Consider how the world has changed in the last twenty-five to
years, since the work of the Grace Commission, the launching of
the Reform 88 initiative in the Reagan administration, and the
issues of this journal (then called The Bureaucrat). The first
were just being introduced, and personal computers were mostly the
of hobbyists. People came to work at a central office; a major role
of the U.S.
General Services Administration (GSA) was to manage or build the
of federal buildings and offices to house all those workers. Most
were local or within driving distance. Mobile telephones existed
only as car
phones for the well-to-do. Telework was largely unknown. Research
conducted through books and libraries.
Contrast that with the world today and what the information
consulting firm, the Gartner Group, terms Future Worker 2015, as it
describes a new landscape so different from that of the previous
Long distance travel is common. Personal computers and cell phones
ubiquitous. Telework is routineat least in the private sector.
are as likely to be on different continents as in different cities.
reports are built with graphics, sounds, and multimedia that have
within minutes on the Web or through electronic interactions.
In a twenty-first century government, human resources and
policies could be a deciding factor in governments ability to
best workers (regardless of where they live and when
they work) and to fulfill these workers expectations of
the same productivity, multitasking, and mobility tools
in the workplace that theyve grown used to in their
A recent Wall Street Journal special report, Thinking
about Tomorrow, begins as follows:
Lets get this out of the way firstin the next ten
years, no one will travel to work by jet pack or have
robot maids that serve dinner. But technology will continue
to transform the rituals of everyday lifesometimes
in startling ways.
So, technology will continue to bring about major
changes in government and in governance just as it
did in the twentieth century.
The technology landscape for our new president
in 2009limited telework efforts, parallel processing,
data mining/warehousing, business intelligence software,
mobile computing, and so onwill change in his first
term and (potential) second term. In its place, the nations
leaders will encounter new strategic information
and communication technologies that will change government:
Government 2.0, Green IT, distributed cocreation,
ubiquitous bandwidth, virtual space and simulation,
smart environments, and the like.
Technology has enabled revolutionary business
models for government and elevated citizen/customer
expectations. The availability of secure communications
anywhere, anytime (broadband and wireless); the network
phenomenon changing when, where, and how
we collaborate and transact business; and rich and social
media concepts (video anywhere, presence awareness
and instant messaging, podcast, wikis, blogs, shared
bookmarks, etc.) have changed how we experience each
other and transactions.
The conference explored the following three broad
topics, among others, as part of the technology challenge
Managing virtually in a technology-smart organization.
In the past decade, not only has virtual office
technology come of age, but the private sector has
surged ahead in its application. Typically, progress
is driven by such bottom-line considerations
as a reduced capital budget, space or seat costs,
increased customer satisfaction, and improved employee
recruitment, retention, and productivity.
How are government agencies taking advantage
of these technologies to meet similar bottom-line
concerns, cyber-security issues, and other emerging
Continuity planning, telework, and the workplace of the
future. Over the past several decades, the public
sector has slowly increased its use of telework and
other flexible workplace arrangements to respond
to a variety of societal problems, such as metropolitan
area traffic congestion, air pollution, and inadequate
or unaffordable child-care arrangements.
Recently, a more compelling reason for public
agencies to become telework-ready is to ensure
continuity of government operations in the event
of a significant work stoppage. What are agencies
doing to move in this direction, and how can
these efforts be integrated into a larger initiative to
evolve the workplace of the future?
Keeping pace with expanding e-expectations. In recent
years, government agencies have been improving
and expanding electronic governance offerings
from robust, up-to-date Web sites providing
much-needed citizen information to customerfriendly,
one-stop, online service applications. Increasingly,
the challenge for many agencies is not
only to keep up with other organizations that have
raced ahead, but to keep pace with new technologies
and rising expectations among all users:
citizens, the business community, and a younger,
Web-savvy public management workforce.
Governments must now change their business
models from those of the last fifty years to those that
will characterize the twenty-first century and beyond.
Some speakers who contributed to this track offer commentary
on how we are addressing this challenge and
a glimpse at solutions, proven and experimental, across
the governmental landscape:
Dan Mintz and Andrew Krzmarzick look at Government
2.0 and Web 2.0.
Wendell Joice examines telework and COOP.
Steve Ressler discusses keeping pace with
The Emergence of Web 2.0
by Dan Mintz
The simple approach to dealing with management
issues is to assume deficiencies in the people involved:
smarter and better will by themselves overcome systemic
failures. While self-satisfying, this assumption generally
leads to new, sadly similar, failuresnot substantial
Web 2.0 technologies change the rules, but not the
game. Those that take into account the new rules, while
recognizing the resilience of the underlying systemic issues,
will be much more successful in bringing about
desired performance improvements.
That said, let us look again at one of the recent
success stories to make sure we understand why it is
significant, the case of Intellipedia. Quoting Wikipedia,
Intellipedia is an online system for collaborative data
sharing used by the U.S. intelligence community. Intelligence
information sharing, at one time an oxymoron,
implies a significant cultural change.
That culture change was important, but it actually
isnt the real story. The real story is people like Chris
Rasmussen. Ten years ago, someone like Chris would be
known to no one but his friends, and if you know Chris
you would know that would be a select and special
crowd. Today, Chris, otherwise buried deep in a secretive
world, is a public figure, evangelizing the underpinnings
of 2.0 technologies to transform the intelligence
community. His talents, while substantial and valuable,
would have only a small likelihood of bringing the kind
of impact that he desired.
Virtual management allows smart government executives
to reach deep within their organizations and
find talent, regardless where that person sits in the hierarchy.
It allows that talent to become more visible and of
greater value, important to todays generation of millenials.
However, because the overall bureaucratic culture
itself will remain relatively unchanged, uncovering
this talent will require special attentionInternet gardening,
if you willfrom senior management to grow
Avatars and Blogs and Wikis, Oh My!
How Web 2.0 is Transforming
by Andrew Krzmarzick
One year ago, I knew nothing about Web 2.0. I was
a regular reader of a friends blog, posted some information
about myself on Facebook, and considered one
hundred connections on LinkedIn a lofty goal. I had
never downloaded a podcast, much less collaborated
with colleagues on a wiki. Acronyms like RSS or SEO
seemed the exclusive content of conversations among
Then Dr. Jerry Ice, the president and chief executive
officer of my organization, asked me to prepare a
presentation on The New Learner. I had already designed
a workshop related to the four generations in the
workforce, but he was asking me to delve more deeply
into the tools and technology that the next wave of
course participantsmost of whom are public-sector
practitionerswould expect from a learning community
I disclosed this reality to participants in a workshop,
Avatars and Blogs and Wikis, Oh My! at the July conference.
This revelation could have two affects on the audience,
I explained. Either I completely discredited myself,
or I gave them hope that the adoption of these tools
is so easy that even a relative novice can quickly learn to
use them and begin to guide others toward application.
With that preface, we proceeded to explore the
world of Web 2.0 (also known as social media), answering
questions like the following:
What is Web 2.0, and what are its most common
tools like blogs, wikis, podcasts, social virtual networking,
and Second Life?
Which government agencies are using them to
better connect with their constituents?
How can you set up these tools in five minutes
We examined best practice examples at the National
Academy for Public Administrations Collaboration
Project (www.collaborationproject.org), GSAs GovGab
blog (www.blog.usa.gov), and the Great Lakes wiki
(www.greatlakeswiki.org). We also listened to podcasts
at the Pentagon Channel (www.pentagonchannel.mil)
and caught up on news of the universe from NASACast
(www.nasa.gov/multimedia/podcasting), not to mention
a quick peek at the Central Intelligence Agencys
MySpace page. The audiences favorite moment was following
the footsteps and flying with Zedeka Nadezda
(my avatar) in Second Life as he wandered around the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations islands
of Okeanos and Meteora and visited the State of
Missouris virtual recruitment office.
Demystifying Web 2.0
We ended the exploration of each tool by creating
a blog, a wiki, and a podcast in real-timean effort
to demystify what may be perceived as a complicated
process and to demonstrate the relatively low cost of
time and money that may be invested to launch Web
If you know very little about Web 2.0 and wonder
why and how your agency may use these tools to transform
its bureaucracy, be encouraged. Within months, you
can easily join other agencies in using these tools to improve
transparency, accountability, and communication
with the citizens you are called upon to serve. In fact, the
new administration may lead you there sooner than later.
Andrew Krzmarzick is a senior project coordinator at the Graduate
School. He can be reached at Andrew_Krzmarzick@grad.usda.gov.
The Costs and Benefits of Telework
for Continuation of Operations
By Wendell Joice
Allocating resources to continuation of operations
(COOP)or business continuityis like paying insurance
premiums, devoting resources to cover a rare or
never occurring emergency. Obviously, we prefer that
such emergencies are rare and that we are prepared in
case they occur. Appreciating the bottom-line value of
preparedness and the cost-benefit of resources devoted
to COOP, however, can be difficult. The return on this
investment is usually nil. Until the turn of the century,
there hadnt been much incentive to be diligent about
resourcing COOP plans. Since 2000, however, as Tod
Weve had threats of pandemics; major natural
disasters (hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis); and largescale,
man-made crises (terrorist attacks and power grid
blackouts). The public is expecting more from government.
Clearly business continuity (BC) is no longer a
luxury, but rather a necessity in the public sector.
Despite this increased incentive for effective COOP
programs, recent studies by Marsan and GAO have
pointed out major gaps in implementation. As Newcombe
When it comes to spending time and money on
the matter, BC is treated like a second-class citizen in
the public-sector IT world. Funding for BC isnt where
it should be, say a number of experts. While most
organizations have some kind of BC plan in place93
percent, according to a survey by CSO Research Reports
the quality, readiness and comprehensiveness of
those plans is highly questionable.
A key but overlooked remedy for resolving this
COOP cost-benefit dilemma is telework. While telework
is acknowledged as a key tool for COOP program
effectiveness, it also can improve the return on investment
(ROI) for COOP resourcing and generate more
appropriate funding. As pointed out in a 2006 GSA
study, an investment of approximately $16 million over
three years for a basic telework program can, in appropriate
circumstances, be offset with a realization of over
$36 million in benefits over the same three years.
Further, emergency continuity is most effective
when most workers, including the nonteleworkers, are
equipped to telework. With a little creativity, such as
with applications of surplus equipment or personally
owned equipment, nonteleworkers can be teleworkready
for a minimal cost. This readiness can have the
additional benefit of enabling nonteleworkers to avoid
substantial leave usage and maintain the continuity of
their work when they are faced with home issues typically
requiring leave. Clearly, this benefits the business
bottom line as well as the employee.
Currently, due to low telework participation caused
by continuing management resistance to change, federal
agencies are not able to take full advantage of this
cost-benefit opportunity. The key messages for this new
administration are as follows:
Telework does more than facilitate the effectiveness
of COOP programs; it also provides a previously
nonexistent cost benefit for COOP resourcing.
When telework participation is adequate, the ROI
for resources devoted to COOP isnt lost when
there is no emergency event.
Given current economic conditions and its pledge
to reduce government costs, the administration
take aggressive steps regarding resistance to
change. We no longer can afford to allow such resistance
to thwart the mainstreaming and optimal
benefit from cost-beneficial tools such as telework.
Keeping Pace with E-Expectations:
E-Government and Gov 2.0
By Steve Ressler
During the July 2008 conference, I led an inspiring
session on keeping pace with e-expectations.
Joining me for the conversation were Jerry
Brito, Alan Shark, and John Sindelar. Jerry Brito, a
senior research fellow with the regulatory studies
program at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University,
discussed his recent paper Hack, Mash, and Peer:
Crowdsourcing Government Transparency, arguing that
public data are often not on line or are in an unusable
format. John Sindelar, client industry executive at EDS,
discussed his experiences leading the original e-government
initiatives at GSA and OMB. He described the
challenges of getting agencies to collaborate and the real
cost savings these initiatives have brought government.
Alan Shark, executive director at the Public Technology
Institute (PTI), offered insights from his meetings with
hundreds of city and state government CIOs across the
country, describing the greatest challenges CIOs face as
they attempt to manage e-expectations.
During the session, panelists described how e-expectations
were constantly evolving. In the first wave
of e-government around 2002, the government was attempting
to meet e-expectations of moving services on
line. It was attempting to make government services as
simple as buying a book on Amazon.com or selling a
product on eBay. While there is still room for improvement,
panelists said that most of
these online expectations have
been metfrom renewing drivers
licenses to applying for unemployment.
However, e-expectations continue
to evolve. Web 2.0 has brought
a new round of e-expectations
that differs from simply moving
services on line. Web 2.0 provides
a new set of technologies, but also a change to
a culture of participation, openness, and transparency.
Citizens expect transparency and openness from government
agencies. They expect to interact with government
agencies on line and have agencies listen to
their voice. They expect to find government content in
a format they use at Web sites they visit (such as putting
videos on YouTube).
New government employees also have different eexpectations.
They expect access to Web sites such as
Facebook and YouTube at work and do not understand
when they are banned. They expect their agencies to
have internal social networking capabilities, internal online
venues where they can share their ideas, and messaging
capabilities from instant messaging to Yammer.
Conference panelists discussed a number of shining
examples of how government can keep pace with
e-expectations. The U.S. Transportation Security Administration
(TSA) blog Evolution of Security was
described as a model of connecting with citizens, and
TSAs Idea Factory was cited as a great example of
soliciting ideas from employees. The Sunlight Foundation
projects, such as PublicMarkup and Con
gressPedia, were pointed out as examples of involving
citizens to provide input to and oversight of the
political process. GovLoop.com, the social network for
government employees, illustrated how to use social
networking capabilities to connect employees and improve
In conclusion, the panelists noted that government
agencies have a duty to keep pace with the increased
e-expectations of citizens and employees. The
opportunities are there, the technology is available,
and the costs are low. Now is the time for government
agencies to move quickly and rise to the challenge.