Director of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium (DDC), an alliance of the major organizations and leading scholars working in the field of deliberation and public engagement.

Broadcast Schedule: Saturday, December 03 at 9:00 a.m & Friday, December 02 at 2:00 p.m on CBS Radio 1580AM on For those outside of the Washington, D.C. area, you can listen to our live webstream on CBS Radio 1580AM. Monday, December 05, at 11 a.m., Wednesday, December 07, at Noon, and Thursday, December 08, at Noon on Federal News Radio 1500AM WFED

If you can't wait, though, you can listen to it or download our interview with Beth and all our interviews at businessofgovernment.org and by searching our audio archives.

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