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03.12.2012: DorobekINSIDER: New media matures – and changes the VA; how to take responsibility; and having good conflicts

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The start of our second week… thanks for being here.

GovLoop InsightsAnd there was some significant news on Friday — a new nominee to be the Obama administration’s chief technology officer — Todd Park. Park has been serving as the chief technology officer at the Department of Health and Human Services. He is an awesome guy… and he has done some remarkable things. We’ll chat about that more later… And HHS has also named Frank Baitman as the new chief information officer at the HHS. Baitman has served most recently at FDA and SSA. That post has been filled in an acting capacity for some time.

And did you order an iPad HD? Well, if not… Apple’s cupboards are bare, for the moment. Apple’s good marketing aside, it mostly means you have to wait a bit… like a few days. No need to panic.

We have a great show for you today…

  • Remember when everybody was talking about NEW media — you needed a new media person to change how you get information out to the public? Well, that term is becoming passe. But new media — whatever you want to call it — it is more that just messaging. It has really changed the very nature of how organizations work and operate. And we’re going to talk to the person who has led new media at the Department of Veterans Affairs about their challenges in 2012…
  • Accountability — we’re always talking about accountability in government, right? As if there isn’t enough accountability… but sometimes people don’t feel really responsible for the agency’s goals and mission. We’re going to talk to a professor who has studied this subject — and he’s written a new book… Stepping Up: How Taking Responsibility Changes Everything. We’ll talk to him about responsibility.
  • Ever have a big of a fight with somebody at work? Nothing physical, but… is there a way to have happy conflicts? Seem too good to be true? We’ll talk to an expert about how you can turn a negative into a positive.

All that ahead… but after the break, we start off with the stories that impact your life for Monday 12 March, 2012… your government world in 120-seconds…

  • As we mentioned at the top, President Obama has nominated Todd Park as the next federal chief technology officer. He will replace Aneesh Chopra, who stepped down last month. For the last three years Park has served as the CTO at the Department of Health and Human Services.  At HHS Park helped create, the first website to provide consumers with a comprehensive list of public and private health insurance plans available across the county. They plans are organized by zip code in a single, easy-to-use tool. Frank Baitman started as the new chief information officer at HHS last month.
  • Police arrested a man in connection with sending dangerous envelopes to members of Congress. The Atlantic Wire reports, a 39-year-old man from Portland, Oregon, has been charged with sending envelopes containing threatening letters and white powder to members of Congress. Just last month the man sent roughly 100 letters to Congressman including House Speaker John Boehner. The letters warn recipients that there is a “10 percent chance you have just been exposed to a lethal pathogen.” The Associated Press says so far all the letters have come back negative for any dangerous substances.
  • It could be another year of pay freezes if Republican Senator Pat Roberts has his way. The Kansas Senator has attached an amendment to the highway bill that would extend the pay freeze to December 2013. Government Executive says the Roberts amendment is taking a lot of heat from the Federal unions.
  • There is less competition in government contracting. Despite the administration’s push for more competition…new government suppliers fell by 14 percent last year. The Washington Post says, contract awards for fiscal 2011 went to about 29,800 companies that hadn’t done business with the government in seven years — that’s down almost 5,000 companies from the year before. The Post says federal budget cuts might be part of the problem, but the drop could end up putting more strain on agency resources because without competition prices could skyrocket.
  • Did you participate in last week’s Telework Week? Half of the General Service Administration’s 12,800 employee did. GSA Administrator Martha Johnson says the week was a roaring success. GSA wants to be the government’s model agency for embracing 21st century workplace flexibilities. But she tells Government Executive that in order to be successful you have to be organized and prepared…like not forgetting your power cord and learning proper etiquette for conference calls.
  • The government is having trouble keeping up with Freedom of Information Act requests. The Associated Press conducted an analysis of federal data and found that federal agencies did better last year trying to fulfill FOIA requests, but they still fell behind. That was due mostly to requests for immigration records. The government released all — or portions — of information requests at about the same rate as the previous two years, AP reports.
  • And on GovLoop…were talking about un-dressing for success. Many organizations are throwing out the stuffy dress code in exchange for a more open and lenient workplace. What do you think? Should suits and ties be a thing of the past? Head over to our homepage and chime in. No flip flops at work!

‘New media’ matures – but its ability to change organizations hasn’t

Brandon Friedman (@BrandonF) is the Director of Online Communication – a job formerly know as the director of new media. Its a job that was created just for him in 2009 and has grown exponentially in the last three years. He told me how he got started at the VA.

GovLoop: Connecting to 22 million Veterans one click at a time…how the VA’s new media strategy could help your agency

Department of Veterans Affairs’ blog: VAntge Point

Friedman’s book: The War I Always Wanted: The Illusion of Glory and the Reality of War


Taking responsibility changes everything

John Izzo is the author of Stepping Up: How Taking Responsibility Changes Everything.

Accountability — we’re always talking about accountability in government, right? As if there isn’t enough accountability… but sometimes people don’t feel really responsible for the agency’s goals and mission. John Izzo has taken time to study this issue — he is the author of the new book — Stepping Up: How Taking Responsibility Changes Everything. He says that stepping up is necessary. He told me why he was compelled to write a book on responsibility.

GovLoop: Are You Afraid To Step Up And Take Responsibility?

CIO magazine: Want Your Employees To Do More? Give Them Less

Mentioned in our discussion with Izzo: DorobekINSIDER Book Club discussing Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink

Jim Elliott is a principal at J F Elliott & Associates.

No one loves conflict. But sometimes…especially in the workplace, conflict is necessary. But you can make dealing with conflicts EASIER and more effective for both parties. Jim Elliott is a principal at J F Elliott & Associates. He says its hard to have a nice conflict…but not impossible.

On GovLoop: Have a nice conflict

Book: Have a Nice Conflict: How to Find Success and Satisfaction in the Most Unlikely Places


As always… a few closing items before we go…

And I wanted to go back to Todd Park’s nomination as the federal Chief Technology Officer… I’m pulling together more information about Todd Park… you’ll be able to find it online at DorobekINSIDER. He really is one of the more innovative people — and he really has developed a passion for the challenges facing government. And he’s proven to be remarkably agile — he doesn’t look to fix all of government, but he looks for those Little Bets that we talked about as part of the DorobekINSIDER Book Club… he just keeps moving forward… and he just keeps trying new things. Congratulations to Todd Park.

Meanwhile, Todd Park was at the South-by-Southwest tech fest. Politico reports he was talking about start-ups. At SXSW, Todd Park talks startups. Park, of course, before coming to government, was the co-founder of two successful health information technology companies.

And on the subject of South-by-Southwest, Motley Fool has its assessment of Four Big Themes We’re Tracking at South By Southwest. Among them…

  • social media is everywhere… in almost every session…
  • they also say there are a lot of start-ups out there, but there are some fakers too.
  • And they say cloud is the new computing.

Finally… we all lost an hour this weekend — why in the world do we still do this? Huffington Post quotes an economist who says it actually costs us money… and drive safely because there are more accidents on the monday after the time change… Can we finally stop this clock switching madness?

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER on Tuesday…

That does it for us today.

You can find more information about today’s program — and we’re always looking for your comments — and GovLoop Insights…

I’m Christopher Dorobek… Thanks for being here. Go out and do good work.
And we’ll see you online… DorobekINSIDER.comf

Written by cdorobek

March 12, 2012 at 1:19 PM

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