Focusing on six words: Helping government do its job better

DorobekInsider: EPA ahead in govt 2.0 — again… this time it’s radon

with 8 comments

Editor’s note: This is the first post on EPA’s radon video program. You can see other runner up videos here… and my correction to this post here.

The Environmental Protection Agency has really been at the forefront of testing out government 2.0 initiatives. I am a huge fan of EPA CIO Molly O’Neill, who is one of the best and most innovative IT leaders out there. But O’Neill has help — EPA’s Deputy Administrator Marcus Peacock is one of the most forward looking senior leaders I’ve seen in government. And I think EPA is a wonderful model for precisely how to try these government 2.0 initiatives — you don’t jump into the deep end of the pool. You experiment. You empower the people who are excited by it and that excitement is infectious throughout the organization.

EPA, of course, has a unique challenge because they have to collaborate with so many people — within EPA, with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, with other government agencies, with environmental groups, with communities concerned about their particular environmental question. They need to be transparent.

They also depend on data from many different sources — state and local governments, other agencies, the private sector…

So the government 2.0 tools seem to be a great way of reaching out to all of these different organizations. (Read about EPA’s very inovative initiative dealing with Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest. FCW’s story here… and the white paper that EPA wrote up about the project can be found here.

Well, EPA has another government 2.0 coup — this time, an initiative focusing on on radon. (EPA’s radon page here.)

The challenge: Educate a whole new generation about the dangers or radon.

So rather then just creating their own public service announcement, EPA featured a contest where people created content using sites like YouTube.

No shock here: It was a tough sell within the agency. I haven’t yet spoken to the brains behind this idea, Jeremy Ames of EPA’s Indoor Environments Division. But I have no doubt that there were concerns about giving up control of the message.

But by just about any measure, it has been an enormous success. The project was done on a shoestring budget — and got people involved. And, perhaps you will think about radon — maybe at least visit the EPA radon page — — so you really know what it is?

Here is the winning video:

Ames also created a social network where government, community, and citizens discuss radon. Find that at (My favorite headline on there right now: What happens in Las Vegas will not stay in Las Vegas.)

We’re working on getting Ames on Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris. I’ll let you know when we get it nailed down.

Editor’s note: This is the first post on EPA’s radon video program. You can see other runner up videos here… and my correction to this post here.

Written by cdorobek

October 3, 2008 at 8:36 AM

Posted in Government 2.0

Tagged with , ,

8 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. […] a comment » Earlier, I told you about EPA’s wonderfully simple yet wonderfully innovative radon initiative. Rather then just having the EPA go out and make a public service announcement, they let users do […]

  2. Thanks for highlighting the contest Chris! We were very happy with the results, so hopefully more web 2.0 adventures to come.

    Thanks also for mentioning This site is actually sponsored by the Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors, with close collaboration from EPA and the radon industry (AARST). It really was a group effort, an extension of our joint campaign to double our results on radon within 5 year.

    Jeremy Ames

    October 6, 2008 at 12:05 AM

  3. […] Ames of EPA’s Indoor Environments Division, who came up with the video contest, noted in the comments section of that post that EPA did not come up with collaboration site Thanks also for mentioning […]

  4. […] out to folks. (Don’t know what radon is? EPA has info here.) I’ve mentioned the radon video program here… and here… and here… Add one more to this […]

  5. So I was sitting next to another Deputy from another Cabinet agency yesterday and they say, “Yeah, this stuff like ‘twittering’ is neat, but it doesn’t add up to much in the long run.”

    Why, oh, why is the potential of these tools so hard for some people to see?

    Marcus Peacock

    October 7, 2008 at 6:34 PM

  6. […] EPA ahead in govt 2.0 — again… this time it’s radon [Editor’s note: We had team who came up with this idea on Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris this past week. You can find a link to that interview here.] […]

  7. […] Ames is with EPA’s Indoor Environments Division, who came up with the fantastic Web 2.0 idea of having people create videos about radon for EPA. It was a fantastic idea — simple, yet so […]

  8. […] the winning video here… view the runners up here… and hear EPA’s Ames and Tom Kelly talk about it on […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: