During the last week I presented and run a panel on Open Government, and I had several client conversations with US federal, state and local agencies, as well a few Canadian federal and provincial ones.
Here are a few highlights:
- The session on open government was not as well attended as others in the government track on Sunday (such as mine on cloud or Jerry Mechling’s on iPad).
- The panel on Tuesday (see previous post) revealed very little uptake and demonstrable business impact.
- A one-on-one with a client from a large federal agency revealed how they failed to engage constituents (response was abysmal) and they struggle now to justify further effort on such initiatives.
- Another one-on-one with a client from another federal agency that I met last year showed that he cannot get any support from executive management and that communications and public affairs want to retain ownership of anything around social media, effectively blocking any other initiative.
- Almost none of the clients I met is looking at social media as additional tools for individual employees to get their job done.
- In a few cases I have found a worrying confusion between cloud initiatives and social media ones, as if the former were a precondition for the latter
- The CTO from a vendor organization who had attended the O’Reilly’s Gov 2.0 Summit in Washington DC reported that attendance had considerably shrunk from last year.
I found some of the above a bit frustrating, as I am a firm believer in the potential of government 2.0. However, as I’ve said many times, the perspective needs to shift from the organization to the individual, and from communications and public affairs, to program areas.
For Gartner clients, here are two research notes that may be useful:
- Why HR Is More Important Than Communication to Lead Social Media Use in Government
- Gartner Open Government Maturity Model