Focusing on six words: Helping government do its job better

HHS’s asks for help — and gets more than 100 responses

with 4 comments

We told you earlier that the Department of Health and Human Service’s Web site posted a very simple question on its Web site — HHS is looking to rework the site and asked for help. And so HHS asked the simple question: “Tell Us What You Think: We are reviewing this site. What would you most like to change or fix?”

A very simple — but very powerful way of tapping into the wisdom of us.

HHS has received more than 100 responses. But HHS has even taken it to the next step — posting the suggestions online so people can see the questions that have been asked. I’ve always thought that is a very powerful step because it spurs other people — it gets other people thinking about areas that they may not have noticed or may not have paid attention to. Again, this is a demonstration of Web 2.0 — these tools that tap into the theory that all of us are smarter then each of us individually. And they allow agencies to collaborate — they tap into the concept that information is power, but, more importantly, information is more powerful when it is shared.

You can see see the list of suggestions here… and they are wide ranging.

Here is one example:

Don’t sugar coat the stats. Tell it like it is, currently 68% mortality rate. The American people are tired of being lied to and just want the truth. Get the word out with radio/TV spots. Get ALL the medical community on board. Streamline the layout of this page and update the information to tell people to stock up with several weeks of food/water at a minimum in case our wonderful “Just in time” systems crash (which you know they will). We have several states that really have no clue whats going on. If this event happens and is half as bad as what I expect, lots of our local and state .gov people wont have a clue and guess who pays for this situation, we the local people. Secretary Leavitt is correct in that this would be like 10000 Katrina’s happening at the same time all over the US, Don’t expect help your on your own.

The only think that I might add is some feature where people could suggest how valuable other people think they are, but… it takes a certain element humility to put people’s critiques out there for everybody to see, but it seems that it is a simple and powerful step to sharing information.

Written by cdorobek

February 20, 2009 at 6:34 PM

4 Responses

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  1. What I love most about this approach is how simple it is. The technology that used to get this feedback is obviously rudimentary, but they got some great feedback and didn’t have to spend months setting up a feedback system. They just put something basic out there and immediately engaged the public.

    It’s interesting to see the mix of feedback (some on content, some on site structure). This is a great example of a “just do it” approach to citizen engagement and continuous improvement. I bet they could have spent 1,000 more hours making the feedback system more robust and gotten only slightly better input.

    Scott Burns

    February 21, 2009 at 12:31 PM

  2. […] HHS’s asks for help – And gets more than 100 responses […]

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  4. […] HHS’s asks for help — and gets more than 100 responses […]

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