March 16, 2010
Within the more advanced corporate marketing communities, there is an understanding that explaining your service or products in terms of “faster, better, cheaper” leaves you open to direct attack from your competitors. No matter how fast or how much better your offering, it’s only a matter of time until your competition “one ups you”! One saying goes, “There’s no sustainable technical advantage.” Rather than highlight “speeds and feeds”, enlightened organizations focus more on the value of a product or service, described in terms that are familiar and meaningful to the target users.
So, I can already hear you ask yourself, why is this guy talking about marketing techniques in the same post with the National Broadband Plan?? Well, thanks for asking!
March 11, 2010
On Tuesday, March 16, I will be posting to a forum on Govloop, a series of thoughts and recommendations entitled “All Inclusive Publishing – Making Information/Data Available to People and Machines”. While there are a number of contributors, James King is the primary author. James has an impressive pedigree and a lifetime of experience in making information available in an electronic format. Jim holds a Ph.D from CMU in Computer Science, serves ISO as Project Leader, ISO 32000 in TC171 SC2 WG8 while holding down his position with Adobe as Senior Principle Scientist, PDF Platform Architect.
The intent of this posting is to develop a deliverable designed to equip government agencies with a few simple, yet effective ideas to consider as they strive to create and publish information and data while serving a wide variety of diverse audiences.
In keeping with the spirit of open government, I am posting these ideas in draft form in an effort to be transparent and I hope to drive community participation and collaboration in taking the ideas to government knowing that the ideas are well vetted.
I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback.
Keep as eye out here. I will post an update to this entry, linking to Govloop next week!
March 5, 2010
Have you ever been in this situation? You get text message on your mobile phone with an urgent plea for you to join a time critical, mission centric collaboration session – NOW! Perhaps you are off site at a conference, maybe lunch or, it could even be your legitimate day off and you are on the golf course. Regardless of your location, there is one thing that is a fact – You are no where near any computer, much less YOUR computer.
February 22, 2010
It’s been over a year, and, the evolution of Open Government is in full swing, including the definition of what Open Government is. We all pretty much agree that that OG is about transparency, participation and collaboration, but, what seems to be missing is context. Transparent to who? Participate in what? Collaborate to solve? So far, most of the efforts of the OG community have been focused on raw data sets and dashboards to answer for transparency, feedback collection sites to cover participation and various forms of social media to foster collaboration. Not a bad start, so long as we don’t allow the OG community to claim victory and quit looking for more creative innovations (or definitions of what OG could/should be).
To this point, I’d like to present a very different perspective on participation. As mentioned, generally, when participation is discussed with regards to OG, people are thinking about ways to gather feedback from or start a dialog with the public (or some subset of), typically focused on some government initiative or policy decision. Of course, this is generally a good thing, but, isn’t this an obvious use case for open government? So, let’s think outside the box for a minute and consider a whole different perspective, namely, finding ways to engage people directly with the mission of a particular agency. Still participation, right? Would this still be Open Government at work as well? I believe the answer is yes.
February 16, 2010
On January 28th, Ben Forta from Adobe spent an hour with an online audience discussing various ways to approach the design, development and deployment of highly interactive dashboards. Here are his slides. To illustrate his points, Ben focused on Adobe Cold Fusion as the development and delivery platform, highlighting the speed and efficiency of a Cold Fusion focused development project. To bring his comments to life, Ben demonstrated an Open Government application created by Figleaf Software. Through the generosity of Figleaf, they have made the example application available in it’s entirety for anyone to download and use, free of charge. A few simple modifications, and your agency can bring up a branded version of this site. The source files can be found here and the setup files here.
Please feel free to use and share these templates as you see fit.
As a guy who’s been around the block more than once in the technology industry, I’ve had the opportunity to witness a plethora of developments, ideas and concepts, some good, some not so good. One particular debate, or perhaps, a point is confusion, is around the word ‘open’. In the early days of computing, groups of like minded individuals came together for the purpose of defining standard ways to ‘do things’. For the most part, these folks realized that it was generally better for the industry as well as the users of technology to establish standards so that systems AND people could work together. There is no doubt that many of these groups have changed the nature of computing and technology for the better. Email flows, the internet works, people can view documents, pictures, listen to music, etc.
February 11, 2010
I’ve been following some of the commentary coming from the recent Gov2.0LA unconference and one topic in particular caught my attention. Specifically, the possibility that there is a divide between the goverati and the general public interested me. In one post, Christina Gagnier wrote about Bill Grundfest’s thoughts on Government 2.0 and his insights were quite compelling. Boiling it down, Mr. Grundfest is suggesting to the Government 2.0 evangelists that they should reconsider how they are presenting themselves and the ideas of open government to the general public, that the language and jargon being used is clearly not engaging the very people who are to benefit from open government efforts.
February 2, 2010
If you live in or have visited the Washington area anytime in recent months, you may have noticed Adobe’s Open Government campaign in some form or fashion. As a supporter of the Administration’s efforts to drive openness and transparency, we’ve taken a sincere interest in any related activities, including the recent Open Government Directive. To date, we’ve participated with a number of our customers, including, for example, the Department of State, the Pentagon, the Government Printing Office and others, to discover better ways to leverage the technologies they already have in place, resulting in citizens and constituents who are better connected to their government. Information is being shared in more collaboratively, engaging people into the business of government in more meaningful ways.
January 26, 2010
I’ve been a fan of David McClure for quite some time now. I started following him during his tenure with Gartner, having a couple opportunities over the years to spend some quality time with him. One of his traits that I’ve always admired is his ability to get right to the heart of the matter. So, true to form David delivers again during an Association for Federal Information Resources Management event in Washington last Thursday. As quoted in the article by Dawn Lim of nextgov, David points out the rational and realistic opinion that “It’s going to be an evolutionary process.” The balance of the article follows David’s thoughts on citizen participation and even mentions collaboration. Wrapping up the article are the insights of Carolyn Lukensmeyer, president and founder of AmericaSpeaks who suggests that federal agencies need move away from the traditional model of being watched over by sophisticated Beltway stakeholders to a more inclusive outreach approach that appeals more to the general public.
December 3, 2009
The information sharing challenges facing government today are greater than ever before. Take GPO for instance, in the not so distant past, all consumers of GPO products had essentially the same set of expectations, an authentic document that one could read. Paper-based deliverables were the only option, not only for the consumers, but also for the creators. Now, organizations such as GPO are faced with a whole different class of information consumers, most notably, machines. This new class of information user has created a completely new set of demands on the way information is created, stored and disseminated, however, and this is important, it has not eliminated the requirement to publish information in a useable format for people. So, government organizations are faced with serving multiple masters, each with different requirements but neither less important than the other.