Government 2.0 Club is an informal organization focused on convening the tribe of technologists and thinkers focused on applying social technologies to the governments worldwide.
Is Gov 2.0 in a Sophomore Slump?
September 8, 2010 at 11:29 am #110265
Steve ResslerKeymasterI’ve talked to a lot of people lately and I’d probably agree. If there is a hype cycle, it may have peaked last year. But that doesn’t mean Gov 2.0 isn’t growing and that it isn’t important.I just think in the end Gov 2.0 is a longer, more linear than exponential process.
September 8, 2010 at 11:52 am #110343
A very important question. In my opinion:
– We are not in a Sophmore slump. If anything, we are seeing more action across the world then ever before.
– The hype cycle continues, as is the case with most relatively new technologies, solutions, and movements. It is all of our jobs to educate and do what we can to promote what is real.
The biggest challenge, in my opinion, is driving enough interest at the citizen-level to maintain the effectiveness of the movement. Government folks are getting it at an increasing pace. How we help citizens understand, and become involved, is a more immediate challenge.
Of course, a post is coming on this today. 🙂
September 8, 2010 at 12:14 pm #110341
Steve – good question and likely to have a variety of perspectives.
I agree with John that we’re not in a slump – I’m also seeing much more activity and a momentum growing. It may appear to be a slump for some that have been around for awhile – seeing the same faces at unconferences, reading repetitive blogs, etc. However, for the un-initiaited (and they are in the majority), this is a brave new world!
I think the peak is yet to hit and that will likely happen when we, as a community, have provided enough outreach and education, in concert with our friends in the media, that the average citizen and business sees that there are real opportunities to engage with a government that actually listens to what they have to say and work within a partnership with all stakeholders to improve the community – from local to global.
The other significant change that needs to happen is driving “initiatives” such as Open Gov and Open Data from being a project that seeks to show a few short term results to a program that gets embedded within the day-to-day operations of government.
I’d do a post as well but I’m in meetings all day so I’ll wait to read John’s and your responses. 🙂
September 8, 2010 at 12:27 pm #110339
I agree the value is clear and, when phrased as you did,a no-brainer. However, apathy, focus on just getting to you next paycheck, and other more pressing issues are consuming the minds of most.
Trust me, I want this effort to succeed as much as anyone, just need to keep marketing the successes to citizens, journalists, government employees, and politicians.
September 8, 2010 at 12:30 pm #110337
Man I had been looking for a term to describe it but Soph Slump might hit the nail on the head. Sitting and listening to the Gov 2.0 expo yesterday it seems that ideas for Gov 2.0 have become less focused and just too broad to feel any tangible result in a quick turnaround.
Talking with a guy at the Happy hour Wayne from Canada he said something that made a ton of sense: “they should take a lot of these ideas and make them happen on a small scale like in all of DC or all of Chicago and then translate them once they are prefected to national programs”.
I’m in agreement with Wayne if we can focus our gov 2.0 efforts people will inevitably see how successful and useful certain things are and adopt the models.
September 8, 2010 at 12:55 pm #110335
>Makes me ask, Why there would be a need to drive interest in transparency, collaboration and >participation? Why is the value proposition so unclear?
Our data shows Citizens are Just. Not. Interested.
Most use so far has been just throwing the same old issues (same ones I saw when I did congressional inquiries starting 35+ years ago) over a new transom.
September 8, 2010 at 1:00 pm #110333
And hopefully Gov 2.0 will be like O.A.R. One day they were playing a nearby fraternity and two years later they were playing Merriweather. Nothing changed in my mind but something must hae happened.
September 8, 2010 at 1:15 pm #110331
Steve’s question is an outstanding call to action. The comments provided in this discussion can be well summarized as, “a recognition that Gov 2.0 has escalated to unbelievable heights at an incredible pace only to hit a speed bump”. I am happy that Jury Konga references media as a significant player in the Gov 2.0 process because it will be, we believe, the authentic media that can help with the education and outreach required to retrain stakeholders so that Gov 2.0 has a chance to succeed. I frankly believe the speed bump when the Congress and the Senate recognized that transparency moved from required to an over kill. Government workers, staffers of the legislative bodies are moon walking from this transparency aspect of OGD because it is causing unmanageable information overload. I have been told by 9 our of 10 workers that they are required to respond to all the information, and the reality is the infrastructure and resources are not there to manage the overload. Its creating stress, depleted moral, and frustration. So as a result, we are back to being divided and discouraged. Yet Gov 2.0 is supposed to be this evangelical salvation to our economic, social, educational woes. So hence, we ambassadors are not giving leadership a chance to quiet the economic noise, and build an innovative and effective working Open Government. It seems that we especially at The Sun light Foundation have forgotten the golden rule best said by Steven Covey. “In every project, start with the end in mind.” So how about coming together to answer these questions, What is Gov 2.0 seeking to accomplish? How will Gov 2.0 accomplish these goals? When we first became an active member of Gov Loop, I asked a few simple questions. Will Gov 2.0 bring faith back into Government? Will Gov 2.0 create jobs? Until we are able to demonstrate answers to these questions, we will find ourselves trying to pull ourselves out of a slump. If you get a check every two weeks your safe, stay on base. For the rest, its time to evaluate…This being said, I firmly believe that this is the most amazing time to make global change and bring equity in education, wealth creation and health care, but we must be careful about failing to take one or two steps back to take leap frog steps forward. This is exactly why I have asked to have coffee with Ellen Miller. I would like to appeal to her and see if we can move on to discuss the second principle of Open Government which is collaboration. Some of us simply feel left out of the Gov 2.0 process. Great question Steve.
September 8, 2010 at 2:16 pm #110329
I shared this image in another discussion here on GovLoop a few months ago, but it graphically represents where I believe we stood in the adoption cycle earlier in the year. We may be at the top or on the other side of the peak at this point.
The hype cycle has definitely hit a sophomore slump (which is a good thing because now we’ve moved from special to serious!), and many of us seem to be in implementation mode as other agencies/states/cities watch, learn and advance their own initiatives:
September 8, 2010 at 2:19 pm #110327
Right on, John…government’s “putting it out there”.
But are citizens “pickin’ up what we’re puttin’ down”?
September 8, 2010 at 2:23 pm #110325
Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm, as Andy included, is a good diagram to considre. If interested, check out my latest post, on Scribd, The Missing Links of Government 2.0:
This represents my current thinking on the subject.
September 8, 2010 at 2:29 pm #110323
Jay A. AllenParticipant
Concur with Gwynne’s assessment and Andy’s graphic below. We’re finally pushing through hype and getting real business results to the forefront.
September 8, 2010 at 2:34 pm #110321
September 8, 2010 at 2:36 pm #110319
Change is not a linear process. Existing management techniques and tools treat change as linear or something to be managed but Gov 2.0 is a different beast altogether. The ideas of Gov 2.0 are still as needed and compelling as when they were first proposed. Our existing tools and methods are just not up to the task of fully implementing the cultural change, the technological change, and the organizational changes needed. Sometimes I feel like we are trying to build Gov 2.0 starships that operate off steam power.
We need to rethink our tools and that is why I started this discussion in the PMI group.
September 8, 2010 at 2:52 pm #110317
Of course it is. We’ve been on a plateau for some time now. There are many fundamental challenges that are not being addressed in the Gov 2.0 discussion that have nothing to do with technology. Government leaders, citizens and gov employees are the components for successful government and what makes governance work. There is a small, but dedicated and loyal following among each of them to advance Gov 2.0 but it’s viewed more as something trendy rather that revolutionary by the majority.
Gov 2.0 is a process that can help increase understanding, interaction and participation. However, if the majorities in each of these three groups have distrust, disinterest or disrespect for the other, then the institution as a whole suffers. That’s not a challenge technology can solve.
September 8, 2010 at 3:52 pm #110315
John; Read your post and agree. Gov 20 must be citizen centric. We need to relax the focus on data and reinvigorate efforts to inform and engage citizens.
September 8, 2010 at 4:06 pm #110313
September 8, 2010 at 4:22 pm #110311
Whose expectations? Whose Disillusionment? Certainly not that of Citizens, who really don’t care.
September 8, 2010 at 6:08 pm #110309
I think the reason some might think we are in a slump is that many of us have implemented the “easy” stuff, and going forward, there is a heck of a lot of work left to do that is going to take a lot more time!
Regarding open data, I see many stepping back, as @Keith Moore suggested, and figuring out how best to organize and publish what might be up to 200 years of data. This is a daunting task that does not happen overnight – just figuring out a new process for collecting current data, putting it into a standard format, and easily and efficiently sharing it is challenging enough. To be successful we need to collaborate as Keith mentioned – if we all work on the same thing separately everything will take that much longer. Instead it would be helpful to come together as a group, using Gov 2.0 tools, and set target goals then develop the standards, process, and tools we need to get there.
The other challenge is that we have limited staff and money. So can we justify spending our limited resources on producing services like data sets? As some here have suggested only a minority of people really seem to want it. So each day I have the choice of what we are going to work on. We can focus on answering resident concerns or questions or current needs that represent a majority of our citizens. Or we can spend all day assembling mountains of data and getting it in a digital format so that it is available when one day someone shows up asking for it. Each day that truly is the choice we have to make and each day we choose to meet current resident needs. If we had more staff or money we could afford to generate awesome data sets – but we don’t, and in this economy, citizens are pushing us to scale back staff and expenditures even more.
This is why I was disappointed today when I watched the video of Ellen’s talk. What I got out of it was that she felt the answer to forcing the implementation of Gov 2.0, transparency and publishing of quality data is to have elected officials pass laws forcing us to do it. But making the transformation to a fully Gov 2.0 process/culture will be a lengthy and labor intensive journey that will not magically occur because elected officials pass laws. The desire to do this is there – we just don’t have the staff and money so instead we should be encouraging legislators to create grants or offer resources or even forums where we could collaborate and work towards achieving these goals. Otherwise we will be running along the plateau for some time.
September 8, 2010 at 6:12 pm #110307
>This is why I was disappointed today when I watched the video of Ellen’s talk. What I got out of it was >that she felt the answer to forcing the implementation of Gov 2.0, transparency and publishing of >quality data is to have elected officials pass laws forcing us to do it.
The Sunlight Foundation and their ilk are the only ones who care about this; Citizens certainly don’t.
September 8, 2010 at 6:21 pm #110305
Well said Pam.
September 8, 2010 at 9:58 pm #110303
What I keep thinking would help move things along is to have dedicated, break out sessions at conferences where everyone is broken into groups of about 10 to 15 at round tables. Then each table is given a narrow topic we all deal with – and not just social media but any typical task we face each day. The group then informally discusses the topic. The discussion should be like the type that occurs spontaneously at conferences in halls and other casual settings. And one person in each group listens and types into a wiki all the comments/ideas/resources/”effective” (ala Steven Clift’s suggestion to change from best) practices offered up by the group. Just imagine if every conference did this and stored it all in a common, govt-related wiki – eventually we will have created a tremendous resource. I really want to try this at our next public works conference!
September 8, 2010 at 10:41 pm #110301
Less and less of a Sunlight fan each day.
September 8, 2010 at 11:12 pm #110299
Interesting idea Pam. I am organizing CityCamp Boston (looking for as many volunteers as possible) and this may be a good way of approaching the individual sessions… Something to keep in mind, anyway.
September 9, 2010 at 1:27 pm #110297
I think that we laid out a lot of things at the first Gov 2.0 Summit. Grandoise things, visionary statements, huge promises of a utopia we were heading towards. A year later, we do not find ourselves in that promised land, but it doesn’t mean we made no progress. The journey is simply longer than a calendar year, and rather than seek the euphoric high that accompanies grand eloquent statements, we are (correctly so, I might add) now in a work mode, with our nose to the grindstone, figuring out what works and what doesn’t. It will likely be the case for a number of years to come, but we will see successes and failures along the way.
I elaborate on these findings on a blog post: http://blog.lucianteo.com/post/1084884530/day-one-of-gov-2-0-summit-2-0
We just need to get better, and as Kathy Sierra put it, work at kicking ass.
September 10, 2010 at 4:25 pm #110295
September 10, 2010 at 4:30 pm #110293
“Some of us simply feel left out of the Gov 2.0 process” Same here.
September 10, 2010 at 5:03 pm #110291
Honestly, I think Ellen hit it right on the head. Yes, change takes a long time, esp in large, complex, and a lot of times ill defined, organizations. And while there are obviously a lot of us who care a lot about this issue, the people that need to care, that need to act, just aren’t. My job is to get data online. I can’t even put a map of our data online. Here’s only 3 reasons why:
– Until the cloud is open to us (optimistic estimates are 6 mo), We can’t afford the space needed to make an application (or even a mapping service others can use to create their own applications) work properly. It isn’t clear that the cloud options will actually make this better…I’m afraid that once we put a cloud under the same constraints we’ve put our current data storage centers (poor management, lots of security, etc, etc), it will work just as poorly as our current situation.
– It takes me weeks, months to parse through the data we have just to understand what is there. For example, STORET is EPA’s water monitoring data base. I get that. Who inputs this data? Where does it come from? What do all the fields in the raw dataset actually mean? There is no one person to go to get this information. 3-4 people might know pieces of this. or, the person that does know is gone and the knowledge is lost, and it isn’t until someone is actually interested in publishing this data that its even realized that there has been a knowledge loss. I have to first figure out the 3-4 people I need to talk to, then meet with them to talk. I can’t get a hold of half of them (they don’t respond to email, are on vacation etc etc) and when I do talk to them, they give me vague answers or say that the information is online. I say great, tell me where. It takes them 10 min to find or they can’t find it. But I’m supposed to. And this is for ONE data set. I have to do this for all of them. We have SEVERAL
– Then of course there are the easy things: data incompatibilities and other technological issues
I’m one person at a pretty low level. I can’t solve all of these problems myself, I don’t have the authority in most cases. Its not one person or even one office’s fault, its a systemic problem that high level people with the authority to do big things need to be seriously on board with, and they don’t care, they don’t have time, its the government get used to it…take your pick. Until we have buy in from those with some actual authority, its going to be slow going. I don’t know if laws or exec orders are exactly what need to happen considering we have a hard enough time implementing the laws and exec orders we already have to deal with. But something big needs to change, and the few of us picking away at are just not going to get that far. Not that we are wasting our time, we just need to be realistic about what we can actually accomplish.
September 10, 2010 at 5:12 pm #110289
September 11, 2010 at 12:10 am #110287
Your post perfectly describes exactly where many of us are at. I keep thinking, if only we could figure out a way to work together to define where we are today, then where we want to be, then set the path and develop the tools to get there.
I know that sounds so simplistic but sometimes I wonder if we are in this data mess because this was never done from the start. When computers arrived on the scene, we just started using them. I don’t remember anyone saying “we are installing computers next week so we need to figure out our file structure so everyone is saving files in a way we can easily find them in the future.” First we had DOS with directories we randomly created. Then Windows brought “My Documents,” and we started saving there. And when servers were implemented, we were given our own directories there. Even at my most recent job, my orientation did not consist of learning the file structure of the organization. I had to figure this out as I started needing to save files.
If we could all find a site online where we could work together to develop this system, we could develop an implementation and maintenance process along with templates and resources. Then if this becomes an accepted “industry” standard, we might have a chance to make changes at our workplaces. Passing laws before any of this is in place only causes more frustration & failure.
It would be great to hear from anyone who has an awesome file management and data structure in place – maybe we could get them to put it online, and we can all build from there.
September 11, 2010 at 12:16 am #110285
Pam, why not start with a google group for collaborating?
Bigger picture question though…. Forget data, tech, etc… What are you trying to accomplish? Are the current approaches the right ones?
September 11, 2010 at 1:00 am #110283
Our MuniGov group has been discussing doing this, and we are already on Google. So maybe we should just go ahead and set it up there. Jeanne Holm with Data.gov had talked to us about this issue at one of our meetings. So we were kind of holding off hoping Data.gov would set up a collaboration space.
I believe we all just want to efficiently set up a standard system that allows us to easily find and share information in a usable format. And no, I don’t think continuing with our current methods of file management will work.
September 11, 2010 at 1:06 am #110281
Got it. If I can help, let me know.
September 13, 2010 at 1:15 pm #110279
We are just trying to make our data more accessible by allowing people to browse it spatially. This data is online (on our own website & Data.gov), but its not very clear how to download what you are looking for and a lot of times it isn’t very clear what is actually in the dataset. Plus, I’d like to clean up the data so it can be better understood on data.gov. I work in the agency and even I can’t understand the data descriptions on data.gov.
September 28, 2010 at 1:23 am #110277
September 29, 2010 at 12:42 am #110275
Gov 2.0 ≠ Open Government Directive. To equate the two is, in my opinion, a huge mistake. Using technology is a novel addition, to the tools we need, for organizational change, citizen participation and organizational and community collaboration.
Leaning on Gov 2.0 as the magic ingredient misses the point of OGD and will undoubtedly leave us disappointed in ultimate outcomes. We are making assumptions about the nature and complexity of sustainable change in organizations and institutions. Do our agencies and organizations, at every level, have the capacity to make the changes to incorporate these new ideas and methods? I’m guessing no.
There are some who are thinking beyond the technology/data curve, but not enough are looking past the initial rush and key focus on transparency, which by itself is extremely challenging. I don’t think we’ve begun to unpack what each component of OGD means and what successes would look like in each arena, let alone together.
I think Web 2.0 is a powerful and continually emerging tool for change, but it isn’t the whole deal. We really have to look at our expectations, the necessary ingredients for change in the public and the public sector in general. It’s a long haul proposition.
Everything about the OGD is attainable, but we need to go much deeper as we are going wider.
September 29, 2010 at 1:21 am #110273
That sounds great Lucas! A lot of information and ideas are shared and explored at these events then lost if someone does not capture it in some way. And I will be interested in your experience with it since our local chapter of APWA is thinking about an unconference, and it would be great to try it out at that event.
September 29, 2010 at 8:43 pm #110271
Quoting Andrea: “Do our agencies and organizations, at every level, have the capacity to make the changes to incorporate these new ideas and methods? I’m guessing no.”
To rephrase for my organization “Does your agency even know that other agencies have new ideas to incorporate?” The answer is no.
I think maybe for people deep inside Gov2.0 it might appear to be in a slump. But I’m in a relatively tech-savvy agency and people are surprised when I say that there IS a Gov2.0. And that I follow it.
Before some of the great ideas out there can become widespread, people within agencies will have to even notice that it’s becoming normal to speak with constituents. And I’m not talking about issuing press releases! Until the managers and people at the top of agencies get wind of that change, the people trying to implement change aren’t going to make much progress, I think.
In my case, any innovation has happened because I did it without telling anybody, and nobody inside really noticed. Constituents seem happier, internal nay-sayers are in the dark, and I’m feeling good about progress. 😉
Maybe I’m in a cynical phase, but I think as long as the community of people who care about Gov2.0 is growing it isn’t in a slump. Any perceived slow down is because the agencies with innovative leaders have already started making changes, and the rest of the agencies are waiting for those on top to come around (or retire).
October 6, 2010 at 4:01 am #110269
Im new to this and I think its pretty cool. But I hate to be brutally honest…..You need to get the young crowd and the older crowd just needs to get up to date!
October 8, 2010 at 4:57 am #110267
I think you have to include more “citizens” for feedback, their ideas which you can than use for development. Than “citizens” would see you as a friend instead of idealists.
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