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Archive for the ‘Issue of the Week’ Category

03.09.2012: DorobekINSIDER Issue of the week: Hyperconnectivity and what it means to all of us

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Hey there — I’m Christopher Dorobek — the DorobekINSIDER — welcome to GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week with Chris Dorobek… 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 also closes out the first week that we have done daily shows — yes, GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER comes to you every day now. While your feeding yourself at lunch each day, you can also feed your mind… or you can take us with you whoever you go. And We got to do some fun stuff this week. We spoke to officials at the Santa Cruz Police Department about how they are using all the data that they already have — big data — to actually do their job better. Really amazing stuff. And we got to learn about an international search effort that will go later this month that will test how the power of networks can help you do your job better… and it’s all made possible as a result of a State Department grant. Pretty amazing. And we got to talk to Linda Cureton about leadership… and about the nature of leadership.

But our issue of the week this week is a different take on all that information coming at us… and the impact it has, particularly on the Mellinials — those young people who don’t remember phones with cords — but they also have a ripple effect on all of us. Pew has a new report out this week and we’ll talk to one of the researchers.

Also ahead on the program… We’ll also have your 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. And we actually have a video for you that may just remind you why you do what you do each day.

All of that just ahead… after the break…

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Written by cdorobek

March 12, 2012 at 11:31 AM

DorobekINSIDER + GovLoop = Helping you do your job better

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As some of you know, last year, I made the decision to leave my post as anchor of the afternoon drive program on DC’s Federal News Radio. And I made that decision, in part, because I was having a child and I wanted to be a father.

Nicholas has just passed 9-months. And it has been an amazing nine months. There are challenges, mind you — many of us are used to fixing problems, and with a child, you quickly learn that it isn’t always possible to fix those issues.

When I left the afternoon show, I promised that I wasn’t going to disappear. And I haven’t. But I’m really excited about what I’m doing now.

As you know, my mission is summed up in six word: Helping government do its job better. And I work to do that… through this blog, through audio and video content… through events… and I now am going to be working with GovLoop. I have been doing these Friday weekly reviews for several months now. And we will continue to focus on the issue of the week on Fridays. But there will be more: the DorobekINSIDER program will also be here each weekday.

Our goal is to post by noon ET — you can stream us at lunch, so while you’re feeding your body, you can also have some food for thought.

The program will be similar to my former radio show: A mix of news and newsmakers, innovators, thought leaders, books… and even some off the wall kind of stories. We will focus on leadership, technology, acquisition, policy, pay and benefits and your career. Yes, we’ll occasionally have somebody who just blows your socks off… but we’ll also have those “boring but important” stories — our vegetables that are so important to our thought diet. But we’ll also have some fun. (Yes, that too!)

One of my own goals is to challenge myself to find new ways of reporting and telling stories… those stories that help you do your job better. And I think GovLoop is the perfect partner in that quest.

Radio microphoneWhile the GovLoop Insights DorobekINSIDER program will be similar to my former program, there will be several significant differences. First, we aren’t slaves to a clock. If a conversation is going really well, we’re going to keep going. There is no need to hit news at the top of the hour… or weather and traffic, for that matter.

But the most significant difference is GovLoop. We are working to integrate DorobekINSIDER content into GovLoop in a number of ways. The most significant: We are hoping to crowdsource the production of a radio program. We are going to be as transparent as possible — and what we are working on (and why)… about the questions we plan to ask. And we hope that you will be involved. Is there an issue that we should cover? Are there questions we should ask? Is there a challenge you are facing?

We are also working to integrate content across GovLoop’s communities. If we do an interview with somebody, we hope you will offer your thoughts, insights and analysis to the discussion.

If you have ideas about how we can do that, let us know. To put it simply: We don’t have all the answers. And we do believe that all of us are smarter then each of us individually.

We will also be using some of the awesome GovLoop content as fodder for this program — so keep up the good work.

Many things will not change. This is journalism — and it will continue to be. There are always questions about why somebody covered something in a certain way. If you have those questions, ask us. We actually love those questions.

Here is how this will work, as of right now. The full show will be posted on DorobekINSIDER.com each day at about noon ET. And the full show will be available on iTunes… or stream it using apps like Stitcher, where you can stream audio… or even listen on SoundCloud — yes, there is an app for that… and a mobile version.

We will also post each interview individually on DorobekINSIDER — along with the relevant links where you can get more information… and to the community on GovLoop where the discussion is happening. And there will be highlights of those interviews in the community sections. It sounds more complex then it is.

And, of course, we’ll be on all the platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Google+. Yes, even LinkedIN. Find those links here.

The team

I have an awesome team working with me on the program. Emily Jarvis is the producer of the program. Emily was my producer for my WFED program. She is one of those young people who educates me. She is smart and passionate — and always eager to learn. She can be reached at ejarvis@dorobekinsider.com.

And Stephen Peteritas, who has been producing the Friday Issue of the Week program, is still part of the team. He is working to integrate content throughout GovLoop. Stephen can be reached at stephen@govloop.com.

Finally, a few words of thanks… to Scott Burns, the CEO of GovLoop’s parent company, GovDelivery… to Steve Ressler, the founder of GovLoop… and to Doug Mashkuri, GovLoop’s director of business development. I have known each of them for years. I had many options about my next steps — and I selected GovLoop because of their vision for this platform… and the fact that they share my passion about those six words: Help the government do its job better. I’m thrilled to be working with them.

I’m so excited about this. I often tell people that I am the luckiest person on the planet. I love what I do every day. I get to help smart people tackle big challenges.

And I think these are remarkable times. Yes, in some ways they are very difficult times — and you know that. But they are also amazing times. And you can do amazing things.

Are we ready? Let’s do it.

And we’ll see you online… DorobekINSIDER.com.

Written by cdorobek

March 2, 2012 at 12:34 PM

DorobekINSIDER: GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week: Finding needles in haystacks — and the changing government market

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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.

This week, we’ve talked about the challenges of dealing with big data. We’re going to tell you about a company that is going just that — for the intelligence agencies… for the Recovery Board… it’s a story of the Silicon Valley coming to Washington successfully, and it may also be an indication of the direction of government contracting. We’ll talk about the company Palantir.

And as we head into the weekend, we’ll have your weekend reading list… weekends are a 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 be innovative… to think outside of the box. We’ll have information about the DorobekINSIDER Book Club — it’s coming up on Tuesday Wednesday at the Adobe Government Assembly… and we’ll have details.

But… after the break… we start off as we do every week with a look at the week that was for government… for the first week of February 2012…

 

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Written by cdorobek

February 4, 2012 at 10:34 AM

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: GovLoop Insights issues of 2011: Tech that is fundamentally changing government

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GovLoop Insights

NOTE: Updated to clean up formatting

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

And for the month of December, we have been taking taking a break from the issue of the week — and we are taking a look at the issues that defined government for the year. And next week, we’ll talk about the issue of the year — I don’t think anybody will be surprised, but… we’ll talk about it next week.

 

Over the past few weeks, we spoke about cyber-security — and dealing with big data… How do you deal with all the information that you now have access to?

And then last week, we spoke about how transparency and open government can really help you get your job done — talking to Earl Devaney, who is retiring from government after more than 40 years… for the past two years, he has been the chairman of the Recovery, Accountability and Transparency Board.

This week, we are going to talk to one of the concepts that is really changing… well, it’s changing so much in technology, but it is also having a huge impact on government… and I’m going to bring you some highlights of one of the best speeches that you probably didn’t hear.

But we’re going to start off this week, as we have so many week’s this year, talking about… yes, the budget. And it was a roller coaster week — one of many this year. After it seemed likely that there could be a government shutdown, House and Senate negotiators this week signed off on a more than $1 trillion, year-end spending bill and it made its way through the House on Friday.

The bill is more than 1,200 pages and Politico reports that it covers a remarkable breath of topics — domestic spending… the Pentagon and foreign aid — plus tens of billions more related to the war in Afghanistan.

The funding bill sets government spending for the year at $1.043 trillion, a level agreed to in an August deal that raised the nation’s legal borrowing limit. The figure represents a 1.5 percent drop in spending from the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30.

That doesn’t count $115 billion for overseas military operations, a $43 billion dip since this past year as the war in Iraq winds down. It also doesn’t include $8.1 billion in emergency disaster-relief spending.

The measure covers spending for three-fourths of the government. A number of agencies were covered in the November deal including the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, State, and Transportation, as well as NASA and some smaller agencies. This deal covers the all other agencies.

And as a result of this deal, most domestic programs will see cuts as part of the effort to reduce the deficit.

The measure omits funding for the Internal Revenue Service to prepare for the 2014 implementation of the federal health-care law. But it increases funding for border agents and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

It includes $8.4 billion for the EPA — a $233 million drop from last year. And provides $550 million for Obama’s signature Race to the Top education program, a cut of more than 20 percent.

And it includes an increase for the e-government fund.

The other big event, which seemed to get less attention, is the end of the war in Iraq after nine years. The flag of American forces in Iraq has been lowered in Baghdad, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told troops the mission had been worth the cost in blood and dollars. I’ll leave that debate to others.

About 4,000 US soldiers now remain in Iraq, but they are due to leave in the next two weeks. At the peak of the operation, US forces there numbered 170,000.

With that, we turn to one of 2011’s big issues — even if you don’t work in technology, you’ve heard of cloud. Last week, we spoke with Earl Devaney of the Recovery Board about how cloud computing allowed the Recovery Board to be much more agile then it could otherwise.

In November, I got to moderate a program focusing on cloud computing. [By way of transparency: I was paid to emcee the event.]  It was one of the most interesting presentations I had heard all year.

John Rucker

VA's John Rucker

I go to a lot of events and hear a lot of speakers. Many of them are very good — and many of them seek to peer into the future. But one of the best futurists I heard all year was John Rucker. He isn’t a professional speaker. In fact, he even jokes that he looks like a fed. And he is a fed. Rucker is the acting lead for the Department of Veterans Affairs data center consolidation initiative. And he gave a revealing look at the future of technology — and of cloud computing in the government.

After the break… I have his full speech — and his slides as well. But I wanted to bring you two highlights of his speech.

I noted that VA has long been seen as one of the most hapless agencies for government IT. VA CIO Roger Baker and VA CTO Peter Levin have made enormous strides to change that — and Rucker called him the best CIO he has seen in his more than 30 years of government service.

But he noted the cloud is going to have a big impact on the future of government technology…

John Rucker of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

He also said the cloud isn’t for everything…

John Rucker… he is the acting lead for the Department of Veterans Affairs data center consolidation initiative.

As I say, the speech doesn’t have flash — but I think it is one of the most far sighted assessments of government technology that I’ve heard.

It’s GovLoop — I’d love to hear what you think. Do you agree with his assessment? Or is cloud just a lot of hype?

Again, after the break, hear the speech in full… and the DorobekINSIDER must read list…

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Written by cdorobek

December 21, 2011 at 2:45 PM

DorobekINSIDER: GovLoop Issue of the Year: Cyber-security

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GovLoop InsightsThe GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week is changing a few for December. Generally, we try to find a issue — a person — an idea — that helped define the past 7-days… and we always 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.

For the month of December, we are taking a break from the issue of the week — and we are taking a look at the issues that defined government for the year. And we’ll unveil the issue that defined 2011 later this month. But that gives us a few weeks to look at a few of the big issues of the year. And this week, we’re going to talk about cyber-security and making sense of big data.

But first, a look at some of the big stories for the end of November and the beginning of December, 2011 — yes, the final month of the year.

Listen here…

Or read more… after the break…

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Written by cdorobek

December 2, 2011 at 5:36 PM

DorobekINSIDER: GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week: More budget

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Welcome to the GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week…
The full audio
There is really little doubt about what the big issue is for the third week of November — it has really been one of the most dominant issues this year.
But before we get to that, there were two other issues this week…And this week, we learned that feds are not quite as thrilled with their jobs. In fact, satisfaction among federal workers is down for the first time in four years, according to an annual Best Places to Work survey conducted by the Partnership for Public Service. Given the age of austerity, that probably isn’t a huge surprise. The Washington Post reports that 64 percent of employees were satisfied with their work across the federal government. That represents a slight drop of 1.5 percentage points from last year but the most pronounced dip in the history of the “Best Places to Work in the Federal Government” rankings. Morale improved at just 31 of the 308 federal agencies, bureaus, departments and offices in the survey.
And, for what it’s worth: the best big agency to work for: the FDIC… small agency: the Surface Transportation Safety Board… and the best agency component: the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. Read the full list — we have the link online — DorobekINSIDER.com and insights.govloop.com. You can read the Washington Post breakdown of the survey… hear audio from the awards ceremony from Federal News Radio… and, of course, it’s GovLoop — we want your insights. And people are discussing the Best Agency list. What do YOU think?

Another significant milestone this week — and it involves GovLoop. The up-start social network for government passed 50,000 members this week. GovLoop founder Steve Ressler said he remembers being a fed and being asked to do something that every agency was doing — yet being frustrated that there wasn’t an effective way to share what worked — and what didn’t. And GovLoop was created. It’s a remarkable platform and Steve deserves a lot of credit for having created it. Over the weekend, we’ll post my conversation with Steve Ressler about the creation of GovLoop.

And don’t miss the GovLoop/NASPAA scholarship contest — GovLoop asked if they only had $100 million to spend, what would they do. Read the answers — and vote for your favorites… we have the link online. To use a Steve Ressler term — awesome.

But the GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week, as it has been so often this year — it’s the budget. First the good news, such that it is…

The House and Senate managed to pass a budget bill. The Washington Post calls it a detailed vision of the federal government on a diet.” The House and Senate late in the week approved a $130.4 billion measure to fund five Cabinet departments, the first big budget bill since this summer’s promise of greater austerity.

And this week, the Obama administration announced the winner for the third round of the SAVE awards — the Securing Americans Value and Efficiency awards. This is a contest to find the best way to save money. There were four finalist for the ideas they proposed — the person who proposed the winning idea gets to meet with President Obama. And the winner is… Matthew Ritsko of Crofton, MD, who recommended the creation of a centralized tool repository, or “lending library,” for NASA employees to use when developing and building space flight projects.

From the SAVE award page:

Create a tool “lending library” for NASA flight projects
Matthew Ritsko of Crofton, Maryland
Financial Manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
At Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA employees purchase specialized tools and ground support equipment for developing and building flight projects. Many of the tools are not tracked once projects are complete, and as a result funds are wasted on duplicative purchases. In order to cut down on repeat purchases, Matthew suggests creating a centralized tool repository — or “lending library” — where these tools can be stored, catalogued, and checked in and out by NASA employees.
Despite a few steps forward, there is still broad concern that the budget process is still broken — and that there are still significant issues. On Friday, the Wall Street Journal’s CFO Journal said that “Washington is set to let down the nation yet again, as the supercommittee approaches its deadline with no real chances of a deal.”Of course, the deadline for the deal comes up next week.Rosalind Heldermanis a congressional reporter for the Washington Post. And she says that there are very important days ahead…Rosalind Helderman is a congressional reporter for the Washington Post.
And it’s GovLoop, so we want to get your thoughts… And on GovLoop, the questions has been posted: What would a supercommittee deadlock mean to you?
Weekend reading
Little Bets by Peter SimsBefore we head off, I want to note that there are a few extras that you can find online — including some great weekend reading. I have links to a story about how the Department of Veterans Affairs has worked to create an app to help people assess if they have PTSD. Very cool. And a story about 5 Government Procurement Practices That Stifle Innovation… three types of people that you should fire immediately… and a reading list from the Wall Street Journal of books for entrepreneurs. Among the books: a CJD fav: Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries by Peter Sims. An awesome book — particularly for government right now.
Some of the others:
The E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber
Who: The A Method for Hiring by Geoff Smart and Randy Street
Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
Mastering the Rockefeller Habits: What You Must Do to Increase the Value of Your Fast-Growth Firm by Verne Harnish
Street Smarts: An All-Purpose Tool Kit for Entrepreneurs by Norm Brodsky and Bo Burlingham
Happy Thanksgiving!
Next week we will be seeking your thoughts on the issues of the YEAR. Throughout December, we will look at the stories that shaped 2011. And we hope you’ll help craft our list.
Finally, I just wanted to thank you for the work you do. I know times are tough, but having covered the government for a long time now, I know that you are the best and the brightest… and you will find the opportunities to make the changes. And I’m happy to help.

Written by cdorobek

November 18, 2011 at 10:09 PM

DorobekINSIDER: GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week: The budget

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The GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week with Chris Dorobek…  where each week we try to pick a issue… idea… person… or topic that defined the past 7-days… but also choose one that will define the days… weeks… and months ahead… As always, we focus on six words: Helping you do your job better.Generally we hold off telling you what the big story is, but… not this week. This week’s big story is the budget. And there was a lot of budget news this week…

But before we talk budget… some of the other stories that defined the second week of first week of November 2011…

After the break, we highlight some of the big stories of the week… including a fed jobs bill… USAJobs update… TSP’s October numbers…

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Written by cdorobek

November 4, 2011 at 7:14 PM

DorobekINSIDER: GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week: cyber-security innovation

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It was a difficult week to find a single topic that defined the week.As always, our goal with GovLoop Insights Issue of the Weekis to look at an issue — a person — an idea — then helped define the past 7-days… but we also work to find a topic that 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.I was at the 21th annual Executive Leadership Conference, hosted by the American Council on Technology and the Industry Advisory Council, took place last week in Williamsburg, VA. And I helped to lead an UNsession talking about government innovation. (I’m still looking for your thoughts: How would you finish the sentence: “I can help government innovation by…” I’d love to hear what you think.)In the end, we decided to talk about innovation… and to close out Cyber-Security Awareness Month… by talking about cyber-security innovation.

But first… a quick review of the other stories that were news for the last week of October…

We start with the technology story of the week… which was… the first speech [PDF] by the new federal CIO, Steve VanRoekel. Unfortunately he didn’t speak to an audience of government executives — the 21st annual Executive Leadership Conference was going on this week. VanRoekel decided to speak to an audience in California — specifically, at Palo Alto’s storied PARC headquarters.

That aside, it was the federal CIO’s first speech since he took that post nearly three months ago. And he stressed that his focus will be to drive innovation in government and make investments in technology that better serve the American people.

He detailed specific initiatives inside each of the administration’s focus areas — maximizing IT return on investment, improving citizen and business interaction with agencies, closing the so-called productivity gap and cybersecurity.

I’ll have a round-up of stories about the speech soon on DorobekINSIDER.

Staying in technology… what are the challenges facing state technology executives? The National Association of State CIOs has just published its annual list of the strategies, management processes and solutions [PDF]. Topping the list — it will be no surprise to you: consolidation — and I would add, doing more with less. Number two is budget and cost controls. Security comes in at number six… and mobile comes in at number 10.

The top tech priority for state CIOs, according to NASCIO: virtualization.
Read full list [PDF]GovLoop is also asking you for your thoughts about the priorities and technologies that will help you do your job.

Our management story of the week… well, it also involves technology… it’s the ongoing troubles with the government’s job site: USAJobs.gov. We’ve told you over the weeks that the Office of Personnel Management rolled out a brand new version of USA-Jobs, but the new site has been plagued with problems. The Washington Post reports that the site would crash repeatedly, error messages popped up over and over, résumés disappeared, passwords were obliterated. In some cases, it even got geography wrong. Searches for Delaware, for example, turning up jobs in Germany. And Federal Computer Week notes those problems were having an impact. An analysis indicates that the number of resumes coming in through the new site is at least 60 percent less than the earlier version. And now lawmakers are asking the federal CIO to step in to help.

In gov 2.0 news… The Department of Veterans Affairs named RelayHealth as the winner of its “Blue Button for All Americans” contest. The Blue Button allows veterans across the country to download their health data. Even better: McKesson’s RelayHealth announced that it is donating the $50,000 prize to the Wounded Warrior Project, which supports programs that assist injured Servicemembers, Veterans and their families. Awesome — all the way around!

Our budget story of the week… is, of course, the super-committee, which is facing a deadline just before Thanksgiving to make its recommendations on cuts. And there is a lot of back-and-fourth fighting going on. At the Executive Leadership Conference this week, a congressional staffer suggested that agencies should expect significant budget cuts. We’ll continue to watch it, of course.

And four recommendations for some reading this weekend…

One from the Harvard Business Review about government start-ups… Government “start-ups” — new agencies, offices, or initiatives — have the potential to be a powerful tool for solving critical policy problems at the local, state, and federal levels. But while creating the “new and the nimble” within an established bureaucracy is a well-known art form in the private sector, governments are still struggling to do it effectively. Read more — we have the link online.

FastCompany has the story about the Silicon Valley’s new hiring strategy for IT: NOT hiring PhDs.

And are you having trouble finding the right person for the right job? In the Wall Street Journal, this week, a piece on why companies are facing the same challenge.

Finally, social media experts… some feel uncomfortable with that title. The EPA’s Jeffrey Levey explains on GovLoop.

But the GovLoop Issue of the Week… the end of October also marks the end of cyber-security awareness month… and this week, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told the Washington Post that she spends a considerable amount of time dealing with cybersecurity threats, including potential attacks on the nation’s infrastructure. (Video)

This week, the Security Innovation Network was holding a conference in Washington assessing ways to help solve the challenges facing government — and there are many of them, and they have been evolving quickly. Robert Rodriguez is the chairman and Managing Principal of the Security Innovation Network. He tells me that things are changing in the age of austerity…

Written by cdorobek

October 29, 2011 at 3:36 PM

DorobekINSIDER: GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week: Innovate 301

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I’m working to get the GovLoop InsightsIssue of the Week posted as soon as possible. So…
Our issue of the week is about you doing your job better.But, before we get to that… our round-up of the stories that made news for the third week of October 2011…

And we start with your money… where there were were a number of stories. We lead, of course, with the talk — and the likelihood — that pay for feds will be frozen for the third year. The Washington Post says that Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), the chairman of and ranking member on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, are also suggesting that the way that feds retirement befits are calculated should be recalculated. And Federal Times notes that the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), and other Republican members on the panel called on the budget supercommittee to extend the federal pay freeze through 2015. They also called on the supercommittee to permanently end “non-performance-based” step increases.

Speaking of that budget supercommittee: Many eyes still watching the work that is going on behind closed doors on Capitol Hill. The Washington Post says there is growing unease that the supercommittee might not do much of anything.

Meanwhile the U-S intelligence agencies are bracing for big budget cuts, Wired’s Danger Room blog reports. The intelligence community is facing a “double digit” percentage cut to its $80 billion annual budget, James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, said at a conference this week.

And the age of austerity is getting increasingly real for feds. This week, the Justice Department said it may shut down some offices around the country. That angered attorneys working in those cities… and the Government Accountability Office said it may have to consider ferloughs if proposed budget cuts pass.

Very serious issues, but could there be austerity hype? For government tech, maybe, at least according to immixGroup’s Market Intelligence organization. It presented it’s assessment of the budget this week. They said that while continuing resolutions and ongoing budget cuts will have an impact, most federal IT spending requests are slightly ahead of 2011 levels, with buying trends expected to emphasize telework/mobile computing, cloud computing/virtualization, and cybersecurity.

A few other quick money items:

* The unemployment rate for veterans is outpacing the rate for civilians. The Washington Post has the data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that showed the unemployement rate for veterans at nearly 12 percent, well above the overall jobless rate of about 9.1 percent.

* And we told you last week about Moneyball managers. Politico this week has the story about Moneyball economics. And they quote White House Office of Management and Budget Associate Director for Performance and Personnel Management Shelley Metzenbaum, who wrote an OMB blog post talking about the Moneyball book and film. Moneyball is about the baseball manager who uses… atypical data to make decisions… Metzenbaum says that could be a model for government agencies. (NOTE: Updated 10.23 to include Metzenbaum’s OMB blog post on the topic.)

The defense story of the week… from the New York Times, which reported that the Obama administration considered using cyber-attacks on Lybian leaders to disrupt and disable the Qaddafi government, but eventually decided to use traditional air strikes. (Last week, we spoke to  Mark Bowden – the author and journalist. His most famous work is Black Hawk Down, but his most recent book is Worm: The First Digital World War. Hear that conversation here.)

Our procurement story of the week… The Government Accountability Office sustained a protest of the General Services Administration’s cloud computing contract. GAO essentially recommended a do over. We have a link to Washington Technology’s story and the GAO decision — read it for yourself.

A few big management stories this week…

The 7,000 memmbers of the Senior Executive Service — you’re going to be getting a new performance management system… and soon. Federal Times reports the new system, being finalized by the Office of Management and Budget, aims to evaluate SES members on how well they demonstrate the SES’s five “core qualifications”: leading people, leading change, business acumen, building coalitions and being results driven.

And the management of government technology… specifically… the role of the CIO…

GAO put out its assessment on the role of the federal chief information officer. What is probably little shock to anybody: GAO found that CIOs don’t fully have a full seat at the leadership table in many agencies. (AFFIRM will be holding it’s own assessment on the changing role of the CIO at it’s lunch on November 16.)

Meanwhile, the Federal CIO Council put out it’s thoughts on the critically of what are called integrated program teams. We’ll have more on this later, but you can read why the Federal CIO Council believe they are important online… dorobek insider dot com… and insights.govloop.com.

And just in case you think managing technology is easy, a story out of Canada where that government’s CIO said that it could take a decade to remake that country’s IT structure.

Finally, the Wall Street Journal had a story this week about ways of updating the suggestion box. And we’ve seen that across government. TSA — and now DHS — have their Idea Factory. But here is a way to have your say on waste. the National Academy of Public Administration and the Recovery, Accountability and Transparency Board are looking for your insights on how to find waste, fraud and abuse. You can have your say at fedaccountabilitydialogue.net.

I should mention that the Journal also had a story about the trials and tribulations of having these kinds of open forums. The Journal notes that a White House promised to answer questions raised in an online petition. One petition wants to legalize raw milk sales. Others seek to mandate the spaying and neutering of pets, abolish the Transportation Security Administration and even to “formally acknowledge an extraterrestrial presence engaging the human race.” There is even one to save the Postal Service. There you go.

All of that aside, our issue of the week… is about innovation.

There were a few stories this week about different agencies seeking different ways to be innovative. The New York Times reports that the postal union representing letter carriers’ has hired a former investment banker, and a the financial firm to help craft a plan to breathe some life into the ailing postal service.

And along a similar vain, Reuters reports that the is stepping up its five-year-old Defense Venture Catalyst Initiative, or DeVenCI, as a way to get high-tech advice.

There has been a lot of discussion in recent years about how the government can be innovative. Next week, at the Industry Advisory Council’s Executive Leadership Conference, a big focus will be on innovation. And, in fact, we are going to try something a big different — maybe even innovative. As part of that discussion, there will be an UN-session. You have have heard of an un-conference. These are where you don’t have a panel — or even an agenda. You have… well, the people in the room. You tap the wisdom of crowds. At ELC, we are doing an UN-session. When I say we, the UN-session is going to be guided by me… and Kathy Conrad… she is the principal deputy associate administrator of GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies.

I asked her to join me this week to talk about government and innovation… and she says that the government isn’t given enough credit for its innovation — even by government employees…

Kathy Conrad… she is the principal deputy associate administrator of GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies.

Now there are ways that YOU can participate. I’ll post some of our thoughts this weekend on on DorobekINSIDER… and we are creating a GovLoop discussion where you can offer your thoughts… and we are giving people at ELC homework — what are they going to do to be… innovative. And we’re going to follow up and see what works — and what doesn’t. And we hope you will join us for all of that.

And that is our question of the week — what are the biggest challenges to innovation in your organization?

It’s GovLoop — so we’d love to get your thoughts.

Written by cdorobek

October 21, 2011 at 8:26 PM