What happens behind your website is just as important as what is on your agency's website. To maximize your agency's web presence, think about how you can make the web channel the "sole" channel for specific interactions and how you can make your agency more responsive to these requests by transforming the review & approval process behind-the-scenes.
Your new government website just launched. The digital pages are visually stunning and impressive.
But is your website just a pretty facade?
Or…is it ready to turn those citizens who visit into satisfied customers quickly and without utilizing your agency’s overloaded phone, mail or in-person channels?
If citizens still need to call or visit an agency office after exploring your website, then there are still more opportunities for maximizing your agency’s web investments to reduce your agency’s operating costs and boost customer service. And, as I will note, investments in what the citizen doesn’t see, the operations behind your website, is just as important as what is on your website.
If your agency can provide required services online in a responsive and transparent manner, adoption of the digital channel will increase.
With the latest Pew research showing that more people are now connected to the internet, it’s time to think about online as a channel for completing end-to-end interactions with your agency. Not just taking a supporting role.
Health 2.0 in San Francisco: Everyone is milling around just before the fourth annual conference kicks off.
The fourth annual Health 2.0 conference was held this past week appropriately in one of the nation’s innovation hotbeds, Silicon Valley. Approximately 1,000 participants spanning the spectrum of stakeholders from insurers, health care providers, public sector representatives to patients, clustered together at the Hilton in Union Square San Francisco for the two day mind meld.
Even before the opening remarks, I could feel the energy of the room that is consistent with most web 2.0 and social media events. Similar to “2.0″ gatherings I’ve attended across other industries, the conversation in the “Dueling Keynotes” between Tim O’Reilly and Jeff Goldsmith culminated on the tension between the traditional institutions of the health care industry and the new innovations that are posed to be disruptive.
The inaugural GovFresh event this Wednesday offered a compelling glimpse at how to deliver on the open government promise. After the event, we had a chance to chat with number of the event’s speakers and then pull their perspectives together into a short clip. This clip highlights how government innovators and entrepreneurs are leveraging open government to drive environmental stewardship, advance public safety, speed public service, and foster innovation. See the video below.
Overall, the event offered insight from both sides of open government equation: innovators and citizens using government information and governments making data available. For those on the government side, you might also find the event’s Q&A particularly valuable (see the event replay starting at 1:01:50). Many agencies are still struggling to define their open government strategy and allocate resources in order to make information easy to find, use, and trust for the public. In the Q&A Chris Vein, San Francisco’s CIO, offers a perspective based on their experience overcoming many of the tricky practical issues governments are dealing with when it comes to opening up government data.
Last night, GovFresh and Adobe hosted 200 attendees at the inaugural GovFresh event, sf.govfresh. The event was also live broadcast over Adobe Connect for those who couldn’t join the event in person. A replay of the broadcast is now available.
Q: Thanks for spending a bit of time with us, Luke. Not that you need much of an introduction these days but can you give us a few sentences of background on yourself and GovFresh?
A: I grew up and worked in and around the Beltway. I studied Government & Politics and International Relations at George Mason University. I’m familiar with the Beltway culture how government operates.
I’ve spent much of the last 10 years in start-up environments and help entrepreneurs with their own ideas. I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to pursue my professional interests. During the dot-com bust, I helped re-work a VC-funded start-up into a government contractor and learned a lot about the business and procurement side of government.
GovFresh is the perfect storm of my Beltway past and Bay Area present. Having worked and lived in both has helped me understand how all this fits together.
Q: Talk a bit about the origins of the event you have coming up on Sept. 1. Where did the idea come from and what’s the purpose?
The July/August issue of Harvard Business Review features the article titled “Empowered,” by Josh Bernoff and Ted Shadler – a great read on how some leading companies are empowering their employees to use social technologies to interact with customers and help solve their problems. One of the highlighted use cases is the U.S. State Department, which used Adobe Connect to create Co.Nx (pronounced “connex”) for presenting webchats with speakers ranging from President Obama, to the upcoming webchat with Curt Onalfo, head coach of D.C. United. With a strong presence on Facebook, Co.Nx has more than 100,000 fans and its webchats are viewed by tens of thousands throughout the world.
Read more about some of the cool ways companies are using Adobe Connect to connect with their employees and customers here.
La Last week, OMB director Peter Orszag spoke at the Center for American Progress at an event sponsored by the “Doing What Works” Project. Doing What Works aims to promote reforms that increase government efficiency during this time of scarce resources, and Orszag discussed the Administration’s emphasis on increasing public sector productivity by closing the “IT Gap.”
Th The Director made three key points on why the Federal Government must create systems to provide more efficient services:
Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, public sector worker productivity has fallen while private sector productivity has grown by around one percent a year.
According to a recent poll by the Pew Center, approximately two-thirds of Americans believe that the government is wasting their money.
Many government agencies do not have in place cutting-edge and efficient systems. For example, the US Patent Office, which deals with the nation’s most innovative ideas, must print out all electronic submissions and then scan them individually, leading to a three-year average approval time.
I’ve written about this elusive word “open” in the past. My point was the word can mean many things depending on context and perspective. I think it has become a widely over used, misused word. That said, I was very happy this morning when Adobe took a shot at providing an explanation of what the word “open” means to the company. Even Adobe’s founders, Chuck Geschke and John Warnock, weighed in with their thoughts on the topic. (Check it out here.)
Putting this into my own words, to Adobe, “open” equates to freedom of choice. It is a spirit that permeates the culture of the company as well as the technologies it creates. Adobe’s definition is not limited to “open source” or “open standards”, but actually supersedes and embraces these ideas into a bigger concept. Does Adobe take the steps to make every single one of its technologies available as open source or push every one of its protocols into the open standards arena? Of course not. However, many of its core technologies HAVE been offered as open source (Flex, AVM+), granted to open standards bodies (PDF is now ISO 32000) or, at the very least, openly published as specifications (SWF, FLV/F4V, RTMP, AMF) for others to use to create new and unforeseen solutions.
And of course, always remember Adobe’s continued commitment to support and participate in the development of open standards.
So, does it really HAVE to be “Open vs. Choice” or should it be “Open = Choice”? The beauty of this is, everyone gets to decide for themselves!
Guest contribution from Mark Smalley, Senior Systems Engineer, Adobe
I was recently in Raleigh, North Carolina for an Adobe Enterprise Developer Day event. This was the first in a series of events focused on developers serving State and Local governments. The Raleigh stop was a good one, with local developers gathering to discuss the challenges of building and delivering web applications that leverage existing back-end systems. The event also included discussion of how our technology can help address these challenges.
Developer Days are a great opportunity to hear from some of our resident technical experts, as well as the chance to interact with peers tackling similar projects and challenges.