I love new co-op students. They come in with fresh ideas, inquisitive minds and interesting perspectives on the public service.                               Roadblock signs

After only two weeks on the job, our most recent student remarked that he is starting to understand the “pace you folks need to work at” in order to get things done.

Clearly diplomacy is already something he has learned. After some prodding it became clear he has already met one of the government’s more familiar entities, the roadblock!

That’s life in the government, get used to it.  Sadly that is ‘advice’ given to freely and without thought of the possible effects that will have, especially on those just starting out or considering a career in the public service. 

Don’t sell them folks.  I have a little more faith in what we can do for it is not the ‘government’ that puts these roadblocks in place, it is us, the public servants.

And so, over coffee, my simple comments to him – if there’s a road being blocked, find a way:

  • Can you move it on your own? Take a bit of time and energy and do it.
  • Will it take more than you have? Find someone to help you – maybe work is already underway that will make it easier.
  • A little more substantial? Get a group willing and make it happen.
  • And the kicker – no matter how many people have try, is it going to require more?   Find the person(s) responsible for putting, or keeping it there and work it out. Perhaps it is no longer needed or does not need to be as obstructive? Can the size be downgraded from a roadblock to a speedbump?

A simple breakdown but does it really need to be more complex?   I was happy our discussion then led to the importance and value of collaboration, community and tools that can always help.   

But, at the heart of it is the recognition that each of us can and should do what we can to make the road ahead smooth and better for those yet to come.

Of course a smart question followed, wouldn’t it be easier to build a new road?  Perhaps, but it that always better?

Onward.

M.

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New approaches for Web management in the Government

I’m off to the Web 2.o Expo in San Francisco today. I’ve been trying to get to this for a few years and it seems like timing is right with thoughts of government web agencies dancing in my head.

The landscape today enables interactions that were not possible even two years ago….The web as a platform has shown us a new direction. Now is the time to answer the call and make its principles real in your organization, whether you’re a Fortune 500 company or a brand new startup. These are the times when the most interesting things will happen.
– Web 2.0 Expo

Indeed these are the times. While it shouldn’t be perceived as a revolution, it will take something of a counter culture building within and across departments for the government to embrace the vast possibilities available to better engage with citizens. Improving services, clarifying or developing policy, and communicating initiatives and successes, it’s never been easier.   (more…)

Change management, Web governance and execution.

New designs, multilingual content, social media, usability, program creation and funding, a governance strategy, an execution strategy and team, users vs management…it’s not surprising managing a Web presence in in the Government is exciting, ok challenging.

In talking with a colleague yesterday I was thrilled to hear a major Web initiative in town has a change management officer as part of the team coordinating activities and communication. This was also the case with a university Web team I met recently in Sweden.

Transformation, renewal and new approaches abound in departments these days. Not just using, but having the Web lead all communication efforts is indeed innovative for us and would require major change on numerous fronts. From funding, organization, HR planning and classification, accountability and reporting, to pushing for light, flexible and adaptive (dare I say open source) platforms and tools – we are ripe for change and need to manage that carefully

While the focus in this slideshare is on Innovation Management, much applies.

I’d love to hear about any Web teams or organizations that have moved the management from the Web from the sides of desks to the forefront under higher leadership.

Change is indeed upon us, and dare I say we should manage this one quickly and responsibly.

M.