A Paper by the Collaboration Project Advisory Panel of the


Enabling  Collaboration 
Three Priorities for the  New Administration 


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Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration

January 2009

One of a series of papers issued by the Collaboration Project Advisory Panel

PANEL* Greg Lashutka, Chair P.K. Agarwal William Eggers Mark Forman John Kamensky Anne Laurent Franklin S. Reeder

*Members of the Panel are also Fellows of the National Academy of Public Administration.

Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration Officers of the Academy J. Christopher Mihm, Chair of the Board Michael C. Rogers, Vice Chair Jennifer L. Dorn, President and Chief Executive Officer Diane M. Disney, Secretary John J. Callahan, Treasurer Authors Frank DiGiammarino, Vice President Lena E. Trudeau, Program Area Director Mark Forman, Fellow of the National Academy John Kamensky, Fellow of the National Academy Daniel A. Munz, Senior Research Associate Collaboration Project Advisory Panel Greg Lashutka, Chair P.K. Agarwal William Eggers Mark Forman John Kamensky Anne Laurent Franklin S. Reeder

The views expressed in this paper are those of the Advisory Panel. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Academy as an institution. National Academy of Public administration 900 7th Street, N.W. Suite 600 Washington, DC 20001-3888 http://www.napawash.org http://www.collaborationproject.org First Published January 2009
This work by the National Academy of Public Administration is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. For more information, see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us.


Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration

Table of Contents
Executive Summary ..................................................................................................................... iv Priority 1: Create an Open IT Environment.............................................................................. 1 Reduce Cost and Enhance Sustainability.................................................................................... 2 Gain Scalability and Build a Flexible Enterprise........................................................................ 4 Stay Relevant to the Citizen........................................................................................................ 5 Priority 2: Treat Data as a National Asset.................................................................................. 6 Ensure Data Interoperability....................................................................................................... 8 Ensure that Authenticity Does Not Depend on Ownership ........................................................ 8 Leverage Knowledge Management Tools for Performance Gains........................................... 10 Priority 3: Foster a Culture of Collaboration .......................................................................... 12 Practice Active Collaboration................................................................................................... 12 Integrate CIOs into the Mission................................................................................................ 14 Resolve Ambiguities in Policy and Law................................................................................... 16 Conclusion ................................................................................................................................... 16 Glossary ....................................................................................................................................... 18 Appendix A: Evolution of Information Technology Policy in Government.......................... 22 Appendix B: Web 2.0 Implementation Challenges.................................................................. 24 Appendix C: Author and Panel Biographies............................................................................ 30


Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration

Executive Summary
The Obama administration is the first to take the reins of government in a truly “wired world”— one in which citizens are connected by technology in complex and powerful ways using the new operating models of the wired world. Today, information can be accessed and shared with unprecedented speed and agility. However, government operates according to an industrial era model that is fundamentally out of step with the needs and expectations of modern citizens. This industrial model emphasizes controlling information more than sharing it and avoiding risk more than fostering innovation. Worst of all, this model uses rigid hierarchies as opposed to collaborative communities of practitioners, to create and implement responses to emerging public needs. In his speech accepting the nomination for the presidency, President Barack Obama summarized this disparity, saying: “we cannot meet 21st-century challenges with a 20th-century bureaucracy.” During his campaign, President Obama spoke frequently of the importance of bringing about change “from the bottom up.” We need a new collaborative model to create a government that is agile, transparent, and responsive enough to bring citizens’ ideas and priorities directly into the process of governance. To this end, President Obama issued a directive in his first full day in office to begin this process.1 We need a new operating model for government. Delivering a significantly better government will require more than just soliciting feedback from citizens or encouraging their collaborative efforts. It will require that government become agile, transparent, and responsive to meet our needs. It will require that government gather ideas from a diverse variety of sources and filter the inputs based on value rather than origin. Already, President Obama has offered a vision of the future that excites and energizes Americans. The task before him now is to build a government with the capacity to act on that vision. Traditionally, public managers have used the term “capacity” to refer narrowly to the question of whether a government agency can do its work: “Do you have the money, and do you have the people?” While these elements remain necessary for successful program execution, they are no longer sufficient. Core to the rise of the “wired world” is that today, we must expand our definition of “capacity” to encompass technology, information and culture. Corresponding to each of these elements are three challenges that currently inhibit the creation of a truly collaborative government: • An Outdated, 20th Century Technology Approach—Today, the most effective modes of information sharing and problem-solving are driven by a flatter, more collaborative organization. To power this organization, the world has moved towards acquiring information technology (IT) as a service, with flexible and adaptable applications and operating models. Today, IT is no longer the “hardened” part of an organization – its main purpose is instead to enable flexibility in the organization. The technical capabilities

Presidential Memorandum, “Transparency and Open Government,” January 21, 2009. <http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/TransparencyandOpenGovernment/>



Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration of the federal government, however, were and remain designed to meet the needs of a structure that is almost entirely hierarchical. Individual agencies continue to own and maintain their own rigid IT environment, complete with hundreds or thousands of unique applications and dedicated infrastructure—along with the burdens of cost, maintenance, and inefficiency that come with it. This model is unsustainable, distracts from the core missions of government, and inhibits collaboration. • An Inability to Relate Data to Information, and Information to Decision Making— Throughout the 20th century, advances in communications enabled us to collect massive amounts of data from a diverse range of sources with unprecedented speed. The challenge posed for managers today is turning that raw data into information, and ensuring that this information informs decision-making. Unfortunately, problems in data interoperability, authenticity and knowledge management prevent government from engaging in this kind of empirical, data-driven decision-making, particularly as it relates to problems that involve multiple offices, agencies, or departments. A Culture that Inhibits Collaboration—Organizations that successfully collaborate provide organizational and structural incentives for innovation through the adoption and continued use of information sharing environments. Today, government lacks these incentives. Bureaucracy is designed to maintain the status quo, and there are strong institutional incentives to value stability over innovation. Moreover, bureaucratic hierarchy, reinforced by outdated policies and laws, artificially separates technology leadership from agency mission performance.

It is the opinion of these authors that the following recommendations will help President Obama’s technology and collaboration advisors2 overcome these challenges: • Create an Open Technology Environment—The new administration must move quickly across the entire federal government to convert IT assets and applications into a utility environment. This approach lowers cost, enhances agility, and frees IT and program organizations alike to focus their resources on innovation and collaboration. Government must develop a modern communications infrastructure at the same time it identifies and invests in a technology environment that allows public servants to focus on solving problems instead of just navigating processes. Treat Data as a National Asset—Government data should not be “owned” by any department, agency or organization. In order to embrace new technologies and empower leaders and citizens, the new administration must establish clear standards for sharing


The designation of responsibility for implementing any new policy always lies directly with the President and those who he authorizes to act on his behalf. However, potential audiences for the analysis and recommendations presented in this document includes the new federal Chief Technology Officer: Chief Performance Officer the President’s Management Council, the Office of Management and Budget, the Office of Science Technology and Policy, the Domestic Policy Council, the National Economic Council, the Chief Information Officers (or equivalent position) of individual departments and agencies, and a host of agencies and organizations concerned specifically with the promulgation of government-wide guidance and standards, such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Archives and Records administration, the General Services administration, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, and others.


Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration data, grapple with evolving notions of data authenticity, and craft new practices for knowledge management. All of these should replace the focus on control of information with a focus on sharing it. • Foster a Culture and Framework of Collaboration—Although government has made great strides in becoming more efficient, its operating model still depends on a hierarchy to do things faster and cheaper, rather than using collaboration to do them better. Revising this model requires leadership that favors collaboration, and organizational roles and policies that facilitate it. The administration must demand that that IT leaders across government act as strategic partners with mission-delivery programs, and revisit and revise a host of laws and policies that inhibit innovation and collaboration.


Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration

Priority 1: Create an Open IT Environment
To support a government that innovates through collaboration, the Obama administration must reform government’s approach to buying and managing IT – including both physical assets and electronic tools. Currently, individual agencies are responsible for maintaining physical IT assets, placing the burdens of cost and maintenance on government and doing so in a way that is fragmented and strategically unmanageable. At a time when limitless bandwidth, disk space, and computing power have allowed most large organizations to do more with less, government continues to maintain individual ownership and management of its assets. While many organizations have integrated applications around a shared services model, government manages applications and data inline with organization hierarchies and silos. This model is quickly becoming unsustainable, in terms of both cost and a lack of scalability. Similarly, the applications that we use to generate and store information were never designed to optimize compatibility. These systems generally reflect an antiquated view of government as a series of disparate organizations and missions, rather than a united sector tasked with solving complex and cross-cutting problems. President Obama has already placed a focus on these types of problems, both in programmatic and organizational terms – installing in the White House, for example, the first-ever Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change to coordinate environmental, energy, climate, transportation and other issues across the federal government. It remains true, however, that the various agencies implicated by this mandate face serious obstacles in sharing information with each other or acting in any kind of real strategic concert. Data and applications are segmented by unique IT constructs that were never designed to be shared or integrated. The government IT environment inhibits aggregating data and synthesizing information across agencies that the new Assistant will need for a comprehensive view of problems and solutions. An open IT environment is needed so key advisors to the president, and those who manage the executive functions of government, can focus on removing stovepipes between agencies, and barriers between government and citizens, rather than simply managing them. Dozens of redundant data bases and applications create confusion for citizens and policy analysts. For years, government departments and agencies have attempted to reduce duplicative spending on IT systems and infrastructure. The 1996 Clinger-Cohen Act tasked them with “developing, maintaining, and facilitating the implementation of a sound and integrated information technology architecture.”3 Today, the ability to purchase and consume IT infrastructure as a utility reshapes this entire conversation. Instead of talking about integrating the various IT architectures of agencies and departments across government, it enables government to own and maintain a single, centralized physical center of computing power, and take advantage of applications that scale across the Federal environment as needed. One need not look too far back in time to trace the beginnings of this revolution. In his 2004 book, Does IT Matter, Nicholas Carr argued that information technology was becoming a utility. He wrote that technology “is beginning an inexorable shift from being an asset that companies

Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996.


Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration own in the form of computers, software, and related components to being a service that they purchase from utility providers.”4 Carr’s prediction has come true, thanks to quantum leaps in three core aspects of computing. First, he processing power of individual computing chips has increased exponentially since the 1970s. Second, disk storage—once a coveted asset—has become so cheap that users of Google’s free e-mail service, Gmail, can watch their account’s allotted storage capacity increase in real time at the service’s website.5 Finally, bandwidth – the amount of information that can be transmitted across a network per unit of time—has increased exponentially. At the beginning of the 1990s, a rate of 56 kilobits per second – approximately fast enough to transmit an average 5MB .mp3 audio file in 1.5 minutes – was commonly the upper limit for consumer-level modems. Today, those same consumers, armed with 54 megabitper-second wireless routers, could transmit about 1,000 files in the same span of time. The upshot of this triple-convergence is that today, it does not matter where data physically resides because processing, storage, and communications can be virtualized. Mass amounts of information can be transmitted and processed so quickly that any piece of data can be anywhere, immediately. This triple-convergence in hardware has in turn created a new model for information processing – one that takes advantage of the ability to shift data and processing activities to a remote center of computing power. In the historical model, government agencies each owned data centers with dozens of applications running on single purpose computers hard-wired into dedicated data bases. The new model for accessing applications or processing capabilities, commonly referred to as “software as a service” (SaaS) has produced applications that live on the Internet, are accessible from anywhere, and scale easily to meet the needs of a diverse workforce. With SaaS, a user brings their data over the Internet to the application, which gets computing power on demand. The most well-known example of this is probably Google Docs, a web-based suite of productivity applications developed by Google to provide the functionality of Microsoft’s Word, Excel, and PowerPoint applications. As a result of models such as SaaS, government employees can now access and rapidly combine their data with other relevant data to solve problems as they arise.

Reduce Cost and Enhance Sustainability
The potential for cost reduction presented by utility computing and SaaS is clear. An article in the Journal of Information Technology and Politics summarizes the possibilities: Overall cost as measured on a capacity-basis is reduced due to consolidation, and capital investment in physical infrastructure is amortized across many customers. Cloud users no longer have to worry about purchasing, configuring, administering, and maintaining their own computing infrastructure, which allows them to focus on their core competencies. This paradigm has also been referred to

4 5

Carr, Nicholas. Does IT Matter? Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation, 2004. As of this writing, every Gmail user is allotted 7284.734071 MB of storage space.


Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration as “utility computing,” in which computing capacity is treated like any other metered utility service—one pays only for what one uses.6 Indeed, the viability of this model for government is quickly being proved at the local level, particularly by Washington, D.C. Chief Technology Officer Vivek Kundra, who has reported “a 90 percent increase in speed to deployment, along with an 80 percent drop in costs through not having infrastructure to manage” after replacing users’ traditional office productivity desktop software with Google Apps software.7 Related to cost control is the question of long-term environmental sustainability. The increased supply of computing power, while driving efficiencies, has been accompanied by a dramatic increase in the demand for computing power. As a result, IT managers who once measured the capacity of their data centers in the number of physical processors or ports are increasingly using a new metric: megawatts. As the demand for computing power has increased, data centers have grown to a size that has begun heavily taxing the nation’s basic electrical grid, as well as our environment. The numbers don’t lie: A single rack of storage enclosures using 6 kW generates as much carbon dioxide as six 1999 Chevy Tahoe SUVs in one year (about 40 tons). Most storage systems, which are composed of dozens if not hundreds of disks that are always on regardless of the need to retrieve data, represent the equivalent of perpetually idling an SUV in the garage in case the owner decides to take a drive.8 As for power usage, Doug Gourlay, Senior Director of Cisco Systems’ Data Solutions Group, tells the story of a day in July 2006 when Cisco’s hometown of Irvine, Calif., reached a high temperature of 114 degrees. According to news accounts, the state’s electricity usage peaked at about 50,270 megawatts – only a few hundred megawatts short of the full capacity of the state’s electrical grid. Doing some back-of-the-envelope math, Gourlay realized that “only a few hundred megawatts” was also a pretty good approximation of the power requirements for four state-of-the-art data centers. In other words, only a few more major high-tech companies could set up shop in California before the state’s entire power grid would be forced into perpetual rolling blackouts. Shortly after this incident, the state of California had a similar realization, and its power providers began giving out rebates to companies that could “virtualize” their data centers – further encouraging the shift in emphasis from computing machinery to computing power.

Grimes, Justin M., Paul T. Jaeger and Jimmy Lin. “Cloud Computing and Information Policy: Computing in a Policy Cloud?” Journal of Information Technology and Politics. Fall 2008. Robinson, Brian. “Gathering Storm: Cloud computing might be the Internet’s greatest feat yet, but will governmentlatch on?” Federal Computer Week. January 12, 2009. <http://fcw.com/articles/2009/01/12/gatheringstorm.aspx> Petrocelli, Robert. “Reducing the Carbon Footprint of Information.” greenBytes. August 8, 2008. <http://www.green-bytes.com/>
8 7



Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration

Gain Scalability and Build a Flexible Enterprise
The most important benefit of an open IT environment is not simply cost reduction, but the coupling of reduced cost with enhanced flexibility. In addition to being costly, managing multiple physical IT assets – not only data centers, but computer stations and physical copies of software – is time-consuming. Utility computing and SaaS allow government employees not just to do with less, but to do more with less – to remove the constraint of working within the limitations of a highly customized single purpose applications, shift critical resources away from the operational and maintenance costs associated with maintaining a unique application, and reallocate resources towards innovation and problem solving using readily available tools. No truly innovative government can maintain a focus exclusively on becoming “lean and mean;” the revolution in IT infrastructure presents an opportunity to redirect precious intellectual capital towards the work of actively improving government, instead of just maintaining it. It does this by providing more efficient use of resources in the form of scalability, which allows the IT organization to maintain control of the infrastructure while avoiding the need to manage operating systems and physical assets.9 In other words, maintaining one distributed copy of software served over a remote, unified physical server is a lot easier than owning a unique data center and maintaining individual copies of a program on individual physical workstations. Consuming computing power and software as utilities does more than lower costs – it lowers opportunity costs. Indeed, this shift to a more proactive role is necessitated by the rise of this very model. As a result, the “I” in CIO may become just “information” and imply a much more important role: rationalizing, securing, and integrating an enterprise’s vital information.10 With the IT organization freed to invest its time in innovation and leadership, the benefits then accrue to employees throughout the organization. Scalable applications, deployed by a thoughtful and engaged CIO and IT organization, benefit all employees: Employees will be provided with a simple and intuitive interface for accessing applications, including legacy applications. All applications will be accessible with a similar “look and feel” in a single integrated environment. The technical details of where the application is running and how it is accessed will be transparent to the employee. Not only should it reduce the time and effort for an employee to learn how to use an application, but it may enable employees to be comfortable in utilizing a much larger number of applications than they traditionally do. 11

Arlitt, Martin, Roger Curry, Cameron Kiddle, Nayden Markatchev, Rob Simmonds, Tingxi Tan, and Bruce Walker. “Facebook Meets the Virtualized Enterprise.” HP Labs. Presented at 12th IEEE International EDOC Conference: Munchen, Germany. July 6, 2008. <http://www.hpl.hp.com/techreports/2008/HPL-2008-72.html>


Forman, Mark. “Changing Role of the CIO.” Intergovernmental Solutions Newsletter. General Services administration Office of Citizen Services and Communications. Spring 2008.

Arlitt, Martin, Roger Curry, Cameron Kiddle, Nayden Markatchev, Rob Simmonds, Tingxi Tan, and Bruce Walker. “Facebook Meets the Virtualized Enterprise.” HP Labs. Presented at 12th IEEE International EDOC Conference: Munchen, Germany. July 6, 2008. <http://www.hpl.hp.com/techreports/2008/HPL-2008-72.html>



Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration Lieutenant Colonel Robert Spalding describes the potential of scalable, cloud-based applications to “smash organizational stovepipes” within the particular context of the United States Air Force and other national security-related organizations in government: Imagine the capability to analyze the data in a global manner for the Federal government. By tracking searches over the enterprise, employees could determine what problems their peers were faced with. Now take this information and combine it with the capability of social networks for bringing people with disparate skills together to solve problems and the potential for the enterprise is revealed.12

Stay Relevant to the Citizen
The cost and managerial benefits of an open IT environment are strong. Equally compelling is the fact that, while these benefits are only beginning to be discovered by government, they are already being leveraged effectively and routinely by citizens. Indeed, the amount of information available on the Internet, and the possibility for aggregation of that data by non-government entities, is enabling citizens to circumvent government and find faster ways to accomplish governmental missions. In November 2008, Google.org – the charitable foundation arm of Google – launched a project aimed at “us[ing] aggregated Google search data to estimate flu activity in your state up to two weeks faster than traditional flu surveillance systems.”13 Google accomplished this by noticing that queries for certain search terms, such as “flu shots,” tended to spike in areas where instances of influenza were on the rise. The results of the initiative, called Google Flu Trends, were remarkable: During the 2007-2008 flu season, an early version of Google Flu Trends was used to share results each week with the Epidemiology and Prevention Branch of the Influenza Division at CDC. Across each of the nine surveillance regions of the United States, we were able to accurately estimate current flu levels one to two weeks faster than published CDC reports. [Emphasis added.]14 The two key ingredients that powered this initiative were: publicly available data; and an organization with the flexibility to invest in finding innovative ways to use it. A government that is devoting significant manpower and budgetary resources to managing an outdated and duplicative IT infrastructure cannot focus on building its this innovative capacity or, more broadly, on delivering services in the Web 2.0 ways citizens have come to expect. Google Flu Trends and initiatives like it should not be seen as a threat, but as an opportunity to contribute government resources to real, grass-roots innovation. It is an opportunity that government will not be able to seize, however, unless it implements an open IT environment, with infrastructure and software architecture that enables government to keep up with citizens.

Spalding III, Lt. Col. Robert. “The Jedi Revolution: Fighting In The Cloud Circa 2035.” Air War College, Air University. Slated for release February 22, 2009. “How does this work?” Google.org. <http://www.google.org/about/flutrends/how.html> December 7, 2008. Ibid.

13 14


Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration

Priority 2: Treat Data as a National Asset
The Internet has enabled users to manage, analyze, visualize, and repurpose data in revolutionary ways. This revolution is accompanied by a dramatic shift in the way we think about information. We have been conditioned to think of data as being connected directly to a source—any given fact or figure may be in a book or from an article or on a website. In the federal environment, data resides in bureaucratic silos and is “owned” by particular agencies. This is contrary to the Internet‘s tendency to aggregate data, collecting information from various sources. Web 2.0 is obviating the question of where data is – it just is. The most interesting example of this phenomenon may be the mashup, a type of web application that combines data from multiple sources into a single tool, generally based on a Google Maps or Google Earth interface, or similar geographical information systems (GIS) platform. Mashups have been used to aggregate data ranging from subway systems to crime statistics, from restaurant reviews to property values. The rise of Web 2.0 has made vast amounts of data available to decision makers and the public. The challenge facing government is connecting disparate data to produce actionable information—and doing it fast. The intelligence community’s nightmare scenario is another terrorist attack after which the critical piece of evidence is found to have been collected, stored, but ignored. Government has made some strides in this area: • The Data Reference Model, a “framework whose primary purpose is to enable information sharing and reuse across the federal government via the standard description and discovery of common data and the promotion of uniform data management practices.”15 The Information Sharing Environment, implemented in response to the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, is an approach implemented by the United States Intelligence Community that “facilitates the sharing of terrorism information” and “leverages existing information sharing policies, business processes, technologies, systems, and promotes a culture of information sharing through increased collaboration.”16 In the field of financial accounting – one in which clear and usable data is of paramount importance–the General Services administration (GSA) has promulgated a Common Governmentwide Accounting Classification (CGAC) structure that “establishes a standard financial structure across all agencies that will be recognized on a governmentwide basis, similar to the way the ATM standard is recognized and used by all banks”


“The Data Reference Model, Version 2.0.” The White House. November 17, 2005. <http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/egov/documents/DRM_2_0_Final.pdf> “ISE Purpose and Vision.” Information Sharing Environment. January 14, 2009. <http://www.ise.gov/pages/vision.html>



Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration and “includes data needed for internal and external reporting and provides flexibility for agency mission-specific needs.”17 New data management policies must permit mass collaboration and enhance our ability to relate data to decision making. Doing this will require: • • • Ensuring data interoperability so that information flows seamlessly within and among agencies, and between government and citizens. Redefining the concept of authenticity to balance government’s role as an authoritative source with an environment that does not inherently distinguish “government data”. Recognizing the importance of knowledge management, and the potential of collaborative tools to revolutionize government’s ability to accrue institutional memory and withstand constant transition.

Surrounding all of these is a need to define when data is a national asset – and make clear that sharing information, not hoarding it, is an imperative of good governance. President Obama has already begun to recognize the need to make openness the default position of the government, issuing guidance on Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) disclosures that substantially revises previous policy: The Freedom of Information Act should be administered with a clear presumption: In the face of doubt, openness prevails. The Government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears… The presumption of disclosure also means that agencies should take affirmative steps to make information public. They should not wait for specific requests from the public. All agencies should use modern technology to inform citizens about what is known and done by their Government. Disclosure should be timely.18 With this statement, President Obama touched on the most important tension surrounding the management of data in the federal government. The model that currently defines data management in government assumes that data is “owned” by individual agencies, and treats the collector of data as its steward. As a result, the decision about whether to share and disseminate data to the public cannot be made with any global consideration of whether disclosure would serve the public interest. Adopting policies that allow data to be seen as a national asset regardless of where and by whom it was collected may be the single most important thing President Obama can do to unify government and enhance opportunities for citizen engagement and participation.


“GSA Announces Common Governmentwide Accounting Classification Structure.” GSA.gov. August 9, 2007. <http://www.gsa.gov/Portal/gsa/ep/contentView.do?contentId=23408&contentType=GSA_BASIC> The White House. “Freedom of Information Act.” January 21, 2009. <http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/FreedomofInformationAct/>



Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration

Ensure Data Interoperability
On the Web, data tends to flow seamlessly simply because most of the great format wars have been won. The most basic types of content (images, audio, video) exist in a finite and easilyaccommodated number of formats. Most open-source productivity suites (like Google Docs and Sun OpenOffice) accept that Microsoft’s Word, Excel, and PowerPoint formats rule. Pioneering applications (like Google Maps and Facebook) have made a common practice of releasing application programming interfaces, or APIs, so that any eager developer can make their own applications that incorporate these tools. In the federal sector, by contrast, organizational importance is often measured by the amount of data or number of IT systems owned by the agency. Coinciding with each system that an agency “owns” is a unique and often proprietary format that an organization has created, yielding a barrier to government’s ability to collaborate through use of SaaS or other Web 2.0 tools. More worrisome than the proliferation of custom data formats, is the challenge of ensuring data interoperability in the face of policy and cultural hurdles. How, for example, can the concept of a data “cloud” survive stringent classification schemes that vary across agencies? Across government, there is tension between the agencies’ desire to “control” data and the collaborative Web’s natural tendency to pull data into “the Internet.” Historically, the agencies’ control has prevailed.

Ensure that Authenticity Does Not Depend on Ownership
What is the federal government’s strategy and responsibility for keeping government data on the Web accurate? One solution may be something like Creative Commons, a tool founded by Stanford Law Professor Lawrence Lessig, that enables the author of creative material to reserve “some rights” while still distributing it freely across the web for reuse under certain, specified conditions.19 Another solution might be to develop government wide policies for engaging with Wikipedia, Facebook, YouTube, and other popular Web 2.0 applications, potentially by identifying a “gatekeeper” function that could coordinate each agency’s engagements. Another important step will be to deepen government’s focus on playing actively in the data market. In a recent paper entitled “Government Data and the Invisible Hand,” a group of Princeton University researchers argue that government should shift its focus away from portals, which keep citizens in the role of end-user, and toward publishing data in ways that are easier to use and re-use by citizens: If the next Presidential administration really wants to embrace the potential of Internet-enabled government transparency, it should follow a counter-intuitive but ultimately compelling strategy: reduce the federal role in presenting important government information to citizens. It would be preferable for government to understand providing reusable data, rather than providing websites, as the core of its online publishing responsibility…


“About.” Creative Commons. <http://creativecommons.org/about/>


Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration Rather than struggling, as [government] currently does, to design sites that meet each end-user need, it should focus on creating a simple, reliable and publicly accessible infrastructure that "exposes" the underlying data. Private actors, either nonprofit or commercial, are better suited to deliver government information to citizens and can constantly create and reshape the tools individuals use to find and leverage public data. The best way to ensure that the government allows private parties to compete on equal terms in the provision of government data is to require that federal websites themselves use the same open systems for accessing the underlying data as they make available to the public at large. 20 However, this paradigm of government as a “disseminator” is based on government functioning as an exclusive and authoritative source of accurate information. Reality is quickly overtaking this model. Government has become a mass collector of redundant data, and, its siloed systems do not enable aggregation or synthesis needed for addressing problems such as the current economic crisis. In the realm of data, mass collaboration is acting as a “great equalizer” between populations that have not always been seen as equal – the government and the governed. Ultimately, the federal government’s need to take advantage of the interactive Web may foster a willingness to admit that its true “authority” over information is illusory. Wikipedia, for example, is often criticized for allowing “multiple versions of the truth.” But the speed at which Wikipedia permits revision of the “truth” can obscure the fact that a similar phenomenon has always governed data and information. Charles Cooper, the executive editor of CNET News, makes a provocative comparison: On your ride home today, try pondering a future where Wikipedia's model of competing versions of the truth becomes the norm. Will the increasing influence of the wisdom of the crowd force us to rethink the nature of knowledge? With the proliferation of the Internet, more voices inevitably will become part of that conversation. You can argue that epistemological revisionism goes on all the time. As a kid, I remember thumbing through a 1920s encyclopedia when I found a discussion of different racial categories. Someone reading the entry decades later would have found the assertions in that article to be nonsensical, if not borderline racist. But when the book was published, the people who might have corrected the record had no power over the publishing company printing up the product line. With the Internet, anyone with an online connection can chime in…Ostensibly, the objective is truth. But questions about the nature of truth date back to Plato and Aristotle. It's a vexing argument that continues to the present day.21 In other words, authority never has equated to authenticity. Web 2.0 and collaborative platforms like Wikipedia are simply making that fact clearer and quicker than ever before. Government,

Robinson, David, Yu, Harlan, Zeller, William P. and Felten, Edward W., “Government Data and the Invisible Hand.” Yale Journal of Law & Technology, Vol. 11, 2008. Cooper, Charles. “Perspective: Wikipedia and the nature of truth.” CNet News. December 2, 2005. <http://news.cnet.com/Wikipedia-and-the-nature-of-truth/2010-1025_3-5979331.html>



Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration when engaging the large communities that characterize the interactive Web, may have to accept a role as another voice in a sea of equals.

Leverage Knowledge Management Tools for Performance Gains
The electoral rhythms of American politics have a great deal of impact on the day-to-day functioning of government. The executive branch changes leadership, every four or eight years, and the legislative branch generally has some kind of change in overall character every two years. But, senior staff in these two branches rarely last longer than two years. Both branches are deeply involved in determining not only the substantive goals of government, but the operational procedures and standards by which those goals are pursued. While this level of turnover can be healthy – indeed, vital – to the health of the body politic, it also hobbles government’s ability to learn from mistakes, grow wiser with experience, and develop institutional memory. Between 1990 and 2001, the average tenure of a political appointee was just under three years, and the staggering of those appointments means that there is constant turnover in the political leadership of government.22 In an age when government is expected to do more, move quicker, and respond with more agility to changing conditions, this level of turnover often creates vacuums of leadership. Technology only exacerbates the need for effective and durable knowledge management. While e-mail and cell phones have sped up the bureaucracy, once a public servant ends his or her tenure in government, those accounts are turned off, losing the information, relationships, and strategic guidance contained therein. The most successful Web 2.0 applications function by storing individual insights—uploaded photos, comments on blog posts, geotags of people’s current locations on Google Maps—and providing users with platforms to aggregate these in startling and powerful new ways. What if government adopted a new attitude towards knowledge management? The idea of wikis supplanting e-mail, for example, is not so far-fetched; some current wiki solutions already offer users the ability to automatically capture and index all incoming and outgoing e-mail. The State Department has taken things a step further. In January 2006, as part of a new strategy for working with other nations around the world, Secretary Condoleezza Rice announced a concept known as Transformational Diplomacy, including an initiative to “[use] 21st century technology…to engage foreign publics more directly via the media and Internet, and to better connect diplomats in real time.”23 This plan called for diplomats to be proactive in establishing ties with local communities and to work on effective strategies for engagement. While the department was working to gather and share data with outside communities, many inside the agency were dissatisfied with their inability to share and pass down information within the organization. At the same time, senior officials were looking for ways to more efficiently

Barr, Stephen. “Book Advises Political Appointees on How to Succeed in Washington.” The Washington Post. February 19, 2003. “Fact Sheet: Transformational Diplomacy.” Office of the Spokesman. January 18, 2006. <http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2006/59339.htm>



Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration update preliminary reports done by previous embassy staff. Without a centralized location for information sharing, officials were unable to access any concluding information. It was a classic knowledge management problem. Instead of trying to automate their way out of the problem, the officials innovated. In September 2006, the Office of eDiplomacy created Diplopedia, “a new collaborative internal website…[that is] similar in design and uses the same software as Wikipedia” and “allows users to edit, update and contribute entries:” There are now more than 1,400 active articles and 255 agency employees registered as editors, according to the program’s organizers. The site is housed on State’s sensitive but unclassified intranet and is accessible by all department employees. Like other wikis, Diplopedia articles are written mostly by people who have an expertise in the subject, and accuracy depends on the community of authorities using the site to correct any wrong information. Organizers also tout Diplopedia’s social-networking and collaborative benefits.24 As of August 2008, Diplopedia contained over 4,400 articles by 1,000 registered users, and had received over 650,000 total page views.25 In implementing Diplopedia, State showed that collaboration has powerful implications not only for groundbreaking innovation, but for preserving critical institutional knowledge. The prospect of using wikis to lend endurance not only to knowledge, but to the organic and informal relationships and communities that inevitably form within any large bureaucracy, is an appealing one. This appeal will only grow as the federal workforce continues to be challenged by the retirement of the baby boom generation; the increasing reliance on contractors, nongovernmental organizations and other levels of government to accomplish missions; the demand for more accountability and transparency; and other trends that make simply pushing the “reset” button every four years untenable.

24 25

Bain, Ben. “Diplopedia ‘one-stop shop’ for foreign affairs data.” Government Computer News. July 26, 2008.

Johnson, Eric. “Diplopedia: Wiki Culture in the U.S. Department of State.” Presentation. Wikimania 2008, Alexandria, Egypt. July 19, 2008.


Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration

Priority 3: Foster a Culture of Collaboration
In recent history, government has focused on enhancing the speed and efficiency of transactions and processes that government regularly performs. Laws like the 1993 Government Performance and Results Act and the 1980 Paperwork Reduction Act emphasize process changes to centralize information and move it more quickly through pre-established channels. A similar emphasis has guided government’s approach to technology, with e-government initiatives focused on consolidating and automating processes and treating citizens as the “customer” around whom this activity revolves (see Appendix A). Focusing on efficiency and results helps keep government dynamic and relevant. But the underlying “principal agent” model that defines this outlook is hierarchical and inhibits collaboration. Even the best public managers must work within a bureaucracy designed to be fine-tuned through rigid control—not transformed through collaboration. The threats and problems facing us reach across agencies and sectors, but our approaches to solving them do not. The result is a kind of artificial ceiling that limits the effectiveness of government. The next President has the opportunity—and the responsibility—to shatter that ceiling. While the use of data and IT infrastructure are critical prerequisites for implementing a vision of collaborative governance, neither is sufficient unless the people who share that data and use that infrastructure are empowered to work collaboratively. Leadership is crucial to making this happen. Implementing a culture of collaboration will be a task primarily of leadership by example. The President has already made a clear commitment to make policy by soliciting and synthesizing diverse viewpoints—enabled by technology and potentially at mass scale. Cascading this commitment through government is vital and requires three tactics: • Practice active collaboration to enhance not only the efficiency of service delivery, but the quality and effectiveness of the service being delivered by fostering adoption of collaborative tools and approaches. Integrate Chief Information Officers into the missions of their agencies so they provide strategic and technical support and are empowered and required to proactively seek innovation by applying new technologies. Resolve ambiguities in policy and law that heighten risk and inhibit innovation.

Practice Active Collaboration
For decades, leaders seeking to make organizations more efficient—whether in government or the private sector—have focused on transaction processes—those regular, repeatable elements of a process that can easily be sped up, centralized, or otherwise improved through automation. This was the idea behind many e-government initiatives—to use technology to streamline,


Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration simplify and integrate processes, or reduce the number of middlemen between government and citizens. It made government more efficient and accessible. Increasingly, though, the problems facing government are not of speed, but of scope. Jonathan Breul, Executive Director of the IBM Center for the Business of Government, has identified several “big challenges” that will confront public managers in the decade ahead, including fiscal sanity, information overload, governing without boundaries, government by contractors, and “green” leadership.26 None of these challenges can be solved by any single person, office, or agency doing the same things faster or cheaper. Improving transaction processes is not enough. Today’s technologies focus not on increasing efficiency through simple automation, but on aggregating data and building communities through mass collaboration. They reveal a way of doing the work of government with a broader, more agile and strategic perspective. The mass collaborations enabled by Web 2.0 tools allow us to begin improving, systematically, the knowledge processes that drive large-scale problem solving. Knowledge processes are those elements of government that are not routine or controlled. They require judgment, deliberation, and innovation, and they are usually not susceptible to increases in efficiency – people can’t just think faster. However, a new breed of collaborative tools, powered by the Internet, is allowing large communities to think better – by thinking together: The smartest guy in the room is everybody. Tim O'Reilly, an early promoter of the Web 2.0 idea, says, “The central idea is harnessing collective intelligence.” This sounds lofty, but is actually happening all the time on the Web. Every time you type in a search query on Google, what's happening under the hood is the equivalent of a massive polling operation to see which other sites people on the Web have deemed most relevant to that term. Magically, it yields a result that no amount of hands-on filtering could have managed. “It's clear that the Web is structurally congenial to the wisdom of crowds,” says James Surowiecki, author of a book (“The Wisdom of Crowds,” ) that argues that your average bunch of people can guess the weight of a cow or predict an Oscar winner better than an expert can. That's why some people believe that an army of bloggers can provide an alternative to even the smartest journalists, and that if millions of eyes monitor encyclopedia entries that anyone can write and rewrite (namely, the Wikipedia), the result will take on Britannica.27 We must learn to unify and broaden our knowledge processes – the thousands of tactical decisions and strategic judgments we make every day. We must not only keep the citizen at the center of our delivery of governance, but also enable those within government to extend knowledge processes across organizational and geographical boundaries. Examples of this thinking, like Diplopedia, as well as a classified Intellipedia that facilitates information-sharing across the 16 agencies that compose the U.S. Intelligence Community, are quickly beginning to surface. Even outside of government, exciting communities like GovLoop – a social networking


Breul, Jonathan. “Ten Challenges Facing Public Managers.” Presented at the U.S. Department of Energy Visiting Speakers’ Program. July 16, 2008. Levy, Steven and Brad Stone. “The New Wisdom of the Web.” Newsweek. April 3, 2006.



Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration site aimed at connecting public service professionals and promoting knowledge sharing – are attracting thousands of users and truly impressive content. From a leadership perspective, the model that underlies initiatives like these is a radical departure. In many organizations—especially government—control is the metric of success. The most admired managers effectively delegate strategic decisions through the chain of command and focus squarely on fulfilling an organizational mandate. In a networked world, though, rigid hierarchies and water’s-edge boundaries stifle innovation and inhibit strategic decision-making. In a networked world, the most successful leaders are not those who maintain such boundaries, but those who are able to foster an environment that rewards risk-taking, big-picture thinking, and collaboration. In order to succeed, President Obama must put a clear emphasis on finding and promoting leaders who are willing to adopt this kind of thinking, to trade the comfort of control over data for the power of fostering collaboration and innovation in key knowledge processes. Perhaps more importantly, given a federal apparatus that both enables and demands strategic management of the government’s information and IT assets and policies, the President must think about how to manage those resources in a way that supports those leaders who do emerge. The challenge for leaders in government, in turn, is to learn to trade control for collaboration.

Integrate CIOs into the Mission
The 2002 E-government Act codified the role of OMB as an administrator of funding and provider of horizontal oversight for all e-government initiatives across the federal environment. That role was manifested by the creation of the Office of E-Government and Information Technology. Long before that, the 1996 Clinger-Cohen Act required each federal agency to designate a CIO with responsibility for “developing, maintaining, and facilitating the implementation of a sound and integrated information technology architecture.”28 These laws recognized the need for technology leadership across and throughout government. They also paved the way for the President’s public commitment to appoint an overarching federal Chief Technology Officer (CTO) to “ensure that our government and all its agencies have the right infrastructure, policies and services for the 21st century.” The most critical aspect of this position may be the CTO’s duty to ensure dialogue across agency lines: The CTO will ensure the safety of our networks and will lead an interagency effort, working with chief technology and chief information officers of each of the federal agencies, to ensure that they use best-in-class technologies and share best practices.29 This promise is a welcome recognition that technology leadership is essential not only at the presidential level, but within each Executive Branch agency. But today’s technologies require extending this mandate. The rise of open-source software and web-based applications means that
28 29

Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996.

“Technology.” Barack Obama and Joe Biden: The Change We Need: Technology.” <http://www.barackobama.com/issues/technology/>


Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration even the tools used for everyday business processes are continuously undergoing massive shifts and innovations. In such an environment, success absolutely requires integrating IT managers and personnel into the mission-oriented work of federal agencies. Platforms like blogs, wikis, and mashups are tools, not applications. Fully harnessing the power of mass collaboration means bringing together the organizational elements most familiar with business and programmatic needs with those most engaged in crafting technical solutions. That means giving IT a seat at the decision-making table. This reality is affirmed by independent analyses, such as one recently conducted by Forrester Research. Marketing departments, corporate communications, or other lines of business led early enterprise Web 2.0 deployments, with IT departments along for the ride, if they were involved at all. That dynamic is changing rapidly; our recent Web 2.0 survey shows IT departments taking a more active role in the acquisition and deployment of Web 2.0 technologies. Budgetary controls, the need for integration and technical skills, and the growing importance of Web 2.0 tools are all putting IT departments in the driver's seat.30 The flip-side of this coin is that, throughout government, leaders must begin to challenge their IT shops to earn a seat at the table of power by demonstrating the ability to provide strategic vision in support of the evolving needs of programs. Communities like the CIO Council —and organizations of CIOs across government codified by the E-Government Act—have set a strategic goal of identifying and using interoperable IT solutions government-wide. Indeed, such a goal is only within reach today because the legacy of e-government is a powerful infrastructure for managing federal IT investments and resources. However, just as the present moment requires a shift away from government’s IT personnel as managers of infrastructure, it requires these same personnel to shift toward directly supporting program needs with strategic planning and innovation. The CIO Council’s FY 2007-2009 Strategic Plan echoes this sentiment, adopting as its first goal the creation of “a cadre of highly capable IT professionals with the mission critical competencies needed to meet agency goals.” It goes on to argue: The rate of change in information technology, Congressionally-mandated requirements, and other federal policies all contribute to the ongoing evolution in IT workforce management. As the federal government continues to streamline IT resources, resulting in more enterprise-wide programs, it must also ensure that the IT workforce remains highly competent and well versed in critical IT skills.31 This statement is part of a growing recognition that an organization’s capacity to collaborate and innovate depends directly on the extent and type of collaborative tools at its disposal, and the capacity of its personnel to use those tools effectively.


Young, G. Oliver, Christopher Mines, and Madiha Ashour. “IT Departments Play Key Role In The Acquisition And Deployment Of Web 2.0 Technologies.” Forrester Research. July 10, 2008. “Federal Chief Information Officer Council Strategic Plan FY 2007-2009.” January 17, 2007. <http://www.cio.gov/documents/CIOCouncilStrategicPlan2007-2009.pdf>



Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration

Resolve Ambiguities in Policy and Law
How many versions of a single page on a government wiki are subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act? The question is simple, but answers are elusive. FOIA largely fails to contemplate iterative media—documents that evolve collaboratively in an online setting. Similarly, at what point does an Instant Message (IM) exchange become a single document that is subject to FOIA requests—and how can agencies configure IM to anticipate such requests? FOIA is one of a host of policies and statutes that raise such questions: the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), federal procurement policy, antiindemnification laws, disability laws and others 32pose similarly novel challenges. When it comes to federal law and policy governing collaboration and public engagement, the game has changed, but the rules have not. New tools such as blogs, wikis, and social networks are simply unanticipated. Agencies are experimenting with collaborative technologies and approaches on a case-by-case basis in consultation with their counsels. But absent clear documentation of how relevant laws and policies apply, this experimentation creates a high-risk environment for the agencies that are taking the lead. In the risk-averse government culture, leaving intact such consequential gaps in law and policy can be a barrier to innovation. These laws and policies require significant reconsideration and revision. Legitimate legal and policy concerns about collaborative tools are hampering innovation and adoption.

Today, the nation stands on the brink of an unprecedented era of innovation and renewal. The President has chosen to execute this vision with a bold and unprecedented commitment to transparency, connectedness, and innovation. Building a government that is as agile, transparent, and responsive as those it governs is vital to realizing this vision. While there has been progress across the federal system, there is much to be done. Fortunately, there are models to follow and pockets of excellence to be celebrated and leveraged.33 While the President and the citizenry may be ready to embrace these tools and approaches, the government apparatus is not. Immediate progress can and should be made. Bold program and project staffers should continue to move out and experiment and embrace these tools as new ways of doing the business of government. At the same time, this Panel recommends that the President set three new technology and innovation: • Create an Open IT Environment—The new administration must move quickly across the entire federal government to recognize the emerging commoditization of IT infrastructure, as well as the need to virtualize and consolidate physical assets to ensure fiscal and environmental sustainability. These steps will free government from direct ownership of a fragmented infrastructure and dramatically lower the costs of innovation.

32 33

See Appendix B for a list of web 2.0 implementation challenges There are over 50 government examples of various approaches at http://www.collaborationproject.org.


Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration • Treat Data as a National Asset—Viewing data as a proprietary resource is unsustainable. In order to embrace new technologies and empower leaders and citizens, the new administration must establish clear standards for sharing data, reduce the tension between sharing and security, accommodate changing concepts of data authenticity, and craft new practices for knowledge management. Foster a Culture of Collaboration—Although government has made great strides in becoming more efficient, it still depends on the hierarchy to do things faster and cheaper, rather than using collaboration to do them better. Reversing this model requires leadership that emphasizes not just efficient process but also effective delivery of results; demands that IT leadership act as a strategic partner with mission-oriented elements of the organization; and revisits and revises a host of laws and policies that inhibit innovation and collaboration.

Today’s most effective public leaders embrace the vision of informal networks innovating across organizational boundaries, and of acting not only in service to citizens, but in partnership with them. The challenge for President Obama will be to implement the policies and infrastructure that support this kind of forward-looking leadership. Doing so is a prerequisite to realizing his bold vision of making America not just a great nation, but an open and transparent democracy.


Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration

Aggregation—Gathering information from multiple websites, typically via RSS. Aggregation lets websites remix the information from multiple websites, for example by republishing all the news related to a particular keyword. Bliki—A combination of the two Internet concepts of a blog and wiki. It combines features from both: as with blogs, posts or articles appear in reverse chronological order on the front page, with the most recent one at the top; but editing is done in wiki style, with a version history for each page and special markup tags. Blog—Originally short for “weblog,” a blog is a web page that contains entries in reverse chronological order, with the most recent entry on top. It is usually updated more frequently than a website with static content, and often solicits and displays comments from readers. Blogroll—A list of recommended sites that appears in the sidebar of a blog. These sites are typically sites that are either on similar topics, sites that the blogger reads regularly, or sites that belong to the blogger's friends or colleagues. del.icio.us—A social bookmarking web service for storing, sharing, and discovering web bookmarks. Users can create individual feeds which then aggregate the most popular items to prominent status on the site's front page. Digg—A community-based popularity website that combines social bookmarking, blogging, and syndication with a form of non-hierarchical, democratic editorial control. News stories and websites are submitted by users, and then promoted to the front page through a user-based ranking system. Discussion Board—A web application for holding discussions and posting user generated content. The term may refer to the entire community or to a specific sub-forum dealing with a distinct topic. Messages within these sub-forums are then displayed either in chronological order or as threaded discussions. Facebook—A popular social networking website originally aimed at college students, but beginning to be more widely used by the general population. Flickr—An online community platform built around users uploading, sharing, tagging, and commenting on photos taken by users. Folksonomy—The practice and method of collaboratively creating and managing tags to annotate and categorize content. Google Earth—A version of Google Maps that offers a three-dimensional view of maps and terrain along with some enhanced functionality. Google Maps—A free application and development platform that provides online maps. It offers street maps, a route planner, and an urban business locator for numerous countries around the world. 18

Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration Instant Messaging—A form of real-time communication between two or more people in which typed text is conveyed via computers connected over a network such as the Internet. LinkedIn—A business-oriented social networking site used mainly for professional networking. Mashup—A web service or software tool that combines two or more tools to create a whole new service. A leading example is ChicagoCrime, which merges Google Maps with the Chicago police department's crime tracking website to offer a map of crime in different parts of Chicago. MMS—Multimedia Messaging Service; a version of SMS that allows for the conveyance of media such as sounds, videos, and still images. Moblogging—Short for mobile blogging, moblogging refers to posting blog updates from a cell phone, camera phone or PDA (personal digital assistant). Mobloggers may update their websites more frequently than other bloggers, because they don't have to be at their computers in order to post. MySpace—A popular social networking website known for allowing users to customize their homepages with elaborate design elements, multimedia content, and photos of other friends in their myspace social network. Newsreader/Feedreader—A newsreader gathers the news from multiple blogs or news sites via RSS, allowing readers to access all their news from a single website or program. Online newsreaders are Websites that let you read RSS feeds from within your web browser. Desktop newsreaders download the news to your computer, and let you read your news inside a dedicated software program. Open-Source—A type of software for which the source code is available to the general public to build on or modify. Phonecast—A version of a podcast designed to be broadcast to cellular phones and other mobile devices. Plaxo—An online address book service that relies on social networking to maintain and distribute current contact, schedule, and other types of information. Podcast—An audio blog, typically updated weekly or daily. Podcasts take their name from having originally been designed for iPods, but you can also listen to podcasts on a desktop computer, or many other digital audio players. RSS—Really Simple Syndication; A format for storing online information in a way that makes that information readable by lots of different kinds of software. Many blogs and Websites feature RSS feeds: a constantly updated version of the site's latest content, in a form that can be read by a newsreader or aggregator. Second Life—An Internet-based virtual world launched in 2003, which users can access via a downloadable client program called the Second Life Viewer. It enables its users to interact with each other through motional avatars, providing an advanced level of social networking, and 19

Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration residents can explore, meet other users, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, and create and trade items (virtual property) and services with one another. Semantic Web—An evolving extension of the World Wide Web in which web content can be expressed not only in natural language, but also in a format that can be read and used by software agents, thus permitting them to find, share and integrate information more easily. SMS—Short Message Service; a platform for sending short text messages of no more than 160 characters between mobile telephony devices such as cell phones. Social Bookmarking—The collaborative equivalent of storing favorites or bookmarks within a web browser, social bookmarking services let people store their favorite websites online. Social bookmarking services also let people share their favorite websites with other people, making them a great way to discover new sites or colleagues who share your interests. Social Networking—Social networking sites help people discover new friends or colleagues by illuminating shared interests, related skills, or a common geographic location. Leading examples include Facebook and MySpace. Tags—Keywords that describe the content of a website, bookmark, photo or blog post. You can assign multiple tags to the same online resource, and different people can assign different tags to the same resource. Tag-enabled web services include social bookmarking sites (such as del.icio.us), photo sharing sites (like Flickr) and blog tracking sites (like Technorati). Tags provide a useful way of organizing, retrieving and discovering information. Technorati—A site that provides a search engine specifically for blog content, relying on social bookmarking and tagging to promote popular items to the site's front page. Thumbcast—The mobile delivery of text, picture, audio, or video content via SMS, MMS, or other mobile distribution mechanism. Twitter—A free social networking and moblogging service that allows users to send "updates" (or "tweets"; text-based posts, up to 140 characters long) to the Twitter website, via SMS, instant messaging, or a third-party application. Videocast—A version of a podcast in which video content, rather than audio content, is broadcast. VoIP—Voice over Internet Protocol; a protocol optimized for the transmission of voice through the Internet or other packet switched networks. VOIP is increasingly taking the place of traditional land-line telephony services. Voting/Polling—An electronic means for gathering data on users' opinions or ratings of various items. This data is often aggregated into overall ratings. Web 2.0—A trend in web design and development towards a second generation of web-based communities and hosted services, which aim to facilitate creativity, collaboration, and sharing


Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration between users. These interactions generate content that is published, managed and used by these communities and the general public. Wiki—A collaboratively edited web page. The best known example is Wikipedia, an encyclopedia that anyone in the world can help to write or update. Wikis are frequently used to allow people to write a document together, or to share reference material that lets colleagues or even members of the public contribute content. Wikipedia—A free online encyclopedia created, edited, and maintained by users in a collaborative fashion. YouTube—A video sharing website where users can upload, view, share, and comment and vote on video clips.


Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration

Appendix A: Evolution of Information Technology Policy in Government
On December 17, 1999, the White House released a memorandum that began with the following observation: “As public awareness and Internet usage increase, the demand for online Government interaction and simplified, standardized ways to access Government information and services becomes increasingly important.” It went on to order that access to government information be “organized not by agency, but by the type of service or information that people may be seeking; the data should be identified and organized in a way that makes it easier for the public to find the information it seeks.”34 This movement, in turn, had its roots largely in legislation such as 1980’s Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), which created within the Office of Management and Budget the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) to oversee agency information collections and related regulations, with the goal of reducing the amount of paperwork citizens must complete at the behest of federal agencies. The PRA also required OMB to oversee agency information management actions, use of IT and related information policies. Subsequently, Congress passed the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993, the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994 meant to make it easier for government to buy commercial products and services, and its IT-focused successor, the Information Technology Management Reform Act of 1996 (also known as the Clinger-Cohen Act). Together, these acts signaled a clear shift in the focus of federal IT investment – moving from cost of operations to reducing burdens and improving service delivery. In addition, government began to focus on IT as a source of efficiency and effectiveness, rather than just being a cost of operating the government. The Bush administration continued this trend, beginning with the creation of an Office of IT and E-Government in 2001, developing a federal e-Government strategy in 2001, and negotiating the E-Government Act of 2002. Signed on December 17, 2002 – precisely four years after the 1999 memorandum was issued – the E-Government Act endorsed the use of digital technologies to transform government operations in order to improve effectiveness, efficiency, and service delivery. The overall E-Government strategy has continued to evolve, yielding initiatives such as the 25 “Quicksilver” projects with aims like establishing a government-wide e-Authentication solution and building a portal for citizens to identify and request social services; the implementation of a Federal Enterprise Architecture aimed at improving business processes, data, and systems across agencies; and the identification of five “Lines of Business” to further unify management and support functions across government (these were ultimately expanded to a total of nine lines of business).35 Information security and protection of privacy controls was another major thrust. By 2008, at the close of the Bush administration, the cumulative result of these initiatives has been the inclusion of strategic IT investment, management, and policymaking as a core competency of federal government. The Bush administration’s E-Government initiative in

The White House. “Electronic Government.” December 17, 1999. <http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/npr/library/direct/memos/elecgovrnmnt.html>


OMB, Lines of Business Update, FY 2009, <http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2009/pdf/ap_cd_rom/9_9.pdf>


Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration particular has created a government that is both more unified internally and more focused on delivering services directly to the citizen, than ever before. The technology paradigm that dominated government during these changes was consolidation of redundant and overlapping IT projects, while focusing on automation to drive consistent quality and lower costs.


Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration

Appendix B: Web 2.0 Implementation Challenges
While Web 2.0 tools have launched our governance into a new era of collaboration and citizen engagement, many of our laws and policies have lagged behind and do not recognize these advances. This outline represents a “look-ahead” at the issues that will be most relevant as leaders in government try to reconcile these disparate circumstances. While the list is based on extensive research and has been vetted by leaders throughout government who are affiliated with the Collaboration Project, it is just a first step and will continue to be refined as existing challenges are met and new ones arise. In recognition of this reality, the Collaboration Project has posted this document, as well as a host of primary documents such as government-produced white papers and relevant agency guidance and policy – on its virtual space, http://www.collaborationproject.org. We invite experts in government, or anyone with a knowledge of and passion for these issues, to log on and contribute relevant comments or documents.


Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration

Acquisition and Procurement
Federal Procurement • Can an agency simply decide to procure certain Web 2.0 services (i.e. Second Life, Flickr,) or must they engage in a competitive bidding process?

Does an agency’s need to sign gratuitous service agreements for ‘free applications’ complicate the procurement process for these technologies?

Example: LOC has already signed agreements with iTunes, Flickr, and YouTube which could serve as model templates for other agencies.

Agencies are restricted from engaging in advertising for private individuals, firms, or corporations. Will this limit the commercial Web 2.0 platforms they can procure?


Under the Anti-Deficiency Act, federal contracts can only provide for limited indemnification unless there is specific statutory authority to the contrary. But current boilerplate legal language for commercially run platforms like Google and YouTube contain unlimited liability clauses.

Example: Veterans Affairs & Second Life-The Linden Lab contract specifies unlimited liability, but VA can only agree to hold this company harmless within certain legal limitations.

Legal Jurisdiction & Venue

Since federal agencies are governed by federal law, Offices of General Counsel are unwilling to sign contracts that bind them to state law. This has proven problematic for Web 2.0 procurement because some vendors’ legal language defines legal jurisdiction and venue in a specific state.

Example: Veterans Affairs objects to My Space’s Disputes Clause because it stipulates that disputes involving the company are subject to laws of the State of California and the venue of Los Angeles.


Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration

Roles and Access

Can employees use Web 2.0 tools to speak on behalf of their agency? Who is permitted to blog for an agency?

Example 1: GSA is presently drafting an internal blogging policy that addresses who can blog and what clearances are needed. Example 2: LOC already has blogging policy, with different approval structures for internal and external blogging

Is there a need to develop a permission/governance structure indicating the roles played by agency staff to interact officially on third party Websites?

Employee Access and Use of Social Media

Is it acceptable to use Facebook and MySpace during work hours?

Disabled Accessibility / Section 508

If an agency signs a service contract with a non-Section 508 compliant third party vendor, how do you ensure equal access to information for disabled citizens? Section 508 stipulates that disabled federal employees must have access to and use of information that is comparable to the access to and use of information available to nondisabled federal employees. Would this pose a challenge to implementing some internally used Web 2.0 tools? Disabled accessible technology like auto-captioning video software presents opportunity for comprehensive government-wide solutions to Section 508 concerns.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

The challenge of iterative media. How many versions of a document are subject to FOIA requests?


Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration

Privacy and Security

A June 22, 2000 OMB Memorandum, M-00-13 (and subsequent Federal CIO Council Clarification Request & OMB specifications letter,) prohibits federal Websites from using persistent cookies unless a series of conditions are met. This is problematic since many Web 2.0 technologies rely on cookies. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): Following the massive security breech at Veterans Affairs in May 2006 caused by a stolen laptop, there has been a concerted effort across government to protect the privacy of government employees’ medical records. In the near future this might be a barrier to implementing Web 2.0 tools that could better manager workers’ health care. Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)

Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Counterterrorism • • • Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Smith-Mundt Act USA Patriot Act

IT Security

Malware and spyware infiltrating government networks through employee use of Web 2.0 could compromise the security of both agency data and citizen personal information. Every technology platform implemented by government must first undergo a rigorous security review, which seriously limits the number of technologies available for use. Relationship to Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA)


Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration

Other Management Statutes
The Paperwork Reduction Act, ‘Public Information Collection Activities’

Does the federal government’s use of Web 2.0 tools to engage with the public trigger OMB’s information collection requirements?

Example: If managers of blogs like TSA’s Evolution of Security or DHS’ Leadership Journal wanted to use a survey tool, would they have to comply with OMB’s guidance under PRA?

Records Management

OMB Circular A-130

Paragraph 7: Basic Considerations and Assumptions

NARA regulations require federal agencies to have a comprehensive management program for all their records. The unique nature of records created by interactive software might require additional consideration.

In 2006 NARA released ‘Implications of Recent Web Technologies for NARA Web Guidance,’ which instructs agencies on how to continue managing content created via Web 2.0 applications according to NARA’s pre-existing records management regulations. Is this clarification sufficient? In the case of a wiki, should the collaborative process leading to the finished product be treated as a record? Should comments to blog postings be managed as records?

• •

Current NARA Transfer Guidance assumes that the domain of a portal, Website, or application determines which agency manages the content. But in collaborative situations one agency may be hosting a wiki while another one assumes responsibility for the content of the site. In this case, who has ownership?

Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA)

Administered by GSA, FACA ensures that committees which include nonfederal employees and advise federal agencies are objective and accessible to the public. But online working groups (i.e. Communities of Practice) using collaborative tools might be subject to numerous procedural regulations in order to comply with FACA.


Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration

Information Quality
Authenticity & Quality of Government Information • How do you maintain authenticity, control, and credibility of information with collaborative technologies?

Does the use of government data by third-party mashup applications create an information control or authenticity concern?

Relevancy of Government Information • How do agencies stay relevant as an authoritative source of information about their own operations? What policies should be put in place so that citizens are encouraged to look at government sources of information first, instead of turning to Wikipedia, etc. As more agencies launch YouTube channels, will the result be the creation of a ‘government ghetto’ of information? • In regards to information provision, what is appropriate role for government? Are agencies best suited to be providers of raw data, or aggregator of multiple information sources, or etc.

Risk Management • Education & Training: How do we design a curriculum that educates both federal employees and citizens about the concerns inherent in using new technologies in a government context?


Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration

Appendix C: Author and Panel Biographies
Frank DiGiammarino, Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Business Development— Frank DiGiammarino oversees business development and the creation and execution of special initiatives at the National Academy that can deliver innovative approaches to addressing government's management challenges. In addition, he oversees the National Academy's government relations, outreach and communications efforts. Frank has previously served as a Program Area Director and Director of the National Academy’s Executive Consortium. He has also worked on National Academy studies of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with a specific focus on field structure reorganization. Former positions include Director and DoD Practice Area lead at Touchstone Consulting Group, General Manager and Director of Program Management at Sapient Corporation, and Principle Consultant with the State and Local Practice at American Management Systems. Lena E. Trudeau, Program Area Director—Lena E. Trudeau oversees the National Academy’s work with the U.S. Coast Guard, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of State and the National Park Service. In addition, Ms. Trudeau directs the Collaboration Project, an independent forum of leaders committed to leveraging Web 2.0 and the benefits of collaborative technology to solve government’s complex problems. Ms. Trudeau’s previous roles include: Vice President, The Ambit Group; Marketing Manager, Nokia Enterprise Solutions; Principal Consultant, Touchstone Consulting Group; Consultant, Adventis Inc.; and Associate, Mitchell Madison Group. Mark Forman*—Partner, KPMG LLP, Risk Advisory Services. Former Founder and Executive Vice President, Worldwide Services, Cassatt Corporation; Administrator for E-Government and Information Technology, Executive Office of the President; Vice President, E-Business, Unisys Corporation; Principal, IBM Global Solutions; Senior Professional Staff Member, Majority Staff, Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, U.S. Senate. John Kamensky*—Associate Partner, IBM Global Business Services; Senior Fellow, IBM Center for the Business of Government. Former Deputy Director, National Partnership for Reinventing Government; Assistant Director, U.S. Governmental Accountability Office; Staff, Texas Constitutional Convention; Staff, Texas House of Representatives. Daniel A. Munz, Senior Research Associate—Daniel A. Munz is the Project Manager of the National Academy’s Collaboration Project initiative. He pas previously served as staff on National Academy studies of the U.S. Department of Energy, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Daniel’s Mr. Munz’s previous roles include: Director of Internet Communications, Norman Siegel for Public Advocate. Politics and Elections Aide, Citizens Union Foundation.

*Academy Fellow


Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration

Collaboration Project Advisory Panel
Greg Lashutka,* Chair—Senior Vice President for Corporate Relations, Nationwide. Former Mayor and City Attorney, City of Columbus, Ohio; Partner, Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, L.L.P.; Associate Attorney, Cameron & Cameron; Legislative Aide to U.S. Congressman Samuel Devine; Law Clerk to Judge Richard B. Metcalf. P.K. Agarwal*—Chief Technology Officer, State of California. Former Vice President, ACS; Chief Information Officer, NIC, Inc.; Chief Information Officer, California Franchise Tax Board; Chief, Information Services, California Department of General Services; Manager, Data Base Development Bureau, California Department of Social Services; Technical Project Manager, California Department of Health Services; Management Consultant, EDS Corporation. William Eggers*—Global Director, Deloitte Research. Former Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute for Public Policy; Project Director, e-Texas; Manager, Texas Performance Review; Chair, Government Reform Policy Committee, George W. Bush for President; Director, Privatization and Government Reform, Reason Foundation; Analyst, East European and Russian Economic Reform, Heritage Foundation. Mark Forman*—See biography above. John Kamensky*—See biography above. Anne Laurent*—Consultant, Special Projects, Atlantic Media and Blog Founder, The Agile Mind: Explorations in Virtual Government <http://theagilemind.blogspot.com>. Former positions with Government Executive magazine: Executive Editor, Deputy Editor, Program Manager of the Government Performance Project, Senior Correspondent. Former Senior Editor, Associate Editor, Pentagon Correspondent, Congressional Correspondent, columnist at Federal Times newspaper. Franklin S. Reeder*—President, The Reeder Group. Former Director, Office of Administration, The White House. Former positions with U.S. Office of Management and Budget: Deputy Associate Director for Veterans Affairs and Personnel; Assistant Director for General Management and Deputy Assistant Director; Chief, Deputy Chief, Information Policy Branch; Policy Analyst; Chief, Systems Development Branch. Former Deputy Director, House Information Systems, Committee Staff, Committee on House Administration, U.S. House of Representatives. Former positions with U.S. Department of the Treasury and U.S. Department of Defense focusing on information technology and systems.

*Academy Fellow


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