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Focusing on six words: Helping government do its job better

03.06.2012: DorobekINSIDER: The TAG Challenge and helping government be entrepreneurial

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So… day two of GovLoop Insight’s DorobekINSIDER. Thanks so much for being here.

Here is what we have for you today…

* We all remember tag — we all played it as kids. But what if the technologies of the Internet and the networked world could be brought to the game of tag. The TAG Challenge is going to be testing that concept later this month. And this challenge is being made possible by a State Department grant. You’ll learn about this innovative new program.

** You face big problems. How would you like to be able to tap the best minds to help solve those problems — or at least move the ball down the field. We’ll tell you about Fuse Corps…. we’re going to talk to Peter Sims, the author of the DorobekINSIDER Book Club book, Little Bets… he’s the man behind this program and we’ll get details…

** AND… feds, you have a TSP account? We’re going to have the DorobekINSIDER exit interview with the man who has kept you informed about what was going on with your Thrift Savings Plan account… he has just retired. We’ll talk to Tom Trabucco.

After the break… some updates on yesterday’s program… and the stories that impact your life for Tuesday 6 March 2012… the government world in 120-seconds…

* The Navy and Marine Corp are taking a stand against alcoholism. They’re launching a new program to breathalyze every sailor boarding a ship. The Navy says irresponsible drinking is the common denominator in a host of personnel problems from drunk driving to domestic violence. Military.com says the alcohol campaign is part of a sweeping initiative to improve the health and readiness of Naval personnel. The breathalyzers should be standard on all ships by the end of the year.

* With budget cuts you’re being asked to do more with less…and that’s exactly what a new approach to passenger screening is doing for the Transportation Security Administration — they’ve already saved roughly 200 million dollars. They’re doing it by expanding their Precheck program. The Precheck allows frequent fliers and other passengers to move through an expedited screening process. GovExec says, the TSA will also open up the Precheck process to members of the military who have valid common access cards by the end of this month.

* A former FDA chemist is headed to prison years after pleading guilty to insider trading. Cheng Yi Liang used confidential information about how drugs were fairing in the FDA approval process to play the stock market. All told, Liang racked up $4-million in profits. The Washington Post says, the government says it hopes his 5 year sentence will make others think twice.

* NASA’s been hacked….and not just once. The space agency says last year alone they were hacked 13 times. NASA says the cyber crooks stole employee credentials and gained access to mission-critical projects. Reuters says NASA only spends $58 million of its $1.5 billion annual IT budget on cybersecurity.

* The Department of Veterans Affairs has terminated a $103 million contract awarded to develop software vital to an integrated electronic health record system that will serve both VA and the Defense Department. NextGov’s Bob Brewin reports that VA had awarded the contract to to ASM Research in January. Industry sources told Nextgov that VA was concerned about potential organizational conflicts of interest and violations of federal contracting law, due to the fact that one or more ASM subcontractors had inside, nonpublic information about the procurement when it was put out for bid. VA is turning to the other bidders on that contract, NextGov reports.

* And it’s iPad day. Apple is expected to unveil the iPad 3 today. The iPad has really been revolutionary — and the New York Times today talks about whether the tablet era may be the beginning of the end for PCs. And yes, there are government uses. CNet reports that the Vancouver, Washington City Council uses iPads for their council documents — and they have cut paper usage by 40 percent.

And on GovLoop, we’re talking innovative ideas to deal with cities facing budget cuts and outdated technologies. GovLoop is teaming up with Code for America to talk about the fundamental shift in the way our cities operate. Join us on Tuesday at 2:00 EST for a live chat as we discuss how cities around America are overcoming today’s technology challenges…and don’t worry if you can’t make the live chat we will have it archived for you on GovLoop.com.

Links for the show:

TAG Challenge* TAG Challenge

Joshua deLara is a Project Organizer at the TAG Challenge. Share your thoughts: GovLoop: The TAG Challenge: Using social media to solve real-world problems

TheNextWeb.com: The US Government is testing how social media can be used to track terrorists

ZDNet: U.S. government sponsors crowdsourcing game to catch international ‘crooks’

Wired’s Danger Room: U.S. Wants You to Hunt Fugitives With Twitter

DARPA Network Challenge

DorobekINSIDER: DARPA Network Challenge winner discusses lessons learned

* Fuse Corps

Peter Sims — author of the book Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries… and one of the key people behind Fuse Corps. On GovLoop: Is the marriage of government and entrepreneurs to solve specific problems one that could work? 

Peter Sims blog: Annoucing Fuse Corps: a bold new approach to social innovation

TechCrunch: Fuse Corps Will Pair Entrepreneurs With Government, Hopes To Achieve Large-Scale Social Innovation

Hear the DorobekINSIDER Book Club discussion about Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries

* DorobekINSIDER exit interview: Thomas Trabucco

the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, the people who run your Thrift Savings Plan.

* DorobekINSIDER liner notes:

One of the things we hope to do is spur discussion about the challenges you’re facing — and, of course, we focus on my favorite six words: Help government do it’s job better. And yes, we are learning as we go along. I got a l bunch of messages yesterday asking if we are going to have an e-mail newsletter that pulls together the content. As I say, we are learning — and I got enough requests, we are talking about that. GovLoop itself has a daily e-mail and our show will be included in that. Sign up here.

And it’s GovLoop, so we’re seeking your ideas. And I didn’t get to talk about this yesterday, but Politico has a great story about the Obama administration’s open government initiative — essentially, an assessment of how things have gone. And the story reads something like a GAO report — progress has been made but more remains to be done. My assessment is that the Obama administration has failed in one key area — and that is reaching out to you. You know more about what is going on — and what is possible — then anybody else… and we have yet to tap that potential. We’d love to get your thoughts about the open government initiative.

And if you missed our program yesterday, we discussed leadership with Linda Cureton, the author of The Leadership Muse… and she is the CIO at NASA. She described leadership as “Leadership is getting people to do something they don’t want to do and making them feel good about doing it.” We’re asking you… how do you define leadership?

Yesterday, we also talked about the Defense Department doing more with less… and sequestration… What does that mean? Sound off...

Just a few other stories we are watching…

There is a story in Education Week today about teacher evaluations… You may have heard that New York is making its test score ratings for teachers — identifying each of them by name.

And I just want to read a bit of the story from Education Week

Value-Added Evaluation Hurts Teaching

Here’s the hype: New York City’s “worst teacher” was recently singled out and so labeled by the New York Post after the city’s education department released value-added test-score ratings to the media for thousands of city teachers, identifying each by name.
The tabloid treatment didn’t stop there. Reporters chased down teacher Pascale Mauclair, the subject of the “worst teacher” slam, bombarding her with questions about her lack of skill and commitment. They even went to her father’s home and told him his daughter was among the worst teachers in the city.

Now the facts: Mauclair is an experienced and much-admired English-as-a-second-language teacher. She works with new immigrant students who do not yet speak English at one of the city’s strongest elementary schools. Her school, PS 11, received an A from the city’s rating system and is led by one of the city’s most respected principals, Anna Efkarpides, who declares Mauclair an excellent teacher. She adds: I would put my own kids in her class.

I’m not sure what the lessons are there, but it sure seems like there is something we can learn.

One other story I found fascinating… Mashable talks about the keywords that Homeland Security is scanning on Facebook and Twitter.

Next time you write about an “infection,” cooking “pork,” sitting at the “airport” or “subway,” or even mention “social media,” know there’s a chance the Department of Homeland Security will scan the tweet or Facebookcomment.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) just released DHS internal documents about the surveillance of social media and the information collected daily. EPIC gained access to the documents with a lawsuit, pushing the Freedom of Information Act.
The documents included hundreds of keywords that the government tracks.
The Department of Homeland Security initiative started in February 2011. The department aimed to use social media to stay in-the-know about breaking news as it’s happening. Tweets mentioning “attack” or “shooting” could, for instance, alert officials disturbances to national security right away.

But Richard Hartman is the COO for OhMyGov, writes in The Hill that DHS scanning public information isn’t Big Brother; it’s good government.

That does it for us today.

You can find more information about today’s program — and we’re always looking for your comments — DorobekINSIDER.com.

Tomorrow, when does a government agency sunset? Not that often, right? Tomorrow, we’ll talk to the person leading an organization that may not be here 18 months from now — talk about leadership challenges. That… and more… tomorrow.

Written by cdorobek

March 6, 2012 at 1:17 PM

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