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Archive for the ‘books’ Category

04.17.2012 DorobekINSIDER: Can Ping Pong helps you innovate?; Making budget transparency easy; the 411 on online training

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On Today’s DorobekINSIDER for Tuesday April 17, 2012:

  • The science behind innovation — and how showering, napping and ping pong fit into the process. Really…ping pong makes people more creative. You’ll learn how with a new book called Imagine: How Creativity Works. (We even talk about the bathrooms at Pixar.)
  • Are there new ways to look at how government formulates budget — including making them more transparent? We’ll break them down with Matthew Hall from Open Plans.
  • The GSA conference spending scandal has put training in jeopardy. So how do you train your people and still come in under budget. Advice from Steve Ressler the Founder of GovLoop.

The Space Shuttle — Discovery, mated to a specially modified Boeing 747, made her way to the Smithsonian’s 

Air and Space Museum this morning — landing at Washington’s Dulles International Airport and the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center. But before it landed the shuttle made a swing past the National Mall.

Here is some footage from our own GovLoop team!

The EIGHT stories that impact your life your government world…

  1. Former GSA Administrator Martha Johnson has apologized for the lavish spending at the 2010 Western Regions Conference. Johnson told House lawmakers at a hearing on Capitol Hill that she regrets rewarding conference organizer Jeffrey Neely with a bonus. The Wall Street Journal says Neely who was also at the hearing declined to make a statement citing his fifth amendment rights.
  2. The Defense Department says there might be more military personnel involved in misconduct before President Obama’s trip to Colombia. Five additional Defense Department employees were seen on a video carousing with the 11 secret service agents at the center of the probe. The Washington Post says 11 Secret Service agents have already been placed on leave amid allegations they entertained prostitutes, potentially one of the most serious lapses at the organization in years.
  3. The time it takes to retire is dwindling. The Office of Personnel Management has put in extra effort to fix its long-standing pension processing backlog. OPM says they owe their success to process improvements. Federal Times says OPM’s Director John Berry outlined the new strategy last January that called for a combination of increased staffing, streamlined processes, improved information technology and better cooperation with other agencies. So far this year the agency has reduced the backlog by more than 14%.
  4. The Justice Department has known for years that flawed forensic work might have led to the convictions of potentially innocent people nationwide.  But the Washington Post says prosecutors failed to notify defendants or their attorneys even in many cases they knew were troubled. The DOJ started reviewing cases in the 1990s after reports of sloppy work by examiners at the FBI lab. But the officials only reviewed a small portion of the cases. The Justice Department claims they’ve met their legal and constitutional obligations when they learned of specific errors, that they alerted prosecutors and were not required to inform defendants directly.
  5. The GSA is boosting its mileage reimbursement rate. Now federal commuters who use their own cars to drive to work can expense an additional 4.5 cents per mile. GovExec says the new law takes effect today.
  6. Reported military sexual assaults are on the rise. Government Executive says the Defense Department saw a total of 3,192 reported incidents, a 1 percent increase over fiscal 2010. In the last year the DoD has implemented new policies designed to combat sexual assaults, including expanded legal assistance and expedited transfers for victims, as well as a longer retention of forensic evidence and investigative reports, according to the Defense report.
  7. Air Force Times, “Tech. sgts. take heat after receiving medals,” by Jeff Schogol: “Within the span of a week, two female airmen who were awarded the Bronze Star have been targeted by cyber bullies who claim they do not deserve their awards, generating a wider discussion of who should be eligible for the Bronze Star Medal and whether the Air Force issues too many of the medals.”
  8. DARPA is looking for more power-efficient computing systems. The Pentagon’s research arm says existing computer systems don’t process data quickly enough for military operations. Next Gov reports intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems today have senSors that collect far more information than can be processed in real time.

— Emily Jarvis

Written by jarvisdorobek

April 17, 2012 at 12:42 PM

03.07.2012 DorobekINSIDER: Leading the Recovery Board; our information diet; and bosses trading places

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Today on GovLoop INsights’ DorobekINSIDER:

  • There is a new chief watchdog at the Recovery, Accountability and Transparency Board. It’s a visible job. She takes over from Earl Devaney. And she has a tough task leading an organization that could sunset is a little over a year. We’ll introduce you to Kathleen Tighe later in the program.
  • You watch what you eat, but do you watch what you read? and watch? and listen to, for that matter? and click on? We’ll talk about OUR role in defining the meadia culture out there… we’re going to talk to Clay Johnson, author of the book The Information Diet.
  • And have you seen the TV show Undercover Boss? We’ll talk to a professor about the advantages of walking in somebody else’s shoes.

After the break… the stories that impact your life for Wednesday March 7th, 2012… your government world in 120-seconds…

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Written by cdorobek

March 7, 2012 at 1:27 PM

Hear the DorobekINSIDER Book Club: Little Bets

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Little BetsFor the past several years, I have been hosting something I call the DorobekINSIDER Book Club — it is something like the Oprah Book Club but more wonky. Essentially, we select a book that is tied to my favorite words: It helps the government do its job better. We invite the author… and then we invite a fed — or feds — to talk about how that book impacts how you do your job.

And, in fact, the books we have selected are usually chosen by government people themselves.

I’ve been very lucky — I’ve hosted some great authors and remarkable books… and we’ve had amazon people from the government world join in the discussion. (Previous meetings are in the liner notes below.)

This week, we held the latest ‘meeting’ of the book club — the book is by Peter SimsLittle Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries.

I used to hold the book club discussions on the radio. But now, we get to do them the way book clubs are supposed to be held: In person. I got to lead a discussion at the 2012 Adobe Government Assembly hosted by 1105 Media. And it was a great discussion. We had Peter Sims and we were joined by Dave McClure, the Associate Administrator of GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, who is one of the brightest people I know.

I mentioned earlier, “Little Bets” was recommended by Peter Levin, the chief technology officer at the Department of Veterans Affairs — an agency which has historically been bogged down in projects that were over budget and way beyond the schedule. And Levin has tried to institute “lay-ups” to get some momentum within the agency. Levin and VA CIO Roger Baker have made remarkable progress, by all accounts.

The book club conversation is wide ranging — and we talk about challenges that agencies face.

But we’d love to get your thoughts. We’ve created a page on GovLoop, and I hope you’ll add your thoughts and ideas about the conversation… and I hope you’ll read the book and suggest ideas for how to make little bets work within your agency or organization… what works… and what doesn’t? How do you make ‘little bets’ actually happen?

Meanwhile… the full discussion…

After the break, the liner notes:

 

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Written by cdorobek

February 9, 2012 at 5:49 PM

The DorobekINSIDER Book Club selection: Little Bets by Peter Sims

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Little BetsIt’s back — the DorobekINSIDER Book Club… and this time, it’s more interactive.

For newcomers… think of the DorobekINSIDER Book Club as a wonky version of the Oprah book club. And now, we actually get to have a book club ‘meeting.’

The specifics:

When: Wednesday, February 8 at the 2012 Adobe Government Assembly  at 9a
Where: The National Press Club in Washington, DC 

The Book: Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries  by Peter Sims.

Participating in the discussion will be the author, Peter Sims… and Dave McClure, the Associate Administrator of GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, who is one of the brightest people I know … and, of course, you can participate too.

Why this book…

Credit for selecting this book goes to Peter Levin, the chief technology officer at the Department of Veterans Affairs. I was lucky to be part of a team interviewing Levin for the winter 2012 publication  by the CGI Institute for Collaborative Government. During that interview, Levin spoke about the book — and the ideas behind it:

Levin arrived at the VA in June 2009 with a strategy for establishing leadership early on. In close cooperation with the secretary, deputy secretary, chief of staff and CIO, Levin decided to go after the “layups.” Inspired by the strategy Peter Sims outlines in his book “Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries,” Levin wanted to build momentum for transformational change by systematically taking small, exploratory steps and being open to new ideas along the way.

“He wrote down my playbook,” Levin said of Sims. “It’s exactly what I did and still do — not try to boil the ocean or solve every problem in the first two weeks.”

Levin said his first layup was not in an area his bosses expected. “For personal reasons, I was keenly focused on suicide prevention,” Levin said, referring to the fact that he lost many family members to the Holocaust and knows that survivors and their descendants have high rates of suicide, divorce and mental illness. “For me, that was a place where a morally transcendent problem met personal interest, met the opportunity to actually do something meaningful and worthwhile quickly.”

He proposed augmenting the Veterans Crisis Line with an anonymous online chat service for veterans who didn’t feel comfortable talking on the telephone. One month later, the service was a reality.

“With Roger Baker’s help, we got that stood up quickly, and today we have had more than 3,000 interventions,” Levin said. “It’s hard to say how many would have led to tragedy, but I bet it’s more than one. In my faith tradition, if you save one, you save the world.”

In subsequent discussions with government executives, there is broad consensus: Government is not great at making little bets. Federal CIO Steve VanRoekel speaking at CES Government last month told the story about when he was at the FCC and he wanted to create a way to measure wireless speeds. The response — a decidely non-little bet approach — was the often selected approach: Build something from the ground up… at a projected cost of $5 million. In the end, the FCC built an app — for a fraction of the cost. (Hear VanRoekel’s mobile government speech… or just hear the story about the FCC app.) And, frankly, former federal CIO Vivek Kundra told a similar story about when the Transportation Security Administration was looking to create a blog and a member of the CIO organization said it would cost $50,000 to create a blogging platform. TSA went on to use Google’s free Blogger blog platform… and the TSA blog is one of the most read across government.

Frankly, I’m not sure this kind of story is unique to government, but… There are a host of reasons the government is leery about taking chances.

Some of the topics we will discuss:

  • What is a ‘little bet’ anyway?
  • How does one decide what a little bet is?
  • What are the obstacles to little betting?
  • The government has to solve big problems. Are little bets really the answer?
  • What is you bet — and lose?
We’ll also talk to him about his recently launched projected, Fuse Corps, which he describes as a “social venture that will pair some of America’s top entrepreneurial leaders with governors, mayors and community leaders across America to drive meaningful social change.”

During our conversation, I hope to delve into some of those challenges — and some of the solutions.

If you haven’t read the book yet, you can at least read the introduction [PDF] from Peter Sims Web site.

I will post audio of the conversation later this week… and I’ll also open a discussion on GovLoop where I hope you will share your thoughts.

I look forward to your thoughts.

Previous DorobekINSIDER  Book Club “meetings”:

* The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything by Stephen M.R. Covey. Read more and find a link to the book club session here.
* Payback: Reaping the Rewards of Innovation by James P. Andrew, Harold L. Sirkin, and John Butman. Read more and hear the book club “meeting” with Andrew and Federal CTO Aneesh Chopra find a link to the book club session here.
* Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink. Read more and hear the book club “meeting” here.
* What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis. Read more and find a link to the book club session here.
* Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World by Don Tapscott. Read more and find a link to the book club session here.
* Fired Up or Burned Out: How to reignite your team’s passion, creativity, and productivity by Michael Lee Stallard. Read more and hear the book club meeting here.
* The New Social Learning: A Guide to Transforming Organizations Through Social Media by Tony Bingham and Marcia  Conner. Read more and hear the book club “meeting.”

Written by cdorobek

February 8, 2012 at 12:08 AM

Posted in books, innovation

DorobekINSIDER: GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week: Finding needles in haystacks — and the changing government market

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GovLoop InsightsHey there — I’m Christopher Dorobek — the DorobekINSIDER — and welcome to the GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week with Chris Dorobek.

Each week, our goal is to where each week, our goal is to find an issue — a person — an idea — then helped define the past 7-days… and we work to find an issue that will also will have an impact on the days, weeks and months ahead. And, as always, we focus on six words: helping you do your job better.

This week, we’ve talked about the challenges of dealing with big data. We’re going to tell you about a company that is going just that — for the intelligence agencies… for the Recovery Board… it’s a story of the Silicon Valley coming to Washington successfully, and it may also be an indication of the direction of government contracting. We’ll talk about the company Palantir.

And as we head into the weekend, we’ll have your weekend reading list… weekends are a time to rejuvenate — but also some time to take a step back and ponder. And we’ll have some reading that may guide you as you work be innovative… to think outside of the box. We’ll have information about the DorobekINSIDER Book Club — it’s coming up on Tuesday Wednesday at the Adobe Government Assembly… and we’ll have details.

But… after the break… we start off as we do every week with a look at the week that was for government… for the first week of February 2012…

 

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Written by cdorobek

February 4, 2012 at 10:34 AM

DorobekINSIDER: GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week: What governance means to you

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GovLoop InsightsHey there — I’m Christopher Dorobek — the DorobekINSIDER — and welcome to the GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week with Chris Dorobek.

Each week, our goal is to where each week, our goal is to find an issue — a person — an idea — then helped define the past 7-days… and we work to find an issue that will also will have an impact on the days, weeks and months ahead. And, as always, we focus on six words: helping you do your job better.

Transforming American GoveranceThis week, we’re going to talk about governing — and the relationship between governing and what you do. We’re going to talk to one of the editors of a new book — just out this week — titled Transforming American Governance: Rebooting the Public Square. We’ll also have some weekend reads — he weekends are a good time to rejuvenate — but also some time to take a step back and ponder. And we’ll have some reading that may guide you as you work to think outside of the box. We’ll take a look at the impact drones have on the military… and on how you can actually do more with less. All of that just ahead…

But after the break… we will start off as we do every week with a look at the week that was for the third week of January 2012…

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Written by cdorobek

January 25, 2012 at 2:52 PM

DorobekINSIDER: The Federal News Radio Book Club selection: The New Social Learning

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It’s back — the Federal News Radio Book Club. In fact, we haven’t had a “meeting” since April when we discussed Daniel Pink’s book Drive.

For newcomers… Think of the Federal News Radio Book Club as a wonky version of the Oprah book club. Unlike most book clubs, we don’t meet in a physical location. We’ll hold the book club “meeting” right on the air on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s DorobekINSIDER and/or online at DorobekINSIDER.com. And during the hour, we will be joined by the authors of the book… and by a few other people who can spur the discussion… and we’ll take questions and comments about the book.

There are several ways you can participate. There is a Federal News Radio Book Club section on GovLoop, where I’d love to get your thoughts… and a Facebook page… you can Tweet about the book…

All of that being said, let me give you the details…

When: Friday, November 12, 2010 at 3p ET
Where: On Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s DorobekINSIDER… and online at DorobekINSIDER.com.

The New Social Learning

The New Social Learning

And the book: The New Social Learning: A Guide to Transforming Organizations Through Social Media by Tony Bingham and Marcia  Conner. Bingham [Twitter] is the is President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD). Conner Bingham [Twitter] is a partner at Altimeter Group, which creates strategies for collaborative culture, social business, and workplace learning with enterprise leaders and technology providers who serve them.

Why this book?

Regular readers and listeners probably know that I am fascinated by what I call collaborative tools. (I am not a fan of the term “social media” — and I think it is more then just a question of semantics.) I continue to believe that these tools are fundamentally altering the way we have done business along a whole array of areas — government being one of them for a number of reasons.

This book fascinated me because… the authors spoke to government… and it focuses on doing business better. But in the end, it is about change — and change management. We all talk about how difficult it is to change government. (I actually think government gets a bad rap — it is difficult to change large organizations, and federal agencies are large organizations.)

One of my favorite pull quotes from the book so far:

Training often gives solutions to problems already solved. Collaboration addresses challenges no one has overcome before.

Love that.

I have to say up front that I have not finished the book yet — my Kindle tells me I’m 39 percent of the way through. (There are no page numbers in an e-book — because you can change the font size.)

That being said, I get the gist — and there is enough there already to make it worth some time.

This book is specifically not about marketing using social networking… or building your brand. It is about training — and learning, where there is so much evolution going on.

Here is how the authors describe the focus of the book:

Many employers see it as simply a workplace distraction. But social media has the potential to revolutionize workplace learning. People have always learned best from one another, and social media enables this to happen, unrestricted by physical location and in extraordinarily creative ways.

Again, I will share my thoughts about the book as I’m reading it. I hope you will too… here… on GovLoop… on Facebook… or Tweet using #DIbookclub. We’ll use all of the comments as part of our discussion on Nov. 12.

I have also pulled reviews and further reading together here.

I look forward to your thoughts.

Previous Federal News Radio Book Club “meetings”:
* The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything by Stephen M.R. Covey. Read more and find a link to the book club session here.
* What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis. Read more and find a link to the book club session here.
* Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World by Don Tapscott. Read more and find a link to the book club session here.
* Fired Up or Burned Out: How to reignite your team’s passion, creativity, and productivity by Michael Lee Stallard. Read more and hear the book club meeting here.
* Payback: Reaping the Rewards of Innovation by James P. Andrew, Harold L. Sirkin, and John Butman. Read more and hear the book club “meeting” with Andrew and Federal CTO Aneesh Chopra find a link to the book club session here.
* Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink. Read more and hear the book club “meeting” here.