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Tapscott on the Obama CTO: It’s about collaboration

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There has been a lot of talk about President-elect Obama’s proposal to create a CTO.



Certainly I have written a number of posts about it — see here… and here… and here… And on Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, we have tried to have a number of people on to talk about the position and why it matters. Among the CJD-favorites… Harvard Business School associate professor Andrew McAfee — read his post on the CTO here and hear him here — and the person who created the Web suggestion box, which is not tied to Team Obama, I might add. (Hear him from here.)

We have added another luminary to the list of people we have spoken to — Don Tapscott, the author of the popular book Wikinomics and his newest book Grown Up Digital. Tapscott has a post on Huffington Post headlined “What Obama’s New CTO Should Do.” And we had him on Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris Monday. You can hear that conversation here.

Among his points, he says that Obama CTO needs to ensure access… it needs to “creating the conditions for a vibrant technology industry”… But the two most interesting to me are “fostering collaboration” and then…

The Web-enabled Transformation of Government and Democracy

We need to use technology to dramatically modernize government and bring it into the digital era. Reinvention of government is an idea whose time has come. One aspect is to improve service to citizens as customers of government. The goal is to identify breakthrough strategies that rethink the core value of key government services, dramatically improve service delivery, reduce costs, and renew administrative processes. Another is to change the role of the citizen as a shareholder in government. We should re-examine the nature of democratic institutions, the role of the private sector, the relationship between the citizen and the state, the future of the nation-state, and new requirements for governance in a global, networked economy.

At a recent meeting of the World Economic Forum, a working group on government recommended digital brainstorm to kickstart Democracy 2.0. Each government leader should create a bold citizen engagement initiative, beginning with a three day citizen jam inviting all citizens to participate in a discussion of an important issue. This will lead to other initiatives to engage citizens in solving important economic crisis, climate change. President Obama should be at the forefront of such efforts. As the first President of the Internet Age he needs to harness the web not just for elections but to govern.

Read Tapscott’s full post here.

After the break… more on Tapscott… his new book Grown Up Digital, and… one thought for the next Federal News Radio Book Club book…

I take some pride in introducing Tapscott to the government. Back at Federal Computer Week, in May 2007, we had Tapscott as they keynote speaker at 1105 GovInfo’s Government Leadership Summit, formerly known at the Government CIO Summit. (Credit where credit is due — the Tapscott find actually goes to Paul McCloskey, who is now the editor of 1105’s Government Health IT publication but at the time worked on content for the Summit. McCloskey, a former FCW editor in chief, is something of a genius… surround yourself with good people and you’ll always do fine — right Mr. Obama?

Anyway, as a result of that Summit — the first government event focusing on Web 2.0 issues — FCW magazine featured an excerpt of Wikinomics and an interview with Tapscott. At the Summit, he got to meet OMB’s Karen Evans, which then was parlayed into a broader discussion of government 2.0…. EPA CIO Molly O’Neill was spurred at EPA (although she’s so good, she would have found a way, but… I am happy to have given her some resources and tools)…

Tapscott is a very smart guy — and, in the end, I am very proud of that Summit in particular.

Meanwhile, I think we may use Tapscott’s new book, Grown Up Digital, as the second Federal News Radio Book Club book. There has been a lot written about this book — The Economist had a piece about it recently… The book is about the generations that are “born digital” — those young people who text, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace… all while doing their homework. (At that Summit, we had a panel of young people talking about how they use technology — and why. I had been to so many conferences where IT executives said, ‘I don’t use this stuff, but my kids do.’ So… we decided to have kids there talking about why they use Facebook more than e-mail. It is always an interesting discussion.)

The reason I’m fascinated by the next generations — they are increasingly the people that are going to be feds. And, given the number of applications to work for Team Obama, I think we’ll be seeing more of these people. So it has impact on the federal workforce.

We’ll have more on that soon when we get more of the pieces nailed down.

Written by cdorobek

December 2, 2008 at 9:03 AM

2 Responses

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  1. […] be talking about the proposed Obama administration CTO, which we’ve been talking about a lot here… here… and here… and […]

  2. […] this week is the continued search for Obama’s government CTO – Don Tapscott explained on Federal News Radio that Obama – the first president of the Internet age – needs to use the Web not just for elections, […]

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