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DorobekINSIDER: Connecting Toy Story and government and innovation

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Toy Story 3 opened… big… great reviews… and a big box office.

What does that have to do with government?

But did you know that the technology that spurred the creation of Pixar was funded in the 1960s by… anybody? … the Advanced Project Research Agency, the precursor to today’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Yes, one of the biggest users of the Pixar-like animation technologies is the Defense Department — for simulations and other purposes.

Pixar Touch bookThat is one of the delicious facts that are packed in a wonderful bookThe Pixar Touch: The Making of a Company by David Price. The book is about the creation of Pixar. (Many more wonderful tidbits here, such as… did you know that Steve Jobs made big bucks from Pixar, not from Apple?)

The story is also one of remarkable innovation and learning to take risk. Wired magazine last month had a wonderful story headlined Animating a Blockbuster: How Pixar Built Toy Story 3.

Pixar has been owned by George Lucas… and then by Steve Jobs… back when it was a software company. Yes, Pixar was originally seen as a software company… and evolved into a movie studio — and one of the most successful movie studios out there. Pixar was sold to Walt Disney in 2006 for $7.4 billion, the studio has seven consecutive blockbusters.

The book also talks about the process of innovating — and taking risks.

The book is a fun read — and interesting even if you didn’t grow up in California. And as you watch the box office of Toy Story, the government can relish in the role it played in innovation.

Written by cdorobek

June 21, 2010 at 10:28 PM

DorobekINSIDER: Listen to the Federal News Radio Book Club discussing Daniel Pink’s DRIVE

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There are sometimes when you look forward to something so much, you can’t help but be disappointed. Then there are exciting moments when you look forward to something and it actually exceeds expectations. And you may be able to tell from my posts — and my talking about it on Federal News Radio — that I was excited about this book.

Today’s “meeting” of the Federal News Radio Book Club totally exceeded my expectations.

We were discussing the book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink… and for the discussion, we were joined for the Book Club by participants: In studio, in addition to Amy Morris and myself, will be Daniel Pink, the author of the book, and Tim McManus, vice president for the Partnership for Public Service… and on the phone, Steve Ressler, the founder of GovLoop and co-founder of Young Government Leaders. (Ressler actually had my favorite comments — it’s about 35-minutes in.)

Next week, Federal News Radio beings a week long series — HR Reinvented. Throughout the week we will look at innovative ways to fix the recruitment, hiring, retention, firing and retirement processes in the federal government. And the motivation issue plays a significant role in these issues.

I hope you enjoy the Book Club discussion as much as we enjoyed it in the studio.

You can hear the Federal News Radio Book Club here…

You can find more here… Or download the MP3 here.

Previous Federal News Radio Book Club “meetings”:

* The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything by Stephen M.R. Covey. Read more and find a link to the book club session here.
* What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis. Read more and find a link to the book club session here.
* Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World by Don Tapscott. Read more and find a link to the book club session here.
* Fired Up or Burned Out: How to reignite your team’s passion, creativity, and productivity by Michael Lee Stallard. Read more and hear the book club meeting here.* Payback: Reaping the Rewards of Innovation by James P. Andrew, Harold L. Sirkin, and John Butman. Read more and hear the book club “meeting” with Andrew and Federal CTO Aneesh Chopra find a link to the book club session here.

Written by cdorobek

April 2, 2010 at 5:50 PM

DorobekINSIDER: Federal News Radio Book Club: Daniel Pink’s Drive — the liner notes

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The Federal News Radio Book Club “meets” this afternoon — and we will be discussing Daniel Pink’s new book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.

First, the details:

When: Friday, April 2 at 3p ET
Where: On Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris and on FederalNewsRadio.com
The book: Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink
Book Club participants: In studio, in addition to Amy Morris and myself, will be Daniel Pink, the author of the book, and Tim McManus, vice president for the Partnership for Public Service… and on the phone, Steve Ressler, the founder of GovLoop and co-founder of Young Government Leaders.

Read my notes for the show here.

I have now studied this book — and I hope it will speak to the government market in a few ways.

First — from a capital management perspective, Obama administration and the Office of Personnel Management under director John Berry has been looking at reforming the government’s HR systems. Meanwhile, we have seen scores of stories about pay systems like the Defense Department’s now defunct National Security Personnel System, which sought to build a pay-for-performance kind of system. I think this book offers some unique insights about the issues surround those topics.

First, the Office of Personnel Management is looking at revamping the government’s general schedule system, OPM Director John Berry has said.
Second, the failure of the Defense Department’s National Security Personnel System, a pay-for-performance system. I have been fascinated by NSPS because, it seemed to me, it offered some real learning opportunities for the federal government.

Second, and perhaps more important, Drive really has to do with change. We talk about it all the time — culture change. What motivates people to change how they do what they do? How do you encourage them to get away from the, ‘That’s not the way we do business here.’ The book is about what motivates people to make those changes.

Essentially, the book says that it is time for a new way of looking at motivation. In fact, he argues that most of what we know about motivation just isn’t based on fact or data.

Drive notes that Motivation 1.0 was about survival — you had to kill the lion to eat, and that proved to be a real motivator.
Motivation 2.0 was about carrots and sticks, and it worked well for industrial age functions, but he argues that in the information age, it is time for…
Motivation 3.0… it is more about purpose, mastery and autonomy.

We always look at motivation in terms of carrots and sticks. But Pink argues that the data simply doesn’t back that up. In fact, he says that those kinds of motivators can actually be demotivating.

One of the issues we’ll discuss is the pay issue, because Pink passes over that topic a bit too quickly for my liking. He argues that pay needs to be fair and adequate — people need to be able to survive and thrive — but if that is equalized, it isn’t really about money.

We’ll also talk about Pink’s Drive factors — purpose, mastery and autonomy.

For the first half of the program, Tim McManus, Amy and I will talk to Pink about the concepts in the book. In the second half of the hour, we’ll talk about how they apply to government.

I hope you’ll join us. You can post questions on GovLoop or Facebook… or Tweet me @cdorobek or Amy @AMorris_WFED.

Previous Federal News Radio Book Club “meetings”:

* The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything by Stephen M.R. Covey. Read more and find a link to the book club session here.
* What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis. Read more and find a link to the book club session here.
* Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World by Don Tapscott. Read more and find a link to the book club session here.
* Fired Up or Burned Out: How to reignite your team’s passion, creativity, and productivity by Michael Lee Stallard. Read more and hear the book club meeting here.* Payback: Reaping the Rewards of Innovation by James P. Andrew, Harold L. Sirkin, and John Butman. Read more and hear the book club “meeting” with Andrew and Federal CTO Aneesh Chopra find a link to the book club session here.

Written by cdorobek

April 2, 2010 at 1:19 PM

DorobekINSIDER: The Federal News Radio Book Club book announcement: Drive by Daniel H. Pink

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It has been months since the last meeting of the Federal News Radio Book Club. Well, it’s back — and with a book that I think will really get you to think. The book is titled Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink. The book is a fascinating analysis of what gets us actually carry out actions. More in just a moment, but first…

The details:
When: Friday, April 2 at 3p ET
Where: On Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris and on FederalNewsRadio.com
The book: Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink. Amy and I will be there with Pink — and I’m working on some special guests to join the discussion.

Before I get to some details of the book, a reminder on the Federal News Radio Book Club:

This is something akin to the Oprah book club. You don’t have to be anywhere — we’ll hold the book club “meeting” right on the air on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris. In addition to the author, Daniel Pink, we will also have some experts in the government world so we can discuss how it touches how this market works. We invite your thoughts, questions and observations on the book — before, during and after.

The book Drive is about what motivates people. And I thought it was particularly intriguing given where the government market is with a relatively antiquated pay system. And I decided that this book was particularly relevant based on two significant developments in the past year:

First, the Office of Personnel Management is looking at revamping the government’s general schedule system, OPM Director John Berry has said.
Second, the failure of the Defense Department’s National Security Personnel System, a pay-for-performance system. I have been fascinated by NSPS because, it seemed to me, it offered some real learning opportunities for the federal government.

And that brings us to the book — Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink.

The crux of the argument in this book is that pay-for-performance systems simply don’t work all that well. It is essentially a carrot-and-stick approach, and there is ample evidence that the carrot-and-stick is actually ade-motivator. A caveat: These are for information age jobs. And he argues that there are better ways to motivate people.

Here is Pink’s synopsis from his Web site:

Most of us believe that the best way to motivate ourselves and others is with external rewards like money—the carrot-and-stick approach. That’s a mistake, Daniel H. Pink says in, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, his provocative and persuasive new book. The secret to high performance and satisfaction—at work, at school, and at home—is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.

Drawing on four decades of scientific research on human motivation, Pink exposes the mismatch between what science knows and what business does—and how that affects every aspect of life. He demonstrates that while carrots and sticks worked successfully in the twentieth century, that’s precisely the wrong way to motivate people for today’s challenges. In Drive, he examines the three elements of true motivation—autonomy, mastery, and purpose—and offers smart and surprising techniques for putting these into action. Along the way, he takes us to companies that are enlisting new approaches to motivation and introduces us to the scientists and entrepreneurs who are pointing a bold way forward.

Pink is the author of A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future, which I also found fascinating. But this book seems particularly well timed.

So… I hope you’ll pick up the book and join in the conversation. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the book.

Previous Federal News Radio Book Club “meetings”:

* The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything by Stephen M.R. Covey. Read more and find a link to the book club session here.
* What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis. Read more and find a link to the book club session here.
* Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World by Don Tapscott. Read more and find a link to the book club session here.
* Fired Up or Burned Out: How to reignite your team’s passion, creativity, and productivity by Michael Lee Stallard. Read more and hear the book club meeting here.* Payback: Reaping the Rewards of Innovation by James P. Andrew, Harold L. Sirkin, and John Butman. Read more and hear the book club “meeting” with Andrew and Federal CTO Aneesh Chopra find a link to the book club session here.

DorobekInsider: The books of IAC’s Executive Leadership Conference — books worth reading

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This is a much belated post — you can thank the flu.

A few weeks ago, I got to moderate a panel at ACT/IAC’s Executive Leadership Conference 2009 on innovation. And we had a great group:

Turning Ideas into Value: The panel will discuss the process for generating ideas and how to select the best ones to maximize the benefits of innovation. Who do you look to for innovation? What are examples of creating the environment for innovative thinking? How to share ideas in nurturing an ecosystem that encourages innovation and creativity?

Panelists:

  • Moderator: Chris Dorobek, Co-Anchor, Federal News Radio
  • Sanjeev Bhagowalia, Chief Information Officer, Department of Interior
  • Tom Freebairn, Acting Director, USA.gov Technologies, Office of Citizen Services, General Services Administration
  • Mike Nelson, Visiting Professor, Internet Studies, Georgetown University
  • Mike Seablom, Head, Software Integration and Visualization Office, Goddard Space Flight Center, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

And one of the great things about conferences is people share good books — and there were a ton o’ books mentioned in this session. I promised that I would share the list. (I planned to do it earlier, but… the flu got in the way.)

If you heard books mentioned that I haven’t listed here, either send it along or post it here as a comment.

Of course, I mentioned a few books.

* Enterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools for Your Organization’s Toughest Challenges by Harvard Business School Prof. Andrew McAfee, which is slated to be released on Dec. 1 but seems like it is available now. Transparency notes: McAfee asked me to write a “blurb” for the book, so I got an early read. My blurb didn’t make the actual jacket of the book, but… he posted it. Regardless, it is a fascinating read — and it highlights the remarkable work done by the intelligence community’s Intellipedia suite of collaboration tools. Second transparency note: McAfee will be on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris on Dec. 1 — the official book launch day.

* If We Can Put a Man on the Moon: Getting Big Things Done in Government by William Eggers and John O’Leary — Again, I got a pre-read of this book and it is just delightful. And one of the issues Eggers and O’Leary deal with is innovation. And a programming note: Eggers and O’Leary will be on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris on Thursday, Nov. 19… LIVE

* The Pixar Touch by David A. Price — I hear what you are saying — what does a movie studio have to do with government? Well, there is a real connection. First off, the technology that creates those amazing movies is made possible by a grant from ARPA — now DARPA. And the Defense Department is still one of the largest users in the world of this technology. (Pixar, remember, started as a software company, not as a movie studio.) I used Pixar as an example of an organization that was literally built on innovation — innovation is built in. And Price does a wonderful job detailing that. Pixar has also been remarkably successful — all of their movies have more than exceeded the magic $100 million gross that marks a hit movie in Hollywood. That is pretty remarkable in and of itself.

* Payback: Reaping the Rewards of Innovation by James P. Andrew… This book was actually highlighted by federal Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra — and we featured it on the Federal News Radio Book Club. Hear our book club conversation with Chopra, Andrew, Federal News Radio’s Francis Rose and myself here.

* What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis… This book was also part of the Federal News Radio Book Club. Hear the meeting of the Federal News Radio Book Club here. The book, in the end, isn’t about Google. Rather, it is about innovation and being innovative. A lot of the book focuses on journalism, but…

Books mentioned by others:

* Closing the Innovation Gap: Reigniting the Spark of Creativity in a Global Economy by Judy Estrin mentioned by Nelson. We spoke to Estrin on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris soon after her book was released. Read more and hear our conversation here.

* Leading Geeks: How to Manage and Lead the People Who Deliver Technology by Paul Glen, David H. Maister, and the legendary Warren G. Bennis, mentioned by Nelson

Did you hear any good book titles? I’d love to hear them.

Meanwhile, there is a great social networking site for bookies — people who love to read, not people who make bets. It’s called GoodReads.com. You can book friend me here.

Written by cdorobek

November 17, 2009 at 2:31 PM

DorobekInsider: Obama’s summer reading list – and autumn’s worthy reads

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As you may know, I love books… and I love reading… so I love seeing what other people are reading.

Along those lines, I’m always fascinated what other people are reading.

I read all sorts of things — I have often joked that I’m one of the few people who read magazines ranging from The New Yorker and The Economist to US Magazine. And my range of books is equally broad — and I’m often reading at least two books at a time. Currently, for example, I’m reading the Twilight vampire books as well as a book recommended by DOD deputy CIO Dave Winnergren and Navy CIO Robert Carey… Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor by Warren Bennis, Daniel Goleman, James O’Toole, and Patricia Ward Biederman. (If I can get Bennis on the air, this might just be a Federal News Radio Book Club book.)

And yes — of course there is a social networking site for books — you can find me on Goodreads.com here… and on Shelfari here…

Anyway… Slate.com John Dickerson has a wonderful story about what’s on President Obama’s reading list. The White House issued the president’s vacation reading… and here it is…

  • The Way Home by George Pelecanos, a crime thriller based in Washington, D.C.;
  • Lush Life by Richard Price, a story of race and class set in New York’s Lower East Side;
  • Tom Friedman’s Hot, Flat, and Crowded, on the benefits to America of an environmental revolution;
  • John Adams by David McCullough;
  • Plainsong by Kent Haruf, a drama about the life of eight different characters living in a Colorado prairie community.

Dickerson goes on to analyze what this list tells us about the President.

The Obama selection is not overtly controversial. In 2006, Bush’s list included The Great Influenza, about the 1918 flu. If Obama were reading that today while his White House was issuing a new report about the H1N1 virus, he’d start a national panic. But his list is also clearly not poll-tested. Women played a key role in Obama’s victory in 2008. They’re swing voters. And yet all of Obama’s authors are white men. The subject of the longest book, John Adams, is a dead white male. Obama couldn’t get away with that in an election year, and, given his aides’ penchant for cleaning up little things like this, we’ll soon see the president with a copy of Kate Walbert’s A Short History of Women.

Read Dickerson’s full story here.

I can’t imagine having to poll test my reading list, but…

Two books coming out this fall that I’m very much looking forward to:

Andrew McAfee’s Enterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools for Your Organization’s Toughest Challenges. I actually was given an early read of this one and McAfee, a associate professor at the Harvard Business School and the man credited with creating the term “enterprise 2.0.” As I mentioned previously, one of the examples discussed in the book is Intellipedia.

The other book that I’m really looking forward to is Deloitte’s William D. Eggers’ If We Can Put a Man on the Moon: Getting Big Things Done in Government. Read more about the book here.

Both books come out in November.

Written by cdorobek

August 26, 2009 at 9:31 PM

DorobekInsider: It’s my birthday, but… you get the gifts

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Yes — today is my birthday. (I have a friend who lies about his age. Frankly, I am trying out going the other way — Let’s be honest — I don’t look like I’m in my 30s, or if I did, it would be a hard 30 years. But I’m going the other way — while I’m 43 today, I look fantastic for a person in their 50s! Right?)

That aside… for my birthday, you’re getting the gifts.

First off, as I mentioned yesterday, through today, you can get the fourth Federal News Radio Book Club book Fired Up or Burned Out: How to reignite your team’s passion, creativity, and productivity by Michael Lee Stallard — for FREE. It is a PDF download from here.

Hear the fourth meeting of the Federal News Radio Book Club here… and download the PDF of the book from here… and did I mention that it is FREE?

Secondly, today’s Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris featured a parade of stars. Among them…

* Ed DeSeve, a senior advisor to the Vice President for recovery implementation, who talks about the challenges getting the $787 billion stimulus package… He updates us on how much has been distributed so far… It’s a fascinating conversation.
* Robert Carey, the chief information officer for the Department of Navy and the first government CIO blogger, who talks about, among other things, the fact that they are updating their government first Web 2.0 policy, his views on cyber-security, and the role of the CIO — Carey is also speaking at Input next week, if you want to ask him a question for yourself…
* And Diana Gowen, senior vice president and general manager of Quest Government Services. She has been in Chicago for the past few days for the GSA Network Services conference — and much of the focus has been the transition — or lack of transition — to the Networx telecommunications contract.