This is the first of a series of blog posts we’re doing to identify “shovel-ready” web projects we think the federal government should fund. These are internet-related projects which we think are worthy of funding because they address important civic problems, they will catalyze important work by others, they are imminently scalable, and they are projects which the private sector lacks sufficient incentives to undertake.
I attended a session called "a Day in the Life of a Federal Web Manager" at the Transparency Camp in DC this weekend, and we had a very interesting discussion about the tension that large organizations face with respect to letting different departments and groups at their organization experiment with web 2.0 tools.
We're always haranguing our client organizations to set up blogs to collect "field notes."
For those organizations with staff in the field, it's a huge opportunity to collect stories, photos, video, and audio. It increases the profile of the organization's experts, makes their work more accessible, and creates a stream of fresh, unique, and interesting content ripe for dissemination.
Federal News Radio reported today that Vivek Kundra, Chief Technology Officer for the District of Columbia, has taken a position as new Office of Management and Budget administrator for e-government and information technology:
Many readers of this blog work for influential organizations that produce top-tier research. Chances are still pretty good that these organizations capture their work, first and foremost, in formal reports that appear as hard-copy books and, in online form, PDF files. To be clear, I don't necessary fault this move - there is still nothing that says "important" and "credible" like a book (not to mention: who isn't looking for a nice think-tank tome to take on their mid-Winter beach get-away!).
I just sat through an informal brownbag lunch discussion with the founder of the Genocide Intervention Network (GI-Net), social entrepreneur Mark Hanis. Says Mark, "GI-Net is creating a permanent and powerful anti-genocide constituency in the United States, and essential to this is the innovative use of technology."
The incoming Obama administration is pledging to use some innovative internet strategies to expand citizen access to government information and processes. (This gets us at Forum One pretty jazzed - we've been evangelizing a long while about using online services to expand public access to information, enable new forms of collaboration, and build online communities.)
I was recently struck again by a decade-old lesson in Forum One's web strategy work: Organizations eagerly developing new web tools often skip the critical step of figuring out what their target audiences are actually interested in. This step is usually essential and often overlooked. This time I was reminded in a general discussion amongst over 50 NGO managers and policy makers at a learning forum convened by the Global Water Challenge.