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Focusing on six words: Helping government do its job better

Archive for the ‘Collaboration’ Category

DorobekINSIDER: GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week: What governance means to you

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GovLoop InsightsHey there — I’m Christopher Dorobek — the DorobekINSIDER — and welcome to the GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week with Chris Dorobek.

Each week, our goal is to where each week, our goal is to find an issue — a person — an idea — then helped define the past 7-days… and we work to find an issue that will also will have an impact on the days, weeks and months ahead. And, as always, we focus on six words: helping you do your job better.

Transforming American GoveranceThis week, we’re going to talk about governing — and the relationship between governing and what you do. We’re going to talk to one of the editors of a new book — just out this week — titled Transforming American Governance: Rebooting the Public Square. We’ll also have some weekend reads — he weekends are a good time to rejuvenate — but also some time to take a step back and ponder. And we’ll have some reading that may guide you as you work to think outside of the box. We’ll take a look at the impact drones have on the military… and on how you can actually do more with less. All of that just ahead…

But after the break… we will start off as we do every week with a look at the week that was for the third week of January 2012…

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Written by cdorobek

January 25, 2012 at 2:52 PM

DorobekINSIDER: GovLoop issue of the week: CES, CES Government, and mobile

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GovLoop InsightsWelcome to the GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week with Chris Dorobek.

Each week, our goal is to where each week, our goal is to find an issue — a person — an idea — then helped define the past 7-days… and we work to find an issue that will also will have an impact on the days, weeks and months ahead. And, as always, we focus on six words: helping you do your job better.

This week, we’re going to get geeky… we’re going to embrace our inner nerd. This week was the annual gadget-a-thon known as CES — the Consumer Electronics Show out in Las Vegas. I got to attend for the first time this year — both to CES and CES Government. One of the key speakers was Steve VanRoekel, the federal chief information officer. And later on, we’ll have highlights of his speech, and talk about what it means for you.

Also later on, we’ll have our weekend reading list — the weekends are a good time to rejuvenate — but also some time to take a step back and ponder. And we’ll have some reading that may guide you as you work to think outside of the box.

But after the break, we’ll have our look at the week that was for the second week of January 2012… plus the full Week in Review…

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DorobekINSIDER: ELC 2011: UNsessioning about YOUR role in government innovation

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Innovation — we all know it’s important, particularly in these rapidly changing times. We also know that it is hard. At the 2011 Executive Leadership Conference, hosted by the American Council on Technology and the Industry Advisory Council, we are going to try to help. And even if you are not at ELC 2011, there is still a way for you to participate — even if you aren’t here in Williamsburg.

ACT-IACToday, as part of ELC’s technology innovation track – the last panel of the day – and we are trying an ELC innovation about innovation. We are holding an UN-session. For the past several years, there have been un-conferences. Un-conferences — and, by extension, our un-session — is very open. There is a topic, but there are no set list of speakers. It is wisdom of the crowds in the conference format — it enables open, collaborative learning using a format that “creates space for peer-to-peer learning, collaboration and creativity.”

I’m thrilled to be working with Kathy Conrad, the principal deputy associate administrator of GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies.

The UN-session is the final panel of the ELC’s technology innovation track. And our goal is to walk out of the UNsession with… homework, for lack of a better term. We want to come up with tools that people can take — and try — in their organization that encourage and enable innovation. And we are then continuing the sharing after ELC ends — I’ve created a section on GovLoop, the social network for government, where I hope people will share their lessons… what worked, what didn’t. (Hear Conrad talk about some of her thoughts on the GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week podcast from this past week.)

One of my new favorite books is Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries — and I think it is a book about innovation. It’s about making it a part of your live and your thinking. (A preview: The DorobekINSIDER book club will be coming back next year — and, if we can work out schedules, this will be our book. More to come. Stay tuned.)

Read our thoughts — and our notes for the un-session — after the break.

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Written by cdorobek

October 24, 2011 at 11:31 AM

DorobekINSIDER: The 100 most read items for 2010

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Happy New Year! What a great time to look back – and look forward… and to think about fresh starts.

The coming months are going to be interesting, no doubt.

All week, I’ll bring the most read items across Federal News Radio’s programs – Mike Causey tomorrow; the Federal Drive on Wednesday; FederalNewsRadio.com on Thursday; and In Depth on Friday.

But today, the 100 most read items on the DorobekINSIDER:

POLL: What do you think of the proposed pay freeze?
Federal pay up over 400 percent since 1969
Managing the fear of cutbacks among federal workers
IRS releases TSP contribution limits for 2011
Obama orders cuts in federal building costs
DorobekINSIDER poll: Did OPM make the right decision to open DC offices on Friday?
TSP end-of-year deadlines approaching
Analysis: What the pay freeze means to feds
Thrift Savings Plan update
Boeing may be losing edge in Air Force tanker award
Why TSP calculators don’t always work
How safe are your federal benefits?
Chances good for passage of TSP/annual leave bill
More TSP participants taking out money early
Federal intern program violates hiring rules
OPM targets poor-performing feds
Toss out that time card, get more productive employees
Why your office fridge could be hazardous to your health
Should feds work on Columbus Day?
POLL: How will the new Congress affect your job?
Why there’s been a backlash against feds lately
Analysis: What will happen to your pay?
Obama: Federal jobs may stay vacant
POLL: How big is the ‘bad government worker’ problem?
DorobekINSIDER: CA CIO Teri Takai to be named DOD CIO
TSP contribution limits for 2011 explained
How to manage older workers
TSP funds climb in July
Super bar codes gaining popularity in U.S.
Do agencies keep poor performers on the job?
Long-term tips for your Thrift Savings Plan
Your wireless router could leave you vulnerable
Are teleworkers happier?
DorobekINSIDER: An open letter to OMB: Stop the public sector bashing
How to make that performance review work for you
Budget top issue at TSP meeting
Author explores age of entitlement in “The Narcissism Epidemic”
POLL: Deficit commission recs hit feds
Rep. Connolly: Pay freeze unfair to feds
Most TSP funds suffer losses in May
FBI shuts down Sentinel computer program
TSP funds show gains in October
New TSP website launches
Berry lauds agencies for vet hiring
How to tune out noise in your office
Analysis: Causey and Miller on the pay freeze
Cool Jobs: USPS preserves stamps in cave
New Air Force motto gets mixed reviews
Investors make slight shifts to higher-risk TSP funds
Al Qaeda magazine calls for attacks on D.C. government workers
Elective deferrals for your TSP explained
TSP readies for debut of L-2050
How to make telework really work
Why continuous monitoring is gaining popularity
DorobekINSIDER: OMB’s government performance self-assessment
DorobekINSIDER poll: What should be the federal government’s operating status for FRIDAY?
The TSP as a model for other 401(k)s?
For TSP investments, most play it safe
DorobekINSIDER: Back to work for feds in DC, OPM defends closure decisions
TSP updates website, automatic enrollment options
Grassley: DoD IG’s lax oversight results in fraud
Was the Smithsonian haunted?
Vampire killers under federal contract?
The DorobekINSIDER iPad review: Will you see them in government?
Government still faces numerous teleworking challenges
2010 and Beyond: Causey on the ups and downs of the year
Board objects to proposed TSP fund
Causey on health plan options in Open Season
DorobekINSIDER: DOD issues its much anticipated Web 2.0 policy
Analysis: What does public anger mean for feds?
Rule would change contractors’ hiring practices
Fantasy TSP – Are you in?
How to get more minorities, women to participate in TSP
Coast Guard Academy named top college
Dorobek Must Reads – June 2
Telework requires ‘culture change’
Poll results: Should feds work on Columbus Day?
Automatic enrollment in TSP starts next week
Fed satisfaction survey reveals vast amount of info
‘Government Doesn’t Suck’ rally puts human face on government
Causey: How agency budget cuts will affect you
Can a Facebook post get you fired?
Public-private pay gap is widening
Federal pay raises safe … for now
TSP numbers: Look past the short term trend
DorobekINSIDER: GSA reorganizes, Interior shuffles – and the CIO (apparently) moves
Survey: Performance reviews get poor ratings
Election watch 2010 – and what it means for porn
Hiring reforms could mean big changes for veterans
Will feds get a half-day off on Dec. 23?
Google sues U.S. government
Last-minute open season tips
How to get your TSP questions answered
Comments needed for TSP beneficiary designation
Can Facebook get you fired?
DorobekINSIDER: Helping out a Postal employee in a time of need
Inside the secret new Internet browser

DorobekINSIDER: The Federal News Radio Book Club selection: The New Social Learning

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It’s back — the Federal News Radio Book Club. In fact, we haven’t had a “meeting” since April when we discussed Daniel Pink’s book Drive.

For newcomers… Think of the Federal News Radio Book Club as a wonky version of the Oprah book club. Unlike most book clubs, we don’t meet in a physical location. We’ll hold the book club “meeting” right on the air on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s DorobekINSIDER and/or online at DorobekINSIDER.com. And during the hour, we will be joined by the authors of the book… and by a few other people who can spur the discussion… and we’ll take questions and comments about the book.

There are several ways you can participate. There is a Federal News Radio Book Club section on GovLoop, where I’d love to get your thoughts… and a Facebook page… you can Tweet about the book…

All of that being said, let me give you the details…

When: Friday, November 12, 2010 at 3p ET
Where: On Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s DorobekINSIDER… and online at DorobekINSIDER.com.

The New Social Learning

The New Social Learning

And the book: The New Social Learning: A Guide to Transforming Organizations Through Social Media by Tony Bingham and Marcia  Conner. Bingham [Twitter] is the is President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD). Conner Bingham [Twitter] is a partner at Altimeter Group, which creates strategies for collaborative culture, social business, and workplace learning with enterprise leaders and technology providers who serve them.

Why this book?

Regular readers and listeners probably know that I am fascinated by what I call collaborative tools. (I am not a fan of the term “social media” — and I think it is more then just a question of semantics.) I continue to believe that these tools are fundamentally altering the way we have done business along a whole array of areas — government being one of them for a number of reasons.

This book fascinated me because… the authors spoke to government… and it focuses on doing business better. But in the end, it is about change — and change management. We all talk about how difficult it is to change government. (I actually think government gets a bad rap — it is difficult to change large organizations, and federal agencies are large organizations.)

One of my favorite pull quotes from the book so far:

Training often gives solutions to problems already solved. Collaboration addresses challenges no one has overcome before.

Love that.

I have to say up front that I have not finished the book yet — my Kindle tells me I’m 39 percent of the way through. (There are no page numbers in an e-book — because you can change the font size.)

That being said, I get the gist — and there is enough there already to make it worth some time.

This book is specifically not about marketing using social networking… or building your brand. It is about training — and learning, where there is so much evolution going on.

Here is how the authors describe the focus of the book:

Many employers see it as simply a workplace distraction. But social media has the potential to revolutionize workplace learning. People have always learned best from one another, and social media enables this to happen, unrestricted by physical location and in extraordinarily creative ways.

Again, I will share my thoughts about the book as I’m reading it. I hope you will too… here… on GovLoop… on Facebook… or Tweet using #DIbookclub. We’ll use all of the comments as part of our discussion on Nov. 12.

I have also pulled reviews and further reading together here.

I look forward to your thoughts.

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.
* Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink. Read more and hear the book club “meeting” here.

DorobekINSIDER: OMB’s government performance self-assessment

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The Obama administration’s chief performance officer self-assessment of how the federal government is doing so far: “I believe we are off to a good start, and that we are developing the momentum required for meaningful, sustained improvements in how the government works for the American people.”

In a memo to the Senior Executive Service from Jeff Zients, OMB’s Federal Chief Performance Officer and Deputy Director for Management, titled, “The Accountable Government Initiative – an Update on Our Performance Management Agenda,” Zients lays out the administration’s management plan — and how the administration is doing so far.

Here is the memo:

View this document on Scribd

Written by cdorobek

September 14, 2010 at 9:29 AM

DorobekINSIDER: The Gov 2.0 status report — where are we now?

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What is gov 2.0, what does it mean, and is it still a relevant term?

Those were the questions that were being bandied about at a dinner last week of gov 2.0 luminaries in preparation for the Gov 2.0 Expo.

The second Gov 2.0 Expo is coming to Washington, DC in just a few weeks — May 25-27 at the Washington Convention Center, to be exact. Produced by tech publishing giant Tim O’Reilly, the guy who all but invented the term “web 2.0.”

One of the remarkable evolutions over the years has been the changing government IT market. And it is very easy to overlook how much progress has been made. When I started covering this stuff for Government Computer News nearly two decades ago (my colleague at Federal News Radio, Tom Temin, hired me for the job at GCN — small world), people would often ask, ‘The government uses computers?’

My oh my, how the world has changed. The remarkable thing these days is that people don’t ask that question any more. To the contrary, they often say, ‘Why isn’t the government using technology more — or more effectively.’

And while the Obama administration is widely seen as being tech innovators — and the Obama team has really taken the use of technology to new levels — but this has been a long evolution dating all the way back to the Clinton administration. Back in 1998, the thought was creating a WebGov. WebGov then evolved to FirstGov before becoming USA.gov.

Before we go too much further, it’s important to define terms. Broadly, I describe Web 2.0 (and, by extension, gov 2.0) and the suite of collaborative tools. They can be everything from Facebook and GovLoop to wikis to blogs. Gov 2.0 would be the government’s use of these tools.

WebGov/FirstGov/USA.gov and all the other government Web sites were an early foray into the Web 1.0 world.

I’m fascinated by these tools because I think they can be — for lack of a better term — real paradigm changes. We often talk about paradigm shifts, but… these tools do seem to have the ability to bring about remarkable change. Some call them “disruptive” technologies — because they do significantly alter the way people have always done business.

And there has been a whole lot going on in the gov 2.0 world in recent years:

* Intellipedia: The suite of Web 2.0 tools for the intelligence community that has been on the cutting edge for some five years now — and it is one of the case studies in MIT Prof. Andrew McAfee’s great book, Enterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools for Your Organization’s Toughest Challenges.
* Blogs across government… some CJD favs include Navy CIO Rob Carey and NASA CIO Linda Cureton
* Idea sharing tools such as TSA’s Idea Factory, where front line feds can offer up ideas, and they are voted on by TSA employees

The National Academy of Public Administration’s Collaboration Project has scores of case studies.

And in recent years, there are scores of luminaries who have become fascinated with government technology — perhaps led by O’Reilly, but there are others… Craig Newmark, the “Craig” of Craig’s ListAnil Dash, who all but created blogging and has now created Expert Labs… and I even was introduced just last night to Palantir Technologies, which was created 2004 by a handful of PayPal alumni and Stanford computer scientists — and with venture funding from the CIA’s InQ-Tel — and seeks to “radically change how groups analyze information.” There have even been some criticisms of the Obama-Google connections.

Many of the Silicon Valley innovators are use to… well, being innovative. And it has been remarkable to watch as they have come change government.

O’Reilly is — and has been — one of the real thought leaders. Back in 2009, he wrote a post, What Does Government 2.0 Mean To You?

The buzz at last week’s dinner was where does gov 2.0 stand today.

In a way, it is a much more complex world these days. Some of the changes require real changes — and greater risks. Some of the changes require discussions and debate — how do you deal with Internet Web cookies, for example. In the Web world, it is simple: Agencies should be able to use them. But in reality, the headline will say, ‘Government to track Web users.”

And there are complex policy discussions, like the one going on about the Government Paperwork Reduction Act. GPRA is almost universally loathed by gov 2.0 proponents, but… it is also the law.

There was a significant contingent at last week’s dinner who said that the term “gov 2.0” actually holds the evolution of these tools back.

My sense is that the power of these tools — and people’s desire to work together to accomplish a mission — wins out in the end. They will succeed or fail based on whether they actually help agencies accomplish their missions.

For me, that remains the question: Does this help agencies do their job better?

All of that being said, this is a more complex time for gov 2.0, but we’ve already seen remarkable changes. One of the biggest change: People feel empowered. A handful of people can launch something like the Better Buy Project, which seeks to change the government procurement process. It is much more complex then merely launching a blog or using Twitter. In many ways, it is a more fundamental evolution of how government conducts its business.

There have been enormous accomplishments. It was just a few years ago that it was totally evolutionary when Andrew P. Wilson was working on redesigning the PandemicFlu.gov Web site — and merely asked for help with the question: How can we make this site better? The concept of asking for help — the notion that one could ask for help was an enormous change. it is easy to underestimate these changes, but they aren’t small, nor are they insignificant. Today, it has become a regular tool for agencies.

These changes are going to take time — and they probably should. Everybody is learning — and there is a lot to learn.

I’d be interested in your thoughts.

Written by cdorobek

May 12, 2010 at 2:49 PM