Tag Archives: leadership

Government 2.0: The State of the Meme

Meme – An idea or pattern of thought that “replicates” like a virus by being passed along from one thinker to another

As an idea or pattern of thought government 2.0 (gov 2.0) is still being defined and debated. To some it is merely an extension of Web 2.0, to others it is the serious work of transparency and greater citizen involvement through open data.

Let’s dig into this meme…

Gov 2.0 Summit and Expo

Wow, what an event this was. Tim O’Reilly and his leadership team put on quite a show. I was in attendance on a press badge and was fortunate enough to view the events in the crowd and on the inside.

The event signaled a shock to the Washington DC government crowd. For a long time these beltway folks had been toiling away under the radar before an unsupportive administration. Now, they are in position to make some major moves in the federal sphere.

On the same level of shock, Silicon Valley and the O’Reilly team faced some hard facts about the beltway. Their can-do attitude and forceful energy stepped on one too many toes. And, I think it safe to say turned many off because of the government inefficiencies and roadblocks in the way of innovation and reform.

I saw a little east coast, west coast rivalry pop-up. Fortunately, the show went on and many from around the country attended the event, had a blast, and completely missed out on the kerfuffles.

For an interesting review on the event check out Amy Senger’s ‘The Gov 2.0 Showdown

Celebrity Status

Gov 2.0 has yet to make it big. A google news search shows that only 222 articles mention the term. Few large media outlets are talking about the movement. It has yet to penetrate the consciousness of the average person and more importantly the middle manager.

A google blog search reveals over 40,000 hits. Apparently there is some viral conversations taking place with many thinkers opining on the topic.

The Definition

Is it about personal brands, twitter, and facebook. Or, as Tim O’Reilly says its about government as a platform. Maybe, its about Enterprise 2.0 as Professor Andy McAfee and Andrea Baker have been talking about.

We have yet to come to a solid agreement about the definition. In fact, much of the discussion revolves around each blogger stating their own definition or throwing stones at another’s.

It does appear that gov 2.0 is infiltrating every level of government. With each office incorporating social media, cloud computing, and open API’s into their job buckets. Which leaves some remaining tough questions about openness, transparency, and the role of government in all of this.

Leadership

In an age of personal brands it appears that everyone is a leader in the space of government 2.0. Everyone has done everything and is an expert in all. Just a few years of experience and a blog post published on a prominent website, make you a star.

Sarcasm aside government 2.0 is hard work. It takes community building, relationships, coding, networking, promotion, and more. The most striking leaders in this space are those performing nearly all of those roles. Which means they are often hidden from popular view but deeply influential in their spheres of work.

This hidden work combined with the lack of celebrity status has left a clear opening for profiteers. Many are hoping to be the first to break the story and claim success. A challenge to ethical underpinnings of this new community.

Community

In my opinion the single largest effect of Tim O’Reilly’s move into the gov 2.0 world is to bring all of this hard work to a broader audience. Personally, I feel like I am now connected to every state government, city government, regional federal office, all in addition to the existing Washington DC offices, which are legion.

Beyond that are hundreds of NGO’s on both sides of the aisle and in the middle are pushing agendas, uncovering scandals, and playing with data.

The community encompasses so many folks that it is going to be tough to wrangle all of them together.

The Future

Is very bright. We appear to have at least three more years of enlightened tech policy coming out of the white house. Which filters down to every level of public and private work. Big contracts and big corporations are starting to take notice and follow the money.

The recession too is providing an opportunity for gov 2.0. The realization of improved efficiency and cost savings are helping to overcome transient cultural barriers. I’ve even seen stimulus dollars used for gov 2.0 work (blackberries for Baltimore PD).

Behind the scenes the back channels and ego battles are just as interesting. Players are being challenged, camps are forming, and feelings are being hurt. The traditional way of doing business is being challenged with women asserting their rights in tech. Average folks who normally have no voice are able to trumpet their issues across new communication mediums to make their voice heard and responded too.

I look forward to more rapid growth, another gov 2.0 event, and ever more kerfuffles. I hope the progress and reform continues. I hope the west coast can help break the stranglehold the major defense companies have on government work. I hope that our community overcomes its own ego and looks to the common good.

This piece comes as a follow on to Andrew McAfee’s, Enterprise 2.0: The State of the Meme, written over 3 years ago in June 2006

Feminism and Passive Sexism

A political leader (from Greek “polis”) is an individual who is involved in influencing public decision making.

That’s me. I can’t help it. I was born this way. Believe me, too, I have hated it in myself.

Still it has influenced everything I’ve done in my life. Up to this point I have been very silent about this. Only those closest to me were aware. Now, I’m ready to turn it on. I’m starting here.

Starting with my first stance. I’m making a stand, rather obvious one, for womens rights. Women have acheived a lot already but the game is not over.

Passive Sexism

First thing that happens when u suppress a movement like sexism is that it goes underground. It becomes backroom chatter, silent understandings, and hidden oppression. It becomes veiled in other causes (separate but equal) and is harder to identify.

You can’t fool a politician though, that’s our game. I recognize it and I will tell you, you can count on that.

I pledge to fight passive sexism.

Public Image

Ever been in a school? If so you understand what kids look up to and what they mimick. They will be the first to repeat the curse word back to you and copy your worst qualities.

Same thing is true in US society and culture. We don’t understand the true reality of conference panel picking or managment meetings. We understand public image and what you say.

It really is a dual challenge of walking the walk and telling people you are walking the walk. Can’t just be fair and open minded (walk the walk) you also have to openly state your open mind.

Until you do that you sit next to all the sexists that women deal with on a daily basis.

This is not about playing politics or crafting an image. It is about clearly distancing yourself from the sexists.

Otherwise, you leave it up to us to form our own opinions.

The Theory of Mind

“Theory of mind is that thing that a two-year-old lacks, which makes her think that covering her eyes means you can’t see her”

Anil Dash, December 2007

The mind is a powerful force but it is also a secluded force. It is all by itself and can never really ‘touch’ another mind. That’s why empathy is so important in our world. It is something we inherently lack and need to work at.

When it comes to sexism it is just as bad as racism. One can never really understand how it feels to be oppressed until you are. Then you take it seriously. Then you understand how important it is to make a stand and do whatever you can to help.

That is the point of the theory of mind. Its very hard to understand and emphathize with another mind. What you can do is listen to those around you. Notice when they are telling you something. You may not understand it but it will always come accross with passion, hurt, emotions, or a claim that it’s the right thing to do.

That is what I am doing. I’m hearing and seeing all this in my life right now. I’m also hearing a lot of defensive arguements and laissez faire attitudes.

As the leader that I think I am it is my duty to stand up and stake my claim. I believe I am seeing sexism. I believe that chips will always fall as luck wants, but a person can do the right thing in the meantime.

I want to see a better world, one without sexism. Please join with me and take this step.