Focusing on six words: Helping government do its job better

DorobekInsider: TSA’s insights into Government 2.0

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I had the opportunity this morning to go to a forum on Government 2.0 titled Evolution of the Web: How Social Networking is Changing the Way Government Does Business sponsored by the Industry Advisory Council and held at the Canadian Embassy.

Of course, there are scores of definitions for Government 2.0, let alone Web 2.0. That being said, I think most people think of Government 2.0 as essentially is the concept of applying Web 2.0 concepts to government. And there are all sorts of definitions of Web 2.0 out there. The Dorobek definition is that Web 2.0 is the theory that all of us are smarter then any one of us. It is the believe that there is a wisdom of the crowds. And Web 2.0 is inherently collaborative.

You can see that through everything from wikis — the best case, of course, is the Wikipedia, the online wiki encyclopedia that lets anybody go in and change content. But there are also blogs and a host of other applications.

The were two super-stars at this morning’s session. One was Lynn Dean, who is the manager of strategic and Web communications in the Transportation Security Agency’s Office of Strategic Communicatiosn and Public Affairs. TSA has been one of the leaders in implementing Web 2.0 applications. Last year, TSA Administrator Kip Hawley said he wanted to start making this real. And TSA’s first application was a tool called the TSA Idea Factory. (Read more about the Idea Factory from FCW here.)

The idea factory is essentially an online suggestion box — but, because it is done electronically, it has some additional functionality from a paper-based suggestion box. Like a typical suggestion box, anybody — yes, anybody — can propose an idea. But those ideas get rated — people can go in and vote on how good the idea is. And there are a number of ideas that have actually been implemented — about two dozen ideas.

One of the challenges — and it is a challenge with many of these Web 2.0 systems — was getting people to use the Idea Factory, Dean said. TSA dealt with that challenge in a few ways. First off, senior leaders got involved with the suggestions. It helps that the idea came from TSA Administrator Kip Hawley. But Dean said that TSA’s director of security is often on the Idea Factory because it lets him stay in touch with the officers at airports around the country.

The other way they dealt with that issue is by getting the idea suggestors involved in implementing their ideas — even having them come back to HQ. It allows them to see a different part of how the organization operates.

Later, I’ll post Dean’s insights about blogging and TSA’s blog, which has been much more successful then I ever expected.

Written by cdorobek

October 2, 2008 at 6:40 PM

Posted in DHS, Government 2.0

Tagged with ,

One Response

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  1. […] Last week, I posted about TSA’s Idea Factory, which is a wonderful example. But TSA has another really excellent example: it’s public blog. […]

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