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Why do we continue to get confused about Government 2.0?

Andrea Di Maio recently wrote a post titled Gartner Symposium Does Not Paint a Pretty Picture for Government 2.0 that summarized his take aways from the Gartner Symposium. You should read it then return, I’ll be waiting….

The heart of my response to Andrea is that we continue to think of Government 2.0 as being about technology and continue to look to our CIOs for leadership. Government 2.0 is not about technology, technology is simply the enabler.

Looking at my definition of Government 2.0 I always tell people that it is a goal-oriented strategic approach to government. It achieves goals through increased efficiency, better management, information transparency, and citizen engagement and most often leverages newer technologies to achieve the desired outcomes.

Government 2.0 is not about using social media, deploying cloud solutions or opening up data. These are often used as part of a tactical solution to achieve goals in successful implementations, of course, but these are not the goals. We see successes when local governments and agencies take a strategic approach. We only have to look at the Department of Defense, Department of State, Department of Veteran Services, Department of Health and Human Services, Manor Texas, San Francisco, Boston, Washington DC, and countless others to see examples of government 2.0 successes.

I have written this before but I will write it over and over again until I hear everyone repeating it. Do we want to see government 2.0 succeed? If we want success we must:

  • Stop putting the CIOs in charge of government 2.0 initiatives. Put agency heads, city or town managers, in charge. They should work with critical departments, such as IT via the CIO, but the business side of government must be in charge.
  • Clearly define the goals to be accomplished. If you want any organization to be successful it must first understand where it is going.
    • Publish these goals publicly, inside and outside of the organization.
  • Better Management. Too often the goals, the mission, are not clearly understood throughout the organization. Better management methodologies are a critical component of this transformation.
    • People will focus on the goals against which they are being measured. Make the goals clear and reward/penalize teams and individuals based upon results.
  • Use technology to achieve the goals.
    • Information transparency. Open data sets are being produced daily to share the inner workings, the inner data that government has about healthcare, education, transit, and more.
    • Citizen engagement. The use of social media in combination with other communication channels like television, print, and in person meetings is opening up new possibilities.
    • Leveraging newer technologies. Cloud computing, QR-Codes, Social networks, and much, much, more play a key role in achieving the desired outcomes.
    • Leverage older technologies including email, phone, and snail mail as appropriate. While the shiny new toys are perfect for some problems older technologies can be perfect in other situations.

The sooner we move beyond the myopic focus on technology the sooner we can recognize the models of success that are already being created today. How can our thought leaders help?


Originally posted on Government in Action.

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