February 7, 2010 - February 13, 2010 Archives
- How To: Get Your Agency Into Web/Gov 2.0
By Sterling Whitehead -
On his first day in office, President Obama challenged leaders in government to "use innovative tools, methods, and systems to cooperate among themselves, across all levels of Government, and with nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individuals in the private sector." The acquisition process represents one of the most important areas of collaboration between government and the private sector.
Unfortunately, it is also among the most complex and least transparent. The Better Buy Project is an experiment dedicated to the belief that there's a lot of room for improvement in the way government buys products and services. We're testing this hypothesis by asking for your ideas on how to make acquisition process more open, transparent and collaborative.
The best part of this project is that the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) GSA would really like to adopt some of your best ideas. Promising ideas will be selected by GSA to be piloted on an upcoming acquisition, where lessons learned will be captured for future implementation. But that really depends on us, and the ideas we're able to produce.
This project is concerned primarily with the pre-contract-award stages of the acquisition process—the activities that take place before the government "signs on the dotted line" to buy a product or service. Those areas are:
The ultimate goal is to improve how government learns about and chooses what it buys—in other words, to make government a more informed, more effective consumer.
We are looking for ideas to make federal acquisition more open, transparent, and collaborative. What does that mean?
We believe that making the process more open, transparent and collaborative will make government more likely to end up with the right item at the right price.Close Window
Gov 2.0 seems to be taking off this year. However, it will crash and burn if we (as government employees) do not get our agencies to participate. Fortunately, the White House and GSA are already behind the movement. Now it's our turn to act.
Here are some ideas to getting your agency to open up to Web 2.0 technologies in general and Gov 2.0 in particular.
Talk about it. This is the most important thing you can do; simply bring awareness of the idea to people in your office. But don't talk about it to the point that people will block it out. That doesn't do any good.
Build a Reputation. If you can develop a reputation in the office as a technology guru, you will be more credible. And credibility is the currency of trust for implementing Web/Gov 2.0.
Appeal to Co-workers' Self-Interest. Figure out some of the annoying problems in your office and try to find free web tools that can help solve these problems. Test out these ideas and talk about how they can improve co-workers lives. If you can make their lives easier, they're more likely to adopt these technologies.
Admit to an Agenda. Yes, that's right. Your agenda is to make their lives easier, and by extension, your life becomes easier. That is the entire purpose of technology, and it often is forgotten.
Test Things Yourself. Try out these technologies. Does your office have a communications problem? Maybe Yammer could help. Want to find resources that make your life easier? Diigo can help (plus it may not be blocked since few Feds know about it; just don't publish classified info). Find out what does and doesn't work before asking people to spend their time testing them out.
Build a Team. Chances are you're not the only person in your office geeky and/or excited enough to try out these technologies. This step may take some time, but it will be worth it. Your team can serve as a test bed for new ideas. You can gather actual results and data you can take to people for a final step.
Develop an Agency Web/Gov 2.0 Policy. From what I've seen, most agencies haven't taken this step yet. This allows your team and you to set the agenda. This is a significant advantage. Use IBM's social media policy as an example since it is widely accepted as a standard bearer. Also, make sure the policy allows the adoption of future, and not just present, technologies. This will open the door for Web 3.0 (i.e. Semantic Web) tech that is just starting to show up.
Keep at It. Perhaps your first attempt failed. That's okay. Just keep at it. Persistence will pay off.