We’ve been pushing “mission matters” with our clients because, while engagement is important, we see almost unlimited evidence, that most people’s experience with government is highly personal. I believe in Open Government, but I felt very relieved earlier this year when I heard a drumbeat from OSTP, NAPA, and others about how Open Government is really about laying a foundation for delivering great customer service and exceptional outcomes for the public. The real thought leaders on this are the civil servants that have been plugging away since before the open government focus. They see the feedback direct from the public as well as search traffic, Web traffic, subscription numbers, etc. that all point to the same thing. The # of citizens interested in engagement pales in comparison to the number interested in health, jobs, benefits, grants, etc.
One great metric I saw earlier this year was from Janice Nall when she was still at CDC. She was able to show that the public’s trust in CDC content went up when people came in to CDC.gov from social media. That is a powerful realization when you consider that more trust in CDC means more people getting their kids vaccinated which means many lives saved.
I’ll be interested to see information from Deloitte on improving measurement. We’re working on making a bigger contribution for our clients on this issue as well. One hope is that you can use the more personal interests as a way to engage citizens who might not otherwise have the time. I like to say that public health events, tax season, Social Security rate changes, NASA launches, are like the government’s “Da Vinci Code.” That’s how we get people in the store, and we can “upsell” engagement at those times. (sorry if this makes “Engagement” sound like a self-help book, but hopefully you get the idea…)
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