Radicalize Your Suggestion Box

While many government organizations are still struggling with the applicability of social media tools to their mission, there’s one area for engagement and improvement that jumps right out: bringing collaboration to the traditional suggestion box.
What are some of the ways that agencies use a suggestion box? What are the benefits and risks of taking the review process from an insular committee to all stakeholders?
Computers have already helped us move beyond the simple wooden box and slip of paper to ideas like online sourcing of budget suggestions and process reforms from citizens and employees.
Taking that process to a whole new level, Web 2.0 tools like UserVoice and IdeaScale open up the suggestion box to internal and/or external stakeholders, enabling robust vetting and ranking of ideas in an open forum.
Any agency with a broad front-line community or stakeholder group – any agency, really – could use these tools to empower employees and revitalize its mission. I encourage anyone evangelizing Web 2.0 and social media to bring these tools to top-level decision makers.
Departments and governments already using this kind of collaboration include the TSA and City of Santa Cruz. What would you like to see?
~ Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and host of Government 2.0 Radio.
Flickr photo by drewsaunders


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What Comes Next?

An interesting presentation caught my eye this week, and it’s well worth sharing. It’s titled 2015, the web is dead, and if you can ignore a few typos, it’s a powerful look at where infotech is headed – decentralized, mobile, integrated. It also ties in with a point that Deloitte analyst Bill Eggers made on Sunday’s Gov 2.0 Radio podcast: the pace of growth in technology is simply not slowing, creating a period of rapid social change previously unseen.
Imagine taking out your mobile and pointing it at a building down the block and seeing a tenants’ list and key individuals in those organizations with their photos, profiles and recent network updates. Take it further, and you’ve got facial recognition and mobile Web in your glasses (or even in an implant). If you’re in sales, you’ll be pulling info from the cloud on people you meet at a conference. If you’re a law enforcement officer, you’ll be checking warrants from behind the sunglasses.
It’s coming, and fast.

~ Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and host of the Gov 2.0 Radio podcast.

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“The Stargate Trap”: From Politics to Implementation

In a new book that applies systems thinking to complex government initiatives, “If We Can Put a Man on the Moon … Getting Big Things Done in Government,” authors Bill Eggers and John O’Leary describe the moment that a public initiative translates from design to reality – the moment of legislative passage – in scifi terms, as the Stargate. In Chapter 3, “The Stargate Trap” they describe what can happen at that moment:
“The best that can be said of the Stargate Trap is that is sometimes kills bills that deserve to die. More often, the damaging distortion effects on a policy proposal are profoundly negative. Sometimes a bill sits out there and gets picked apart like a wounded animal by opponents, eventually being killed. Sometimes a bill gets loaded with so many goodies and special exceptions to gain the support needed for passage that the final bill becomes unrecognizable from the original idea. Or perhaps the bill is rammed through will little debate. None of these routes through the Stargate enhances democracy.”
This is powerful book because it traces the “big idea” from the political to the bureaucratic, providing myriad U.S. and international examples of both failed and successful processes. But it also confirms many of the fears I have about government process, writ large in today’s California water and national health care initiatives.
I’ll be blogging more about the ideas in this book in the days and weeks to come. Happily, Man on the Moon’s important look at government process is just as readable as today’s business bestsellers – welcome and refreshing in the arena of public policy. It also combats process traps, including the dangers at the Stargate, with action-oriented “Field Guide” sections for success in democratic reforms.
Earlier tonight, Gov 2.0 Radio interviewed Eggers and O’Leary. You can check out that podcast here.

~ Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and host of the Gov 2.0 Radio podcast.

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Gov 2.0 Radio: Bill Eggers and John O’Leary

I hope you’ll join us Sunday night for a very special edition of the Gov 2.0 Radio podcast, as we host a conversation with Bill Eggers and John O’Leary, authors of the new reform treatise “If We Can Put a Man on the Moon: Getting Big Things Done in Government.”
Eggers in 2005 chronicled the rise of innovative e-gov projects and the potential for tech-enabled reform in “Government 2.0,” a work of research well ahead of the curve. In “Man on the Moon,” Eggers and O’Leary apply process thinking to the sticky business of managing complex public initiatives.
Gov 2.0 Radio is live Sundays at 9 p.m. EST on BlogTalkRadio.

~ Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and host of the Gov 2.0 Radio podcast.

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Gov 2.0: Mission, Tools, Metrics, Teach (The Four Laws of Levy)

I got thinking again this week about one of my favorite Gov 2.0 practitioners, the EPA’s Jeffrey Levy.
Levy is important not just because he’s one of the nicest folks in Gov 2.0, which he is, but because he’s making real strides in creating road maps for integration of social media into the practice of government. One of his contribution is the short mantra, “Mission! Tools! Metrics! Teach!”
You can read Levy’s thoughts on these four points at his blog, Government 2.0 Beta. Whatever your agency or charge, these four points are great to build flesh around. While everybody is hot for Facebook and Twitter, picking tools without looking at mission is recipe for short-lived success.
Are you a small town or local agency? Perhaps a Ning network is what you’re looking for, or a targeted Twitter outreach strategy using something like LocaFollow. Looking for collaboration in a field of practice? GovLoop groups might hold the key. Creating documents or strategy with a far-flung team? Maybe you want PBWorks, WetPaint or MixedInk.
Metrics will also be specific to your mission. I’ll take ten team members working effectively on a multi-pronged outreach strategy over 500 Facebook fans any day. Also consider the New York Times, which recently created Twitter lists for breaking news stories, then dismantled them when the real-time version of the stories quieted down.
Finally, as the Social Media Club’s mission statement goes, “If you get it, share it.” Follow the lead of folks like Levy, who created a simple blog for sharing the stories of what works and what doesn’t.
Mission! Tools! Metrics! Teach!

~ Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and host of the Gov 2.0 Radio podcast.

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Building Community at CA Data Camp

Saturday, Citizen Space in San Francisco hosted the first California Data Camp and DataSF App contest. The event was a great mix of journalists, developers and govies, with an unconference and on-site app-building competition. Sponsor Spot.us liveblogged the event. You can also check out short videos from Craig Newmark and GovFreshTV.
I’ve also thrown together a list of active tweeters from the event.
In the morning session, I talked about bringing “Citizen 2.0” (Facebook group here) social media trainings to traditional activists and groups.
CA Data was a powerful event in that it brought together several sectors around common ideals of collaboration and open government.
Social media and Web 2.0 tools are powerful only in pursuit of a mission. Environmental groups, political clubs, Chambers of Commerce, what kind of traditional partners should the wired to share embrace?

~ Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and host of the Gov 2.0 Radio podcast.

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More Gov 2.0 Blogs

Following on my recent 10 Gov 2.0 blogs to track, here are a few more resources:
Recommended by Gwynne Kostin and Sarah Bourne:

http://blogs.gartner.com/andrea_dimaio – Gartner’s Andrea DiMaio

http://candioncontent.blogspot.com/ – Candi on Content

Recommended by Christoph Berendes (whose own Citizen Tools – http://citizentools.netalyst.com/is worth your time):

http://blog.e-democracy.org/ – E-Democracy.org Project Blog (and related http://stevenclift.com)

http://www.worldblu.com/nowblu – WorldBlue (workplace/organizational democracy)

http://internationalbudget.wordpress.com – Open Budgets Blog

Should have been on my first list:

http://govtwit.wordpress.com/ – GovTwit


http://ohmygov.com/ http://dowire.org http://govloop.com http://govfresh.com/ http://governingpeople.com/

~ Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and host of the Gov 2.0 Radio podcast.

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Twitter Lists, Ratios and Follower Counts: Network vs. Broadcast?

Even at this stage in the game, you could probably get five experts in a room and have each describe Twitter differently. Kind of like The Elephant and the Blind Men fable. But with the new lists feature, it’s growing easier to see why and how people people are using this tool.
Two of the main reasons people use Twitter are to broadcast and to network. (Why people follow is similar, either to receive the broadcast, or to network – and probably a combination of both.)
I got to thinking today about the new Lists feature and what the ratio of followers to Lists says about a handle on Twitter. Folks are already blogging on this – here’s one on the “respect ratio.”
I think the ratio has a lot to do with value, and a lot to do with networking vs. broadcasting. Some folks are definitely on Twitter not to aggressively use Twitter, but simply because they are famous and so is Twitter. Others have a tight connection to their followers, because they are really tuned into the tone and culture of the medium.
I also think that these ratios are going to expose again the ridiculousness of the suggested users that Twitter feeds to new members. With a high percentage of Twitter newbies not sticking around, the high follower counts for suggested users are grossly inflated in terms of their intrinsic value to the community at large.
Enough narrative, on to some numbers:
Erin Kotecki Vest (QueenofSpain) 1/39
Aaron Brazell (Technosailor) 1/26
John P Kavanagh (Jonnerz) 1/696
Robert Scoble (Scobleizer) 1/30
Chris Brogan 1/39
Govwiki 1/32
Jack Dorsey 1/984
Mark Drapeau (Cheeky_Geeky) 1/37
Erica Holt 1/44
Gary Vaynerchuk (Garyvee) 1/421
Scott Horvath (1/24)
Ari Herzog 1/6!
If you’re familiar with many of these names, you may join me in noticing that the ratios seem not to scale. It simply may be impossible to keep a tight network going after 100k followers. Also, Lists are very new so may not have settled out yet as a metric. That said, they also haven’t yet been gamed like follow counts (down with the SUL!). A few more quick observations: Dumping trash followers tightens your network. The founder of Twitter’s ratio looks like that of an MLMer. Even a robot can build a tight network on Twitter.
What are you seeing?
~ Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and host of the Gov 2.0 Radio podcast.



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Making Gov Easy for Citizens and Business

There’s a whole industry around advising commercial sectors about new laws that impact business. And yet, new laws in general get rigorous review before that go into effect. Why not create a list of categories of impact (businesses of 50 or less, businesses that serve food, condo associations, etc.) and invite folks to opt into an e-mail notice or RSS feed of the summary of any new law that regulates how the do business? During the analysis phase for legislation, it would be easy enough to check off these categories, and the tech for piping out notices is inexpensive. Of course, this might serve as a tool for the existing consulting orgs, but that’s OK, too. It would be government lowering the cost of business, and it would also give folks an easy way to monitor the impact of what their representatives are up to.

~ Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and host of the Gov 2.0 Radio podcast.

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10 Gov 2.0 Blogs to Track

Just last summer, “Gov 2.0” was anything but a buzzword, and social media was just coming into its own in the mainstream. This post is to clue you in to some of the great public and private sector bloggers who’ve helped blaze the trail. You probably know most of them, but maybe you’ll find one or two new. In no particular order:

Maxine Teller – MiXT Media

Ari Herzog – AriWriter

Steve Radick – Social Media Strategery

Jefferey Levy – Government 2.0 Beta

Mark Drapeau – Cheeky Fresh

Gwynne Kostin – On Dot-Gov

Andrew Kryzmarzick – Generation Shift

Nick Charney – CPSRenewal

Craig Newmark – CNewmark

Marylin Clark – Hello Happy Pitbulls (a special treat for dog lovers)

Who would you nominate? Who have I missed?

~ Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and host of the Gov 2.0 Radio podcast.

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