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Decrypting Open Government, Regulations.gov gets a Makeover and What Innovators DON’T say

Decrypting Open Government, Recovery.gov gets a Makeover and What Innovators DON’T say by GovLoop Insights

So do you have an elevator pitch for your organization’s mission? Could you do it in one minute? Can you make strategy fun? Dave McClure, the associate administrator of GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technology, has created a video laying out his organization’s strategy. And not only that — they’ve posted it online. We’d love to hear your thoughts about it. And it’s only one minute.

And do you remember last week we told you about Santa Cruz, California where they are using big data to help them actually find where crime happens — it allows them to get ahead of crime. It’s a pretty awesome story about another case where data mining can now be used to help catch crooks. Researchers from the University of Memphis were able to detect local crime patterns – geographic hot spots on the city’s map and moments in time when they’re most likely to flare up. We have the link to our conversation with officials from Santa Cruze… and to the story in Atlantic Cities.

And today, I’m moderating a panel on mobile in the workplace for AFFIRM — the Association for Federal Information Resource Managers. We’ll have some highlights of that next week.

On today’s program…

  • The polarizing power of Open Government…the problem could lie in the ambiguity of the term open government.
  • Regulations dot gov gets a makeover. You’ll learn about the site’s relaunch.
  • What are innovators NOT talking about…that’s what you need to be listening out for.

All that ahead…

But after the break, we start with the stories that impact your life for Thursday the 14 of March, 2012… your government world in 120-seconds…

  • Freeze or no freeze. No pay freeze, at least for now. The Senate has rejected an amendment that would have extended the federal pay freeze to January 2014. Senators voted down the amendment by Kansas Senator Pat Roberts. The Washington Post says the vote came during debate on the federal highway funding measure. The White House has said it will oppose any effort to extend the pay freeze for another year to pay for federal programs or to pay down the federal deficit.
  • Transportation bill: Speaking of that transportation bill, the Senate has given final approval to a two-year, $109 billion blueprint for transportation. The bill gives states greater spending flexibility, sets standards for mass transit and buys time to find a solution for a funding system teetering on the verge of bankruptcy. The Washington Post says the bipartisan bill was approved just 17 days before current transportation funding and authority to collect the federal gas tax that support it ran out. The House has yet to approve a similar bill.
  • Financial management systems: Back in 2010 the Office of Management and Budget decided to halt 30 financial management projects to look for best practices. But a Government Accountability Office audit found the pauses failed to improve their schedule or budget performance. Federal Computer Week says thirteen agencies said the reviews led to no change in long term costs. And sixteen agencies said no improvement in schedule occurred. In a few cases, project costs actually went up.
  • YOU try putting monitary policy in 140 characters. The Federal Reserve is trying a new approach to citizen engagement — they’ve tweeting. Bloomberg says the Federal Reserve is posting its press releases, speeches, testimony and reports to Congress — even its weekly balance sheet. It’s all part of the Fed’s effort to have more real time and personal conversations with the public. You can find them at @federalreserve.
  • SAIC — Science Applications International Corporation — will pay $500 million in restitution as a result of a scandal ridden contract. SAIC was the main contractor for New York’s CityTime automated payroll project. The New York Times says CityTime was contracted to streamline employee timekeeping and crack down on public workers who tried to pad their paychecks with undeserved overtime. It instead became a major embarrassment for the Bloomberg administration, as lengthy delays and giant cost overruns led to a federal investigation.
  • Last summer’s 5.8 magnitude earthquake may have titled the ground surrounding the Washington Monument. WTOP says, surveyors are taking measurements from several long-established points in the ground. The monument sits about 15 to 20 feet above sea level and has sunk 2 inches since it was completed in 1884. The earthquake caused several large cracks in the monument…the repairs are expected to cost 15 million dollars.
  • Here’s a little fun fact for today. Have you heard of the Barry White voting effect? Two university professors have found that that voters prefer political candidates with lower resonating voices. so…
  • And, over on GovLoop were talking about Congress’ proposed gradual retirement bill. The measure would reduce work schedules as employee approaches retirement. The employees would receive their income from a combination of salary and retirement benefits. This new authority would be subject to a requirement that part of the individuals time would have to be spent mentoring other employees. What do you think? Head over and chime in.

The ambiguity of open government

What is open government anyway? One of the challenges to making open government real is that the term itself could be a Rorschach test: People see what they want to see. So what does it mean to be open and transparent? Harlan Yu is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Computer Science at the Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University. He has co-author of research: “The New Ambiguity of ‘Open Government.” He told me why everyone has a VERY different interpretation of what open government is.

On GovLoop: The polarizing power of open government — could ambiguity be the culprit?

On Harlan Yu’s GovLoop page: The New Ambiguity of “Open Government”

And Sunshine Week

Regulations dot gov gets a makeover

Regulations.gov, 2.0… The eRulemaking Program team says this is the
first installment in a series of website developments scheduled for this year. The substantial
redesign aims to effectively relaunch the site to meet the goals in the President’s
Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review Executive Order. John Moses is the Director at
EPA’s Collection Strategies Division. He told me about the improved regulations dot gov
site better.

On GovLoop: Regulation.gov get’s a makeover…what’s different?


White House blog: Regulations.gov: Remaking public participation

White House: Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review Executive Order [PDF]


What are innovators NOT talking about

Sometimes its easy to get swept up in a great idea. But what a person’s NOT saying could be just as important as what they are. Michael Schrage, a research fellow at MIT Sloan School’s Center for Digital Business, is the author of Serious Play: How the World’s Best Companies Simulate to Innovate and the forthcoming Getting Beyond Ideas.

HBR: Listen to What Innovators Don’t Talk about

On GovLoop: Is Your Pilot Stopping Your Innovation?


Before we head out… a few closing items…

  • Obama, Cameron on cybersecurity: President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron pledged to work together on cybersecurity issues. On Wednesday, the two world leaders said that they will share information about cyberattacks and work together on plans for how best to anticipate online threats. In aWhite House statement on the agreement, Obama and Cameron said that the digital world cannot be a “lawless frontier,” and that it’s important to share information in order to “stay one step ahead” of cybersecurity threats.
  • A new study says people are less likely to lie about big things on resumes they post on the professional network LinkedIn compared with traditional resumes. But the study, from researchers at Cornell University, says people are actually more deceptive about their interests and hobbies — things that are more difficult to verify. The study says that websites such as LinkedIn can lead to greater honesty when it comes to resume claims such as experience and responsibilities. That’s because claims are more easily verified in a public, online setting, so liars are more likely to get caught. Find more about the study here.

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