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Posts Tagged ‘Government 2.0

DorobekInsider: EPA ahead in govt 2.0 — again… this time it’s radon

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Editor’s note: This is the first post on EPA’s radon video program. You can see other runner up videos here… and my correction to this post here.

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.

Well, EPA has another government 2.0 coup — this time, an initiative focusing on on radon. (EPA’s radon page 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 — — 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 (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.

Editor’s note: This is the first post on EPA’s radon video program. You can see other runner up videos here… and my correction to this post here.

Written by cdorobek

October 3, 2008 at 8:36 AM

Posted in Government 2.0

Tagged with , ,

DorobekInsider: TSA’s insights into Government 2.0

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I had the opportunity this morning to go to a forum on Government 2.0 titled Evolution of the Web: How Social Networking is Changing the Way Government Does Business sponsored by the Industry Advisory Council and held at the Canadian Embassy.

Of course, there are scores of definitions for Government 2.0, let alone Web 2.0. That being said, I think most people think of Government 2.0 as essentially is the concept of applying Web 2.0 concepts to government. And there are all sorts of definitions of Web 2.0 out there. The Dorobek definition is that Web 2.0 is the theory that all of us are smarter then any one of us. It is the believe that there is a wisdom of the crowds. And Web 2.0 is inherently collaborative.

You can see that through everything from wikis — the best case, of course, is the Wikipedia, the online wiki encyclopedia that lets anybody go in and change content. But there are also blogs and a host of other applications.

The were two super-stars at this morning’s session. One was Lynn Dean, who is the manager of strategic and Web communications in the Transportation Security Agency’s Office of Strategic Communicatiosn and Public Affairs. TSA has been one of the leaders in implementing Web 2.0 applications. Last year, TSA Administrator Kip Hawley said he wanted to start making this real. And TSA’s first application was a tool called the TSA Idea Factory. (Read more about the Idea Factory from FCW here.)

The idea factory is essentially an online suggestion box — but, because it is done electronically, it has some additional functionality from a paper-based suggestion box. Like a typical suggestion box, anybody — yes, anybody — can propose an idea. But those ideas get rated — people can go in and vote on how good the idea is. And there are a number of ideas that have actually been implemented — about two dozen ideas.

One of the challenges — and it is a challenge with many of these Web 2.0 systems — was getting people to use the Idea Factory, Dean said. TSA dealt with that challenge in a few ways. First off, senior leaders got involved with the suggestions. It helps that the idea came from TSA Administrator Kip Hawley. But Dean said that TSA’s director of security is often on the Idea Factory because it lets him stay in touch with the officers at airports around the country.

The other way they dealt with that issue is by getting the idea suggestors involved in implementing their ideas — even having them come back to HQ. It allows them to see a different part of how the organization operates.

Later, I’ll post Dean’s insights about blogging and TSA’s blog, which has been much more successful then I ever expected.

Written by cdorobek

October 2, 2008 at 6:40 PM

Posted in DHS, Government 2.0

Tagged with , Getting insights into Government 2.0

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Wikinomics co-author Anthony D. Williams

Wikinomics co-author Anthony D. Williams

Regular readers will know that I am passionate about this Web 2.0/Government 2.0 stuff. (I was speaking to the ACT/IAC 2008 Voyagers class today and I like to ask how people define Web 2.0/Government 2.0. The responses were ranged for collaboration to networking to Web-based… My definition is that Web 2.0 embraces the concept that all of us are better then each of us individually. Web 2.0 taps into the Internet and the Web tools that can really enable that collaborative theory.)

So Thursday at 2:30p ET on Federal News Radio 1500 AM and and online at on our mid-day show, InDepth with Francis Rose, I am going to join Rose for a conversation with Anthony D. Williams, co-author of the book Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything.

Williams, who spoke at IAC’s Executive Leadership Conference last year, is spearheading nGenra’s (formerly NewParadigm’s) Government 2.0 project. [See Williams’ 2007 post on the project here.]

OMB is one of the backers of the Government 2.0 project.

My connection to the Government 2.0 project… and Williams bio after the break…
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Written by cdorobek

September 17, 2008 at 10:36 PM An amazing Rising Star’s view of Government 2.0… and GovLoop

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Rising Star Steve Ressler (photo by Matthew Borkoski)

If you don’t know Steve Ressler, he should be on your ‘to meet’ list. If you want to have faith in the next generation, make the opportunity to talk to Ressler. (I have to admit that I’m biased here. I was so impressed with Ressler, that when FCW created the Rising Star awards program three years ago — these are award that recognize the next generation of government leaders — we put Ressler on the cover… and featured him and his step-sister in the magazine. Can I just claim to have discovered him?)

Ressler is one of those people who is never satisfied just sitting back and saying, ‘We should do…’ He is one of those amazing people who actually does. So, for example, Ressler and Megan Quinn weren’t satisfied with the network that young government workers could create, so they co-founders of a group called the Young Government Leaders — and organization that has continued to evolve and grow.

Ressler has since created a social networking site called, built on the remarkable Ning platform. GovLoop lets users — yes, you! — blog, network, connect with people you may know, or people that you may not know and want to know, and create discussions around certain topics. The idea isRessler’s baby — talk about “just do it” — and the site now has nearly 1,000 people who are ‘looped,’ so to speak. (FCW bloggers Steve Kelman and Judy Welles both wrote about GovLoop earlier this year.)

If you somehow cannot make time to meet Ressler, he is a guest blogger on the Wikinomics blog, which is related to the Wikinomics book, of course.

Guest Blogger Steve Ressler on Government 2.0 & The Rise of Informal Networks
September 3rd, 2008, 09:12am

This guest blog is by Steve Ressler, founder of, a social network connecting the government community. Mr. Ressler is also a contributor to the nGenera Gov 2.0: Wikinomics, Government, and Democracy project and the co-founder of Young Government Leaders, a professional organization of more than 2,000 government employees.Ressler has published articles on generational issues and Web 2.0 in various publications including The Public Manager and presented on these topics at a range of venues including Harvard’s Kennedy School andBrookings Institute.

It’s official – Gov 2.0 is here to stay. From nGenera’s Gov 2.0: Wikinomics, Government, and Democracy project, NAPA’s Collaboration Project, and Mashable’s recent Gov 2.0 column, a lot has been written on the potential power of web 2.0 technologies in government. Government agencies across numerous jurisdictions have begun focusing on how Web 2.0 technologies can help foster workplace collaboration and innovation. Organizations such as the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Transportation Security Agency, and National Resources Canada have implemented organizationalwikis to provide a central point for ideas and discussion.

But while government organizations have begun to focus on fostering workplace collaboration from the inside, a new type of collaboration is developing outside the formal reach of government agencies. As part of the Gov 2.0:Wikinomics , Government, and Democracy research series, I recently completed a paper entitled “Net-Gen Networks: How Agencies Can Leverage Outside Innovation Internally.” In this analysis, I document the rise of informal networks in the government sector built around Web 2.0 applications as a means of facilitating collaboration, idea sharing and innovation both within and across agency lines. Whether via social networks likeFacebook, wikis , or blogs, these networks have created new authoritative resources for employees without the input or control of their superiors.

For example, Young Government Leaders, a professional organization for young federal employees in the U.S., started as two new government workers wanted to connect with peers. What started as a small happy hour has turned into a powerful informal network with over 2,000 members featuring a weekly leadership blog, professional development activities, community service, and bi-weekly newsletter. Young Government Leaders is not housed in a specific government agency but rather is run independently by volunteers on their own time and provides a sense of community to Net-Gen federal employees going through the same experiences in their career.

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You can also read a Q&A with Ressler on the Municipilist blog.

He’s a good example of what one can do. Even if you don’t get to meet him, I think you’ll get a good sense of who he is from his words… and we’ll certainly try and get him on Federal News Radio.

Meanwhile, go join GovLoop and plunk around on it a bit… maybe even start your own conversation or topic.

Written by cdorobek

September 4, 2008 at 12:47 AM Hurricane response 2.0

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It has been really interesting to watch government implement Katrina’s lessons learned. By most accounts, federal, state and local agencies all did much better responding toGustov then they did with Katrina. [GSA deputy chief acquisition officer David Drabkin was on Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief this afternoon talking about the acquisition aspects of hurricane preparedness (.mp3)… and Rear Admiral Dr. Craig Vanderwagen, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the Department of Health and Human Services was on FED’s Morning Drive this morning talking about the work done (.mp3)]

Of course, everybody is watching the other storms swirling out there in the Atlantic. No rest for the weary.

But it was interesting to see the Gustav response largely because there have been all sorts of developments in technology in the last three years that enables people to get information in various ways.

First off, blogger Andy Carvin noted that the Homeland Security Department has created a “hurricane response widget” that people can put right on their Web sites. It provides links that people can use to get more information.

I foolishly thought it was one of the first government uses of widgets, but… far from it. The FBI has one… as does EPA… and even Rep. Max Thornberry (R-Texas). They aren’t publicized all that much, so I don’t know how much these widgets get used, but… what a great way of getting information out.

Carvin also has a fascinating post about all the online resources that are available out there for people to keep track of what is going on. For example, there is a Twitter site that used to be focused onGustof and has now been rebranded “StormWire.” It can be found at (Unsure about what Twitter is? FCW did a primer on it last week on Twitter… and there is a Plain English guide on Twitter.)

There is also a hurricane related ning social networking site about the storms that can be found at

See about the other named storm names here.

Written by cdorobek

September 3, 2008 at 7:20 PM