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Notes from remote participation in the April Workshop

Page history last edited by Lucas Cioffi 14 years, 2 months ago


APRIL 28, 2010


Suggested Topics For Our Conversation

  • How to facilitate culture or behavioral change: especially in local government. When we approach local governments, some are not interested in being open. Help them recognize the benefits.
  • Inventorying the data. How agencies can figure out the assets they have before deciding what they do with them.
  • Culture, behavior change.
  • Fear of retribution.
  • How much is government looking to vendors to help them resolve some of these issues. Models we use. Mandate to share data.
  • How have we seen cultural change take place?


Participants: Julie, Justin, John, Alisa, Mike, Barry




  • D.C. Had to work hard to get buy-in from the top. Now that the front line employee has seen the benefit. Start from top and move back up from the bottom. Get agency directors to buy-in.
  • Showed folks case studies. Showed our problem. Build into our overall strategy. D.C. social media is used for customer service. Hasn’t melded with open government . Showing people corporate case studies sold it for them.
  • Staff see a much faster pace. Set realistic expectations. When there is a tweet you can’t wait 3-5 business days to respond.
  • API: release code. To their customer service people. Allows private application developers to create things for citizens.
  • Business processes have to scale along with technical processes. There is no limit to how many people can come on line as customers. What do governments do in the situation where demand and access increase?
  • Can you publicly post the cue of requests that are being addressed?
  • What if someone is waiting 60 days for service?
  • Researchers don’t want to share their data. They are embarrassed. Downside of transparency is you can quantify the situation. Will give citizens insight into the dysfunctionality of processes.
  • There can be elasticity of demand but can there be elasticity of response?
  • Will you be able to handle a larger request volume or handle existing requests in less time?
  • Access to information can take the onus off of FOI responses.
  • Soft issues are the big hold up. Is it compatible? Is it effective?
  • Has anyone created a value chain of how to deal with tweets?
  • New forms of contact. Higher degree of interaction. Begin to receive services.
  • How much conversation was there this morning of incentives to the managers. Incentivize managers to try some of these things.
  • Business process changes pose a risk.
  • Fear issues.
  • Having Twitter isn’t a strategy. It has to be built in.
  • Consolidate conversations.
  • Move from social network channels into the official channels as a process.
  • LocalGov Chat. Fear is really the biggest thing. People don’t understand the change. When they understand it, the fear subsides. Then the business process issue comes to the fore. Social media in general.
  • One tweet takes 15 seconds and could go viral and have a vast return. Example.
  • Determine: what is your objective from this technology. Figure out what they want. What is the downside?
  • Demystify the technology for people.
  • It is no riskier than what they are doing today.
  • It takes investment of time to build up your community and trust.
  • Know how to use the tool.
  • Do people think they will get something for nothing. Just deploy it.
  • Whole social media culture is hard for people to understand.
  • Create new relationships.
  • Dan Moon from GSA. Oil painting of an iron gate. People picture government agencies as the building we are in. Let people see the work. Can change the way citizens approach government. Once they form a more cooperative relationship, works out better for everyone. Comments and criticism are public. Creates a more cooperative environment.
  • Lots of people have busy lives. Don’t have time to go to meetings. Can video meetings and enable person to see the one point that interests them. They can quickly know where public officials stand on an issue. They know where the person actually stands. Minutes don’t show tone of voice. Do we know who our local officials are? We don’t see them. Build face to face knowledge of who that person is.
  • The whole dynamic changes when you have a tape recorder or video recorder. Makes everyone more accountable. Makes a huge difference in mannerisms. Keeps every thing on an even keel.
  • Accountability is a key issue for this. Have to convince government that accountability is a good thing.
  • Twitter does a good job with open communication. Is not as focused as it needs to be. So many things out there so that there is no idea of where to go to.
  • I would go on line to watch a town meeting though I have not been to one in person.
  • If everything starts getting videotaped will action move to the back room?
  • Twitter provides the ability to collaborate. How to get your hands around all of that data?
  • Contest for citizens of Ireland to come up with next good idea for Ireland. E.g. Change entire government to an e-form of government. Ideas about healthcare. Be able to focus people on what they want.
  • Collaboration. The more collaboration government has with citizens enables citizens to suggest ideas. The more collaborative you have, the more good ideas can come your way. One way to sell it to government. This is a goal that government could get on board with. Be able to tie it back to professional objective. Money saving. By having access to the public, will get new ideas. Get new ideas from the private sector. Would get a perception change of how government is. If you see a government that is soliciting and acting on your ideas and broadcasting your idea indicating that it was a citizen idea, would lead to a perception of how functional it is. Need to deal with current consensus that government is broken and not responsive.
  • Expectations are accelerated. People want things done now. Especially true with government. People have the view that there has not been change now. People want the change now. Need to change the perception in order to change the reality. Is government getting worse or are the expectations of people getting higher?
  • Private sector adage: you don’t sell a product, you sell an experience. All of these touch points create an experience of dealing with the government. People want the outstanding customer service and immersive experience. Private sector went through this transition and it was not easy. When private companies recognized the upside, they embraced the experience.
  • I see antiquated web interfaces in government. People should be able to put a data base on the web in their sleep. Local government web sites look like a high school class did it. Not easy to find information that you are looking for. Some federal web site don’t look current. Update usability. Be able to find the information that you are looking for.
  • How does government want to be seen: as providing a great experience or a discount chain like experience.
  • Go over the top with customer service because people may already be mad.
  • Hire and retain good people in government. Keep good people from getting away. It is hard to keep good people in government for a long time. People under 40. Keep people who are educated in the new customer service models.
  • Professional benefit for pitching new technology. It can help retain people in government. Release their initiative and capabilities. Interesting to use. Professional benefit in learning to use them. What can service provide do to improve service and not be the bad guy.
  • What is government trying to do. Varies from agency to agency and department to department. E.g. NASA. Their funding relies on people thinking that NASA is really cool. E.g. IRS: it was not as bad as I expected. Set the long term goal. Figure out the specific business objective.
  • State and local government have a lot of antiquated practices that are not needed any more. E.g. need for a notary. You can give VIP service, but does not help if the process is slow and antiquated. Don’t point them to the legislation, point them to the plain language. Social media itself is plain language.
  • NASA is cool. Meaning making part is a huge lost opportunity. TurboTax makes meaning out of the experience. Role of intermediary. If there were others like this, it would help. Will add a lot of appeal.
  • Don’t put it on the back of government to initiate. Find a way to support private sector to create these useful meaning making interfaces.
  • Boils down to open data. Open up the entry points into government. This is technology based. Expensive for small government. A lot of this is done with open source.




  • We have higher expectations of government. Helping government to regain status and technology.
  • Lot of lessons to be learned from private sector. Government can reclaim lost status. Use models from the private sector.
  • When pitching this, use examples from private sector.
  • We are all consumers. We don’t have to reach too far to describe an on-line customer experience. Show government how to improve their experiences.
  • If we are trying to do Open Gov and Gov 2.0, we need a magnifying glass on their business processes. Need to support it through all of the different aspects of your agency. Eternally beta as we move forward.
  • Does meaning making come along with the technology? If not, what do we need to be doing? 


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