With  Gov2.0 LA days away where open gov, cloud computing, gov2gov collaboration and more will be discussed, I find myself increasingly, and ironically speaking and championing more and more Web 1.0. 

Yes, it would seem that despite my Gov 2.0 attachments and engagements I am a Web 1.0 champion.   Now, to profess, it is the 2.0 world that has my heart but my mind continues to play tricks and reminds me that the 1.0 foundation, albeit less ‘sexy’ now, is one that has often been left unfinished.

In 1999, the Government of Canada launched its “Government On-line” (GOL) initiative supported by over $800 million over a six-year period.  The intention was to create a:

…service improvement initiative that will provide citizens and businesses with on-line access to the most commonly used Government of Canada information and transactional services via the Internet and in the official language of their choice.”

This is Web 1.0 in its simplest of  iterations.   I was a working in government web communications at this time.  There were no experts, and if there were, finding them was no easy task.  It was every person (for web teams were a rarity) for him or herself.  Funding was in place; portals were developed; Common Look and Feel for government websites was born.

Canada was regarded as a leader in government online communications, accessibility, and web services.  Those of us in government departments working in web communications were also grappling with how to use these new tools to communicate with our citizens.  Sounds familiar doesn’t it?  

Where were we?  Over 6 years ago we were provided with clear, simple guidelines and checklists to guide Web evaluation, performance and client satisfaction among other things.  Business planning, UX, public opinion research, analytics and evaluation, translation frameworks, CMS workflow, editorial planning and strategies – have we properly laid and nurtured these foundations?   I believe many of us toiling away in the 2.0 world in government are experiencing frustrations not solely because of the new tools and associated fears, but because many of us are trying to build on a shaky, unfinished foundational layer.

Regardless of what is new, old, hot, traditional or proven, we cannot forge ahead without ensuring our starting point and the path behind us remain clear and maintained.  I’m an avid user, fan and champion of the web 2.0 tools and, more importantly, the vast potential they possess to be game-changers in how we govern, communicate, influence and effect change.  

Resource, maintain, and improve upon 1.0….this foundation is vital to the 2.0, 3.0 and citizen engagement movements. 

And, if you’re not feeling my pain, then pass along the elixir!

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.

Much being processed today on several fronts – all interconnected. Within 15 min this morning I read about the Liberals once again missing the mark on the Web front only to be interrupted by a television interview about the new and interactive features of the Afghanistan Website designed to better explain and connect the mission to Canadians.

After topping off my coffee I topped off the morning reading Peter Smith’s great post on Government Web Presences. And so, I went from a shoulder shrug, a sigh, to a pat on the back! I wholeheartedly agree with Peter’s comments in the various approaches typically taken when developing Gov Web sites. Slowly but surely, they have evolve,  for the better in one way or another. For years I dealt with managing a presence structured based on internal org charts, senior management’s likes or dislikes, or their colleagues perceived successes.

Peter nailed it – value measurement! Why? I feel I can now justify almost all work my team does, activities we undertake, resources I request based on that beloved measurement.  By leveraging numerous tools and approaches; usability, statistics, client surveys, SEO etc., a more systematic and client driven Web presence is resulting.  You did well Nomad!

Fortunately, measurement, unlike social media and other terms is something that speaks to senior management.

Next challenge, having a senior manager dedicated to online communications so the song and dance can end!  More to come on that….

M.