DorobekInsider: EPA ahead in govt 2.0 — again… this time it’s radon
The Environmental Protection Agency has really been at the forefront of testing out government 2.0 initiatives. I am a huge fan of EPA CIO Molly O’Neill, who is one of the best and most innovative IT leaders out there. But O’Neill has help — EPA’s Deputy Administrator Marcus Peacock is one of the most forward looking senior leaders I’ve seen in government. And I think EPA is a wonderful model for precisely how to try these government 2.0 initiatives — you don’t jump into the deep end of the pool. You experiment. You empower the people who are excited by it and that excitement is infectious throughout the organization.
EPA, of course, has a unique challenge because they have to collaborate with so many people — within EPA, with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, with other government agencies, with environmental groups, with communities concerned about their particular environmental question. They need to be transparent.
They also depend on data from many different sources — state and local governments, other agencies, the private sector…
So the government 2.0 tools seem to be a great way of reaching out to all of these different organizations. (Read about EPA’s very inovative initiative dealing with Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest. FCW’s story here… and the white paper that EPA wrote up about the project can be found here.
The challenge: Educate a whole new generation about the dangers or radon.
So rather then just creating their own public service announcement, EPA featured a contest where people created content using sites like YouTube.
No shock here: It was a tough sell within the agency. I haven’t yet spoken to the brains behind this idea, Jeremy Ames of EPA’s Indoor Environments Division. But I have no doubt that there were concerns about giving up control of the message.
But by just about any measure, it has been an enormous success. The project was done on a shoestring budget — and got people involved. And, perhaps you will think about radon — maybe at least visit the EPA radon page — epa.gov/radon — so you really know what it is?
Here is the winning video:
Ames also created a social network where government, community, and citizens discuss radon. Find that at radonleaders.org. (My favorite headline on there right now: What happens in Las Vegas will not stay in Las Vegas.)
We’re working on getting Ames on Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris. I’ll let you know when we get it nailed down.