Posts tagged gov2.0
resembling innovation

I don't write much about what I do every day because frankly, Gov 2.0/3.0, Civic Innovation and Social Media/Emergency Management spaces is pretty saturated by people doing a great job of telling it like it is… 

But over the past month I've had hundred's of conversation with civic minded people about design - about the future of government and civics. Everyone agrees that procurement is a leading cause of lack of innovation in government. And I don't disagree - procurement regulations - many of which are outdated and somewhat ridiculous - are a massive roadblock to innovative civic work. Some days it makes the ideal of lean government, ala Eric Reis’ Lean Startup, laughable. Yet despite this roadblock, I would say the cause of dull outmoded civic development is much deeper than the difficult procurement.

I'd say this - outmoded, stick-in-the-mud behavior isn't about fear of change, though that is a part of it - outmoded behavior is simply a side effect (a rather prickly one) of being unwilling to try something new and possibly experience failure. History shows, innovation does not guarantee success, but it does guarantee that you might fail, perhaps publicly. Sometimes that’s just too much for one to bear. That fear of failure is enough for some people to use outdated procurement regulations, lack of understanding, fear of change or any other justification as a reasonable excuse to forgo anything resembling innovation.

 

from the archive: resilience is a community effort

In honor of the one year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy - a previous post on community resilience - the act of protecting what we value, bringing us together, making us stronger.

 

This past week, the events of Boston, MA and West, TX and even the recent decline of my grandfather's health have reiterated one very vital thing for me. Resilience is a community effort.

Preparing alone, coping along, fighting alone - they are all myths of the first order. We do not fight an illness, a disaster, a bombing or anything else for that matter, alone. We fight it with our community. Perhaps not our neighbors directly, proximity is not what it once was, but certainly with our relationships and our network.

Technology has made it possible to see the world in near real-time. It has enabled my family to touch base time zones away during a scary time and it has allowed the world to watch with baited breath as Boston closed a city and West mourned the loss of their town. It's a dual-edged sword, technology. It provides vital connection, yet it can also cause rapid destruction. It's one of those agnostic mediums that requires outside direction to be positive or negative. Patton Oswalt, yes I am quoting the comedian, said,

"The vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.

So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, 'The good outnumber you, and we always will.'”

See here's the thing - when we use technology and our community connections to build goodness and fight off danger, we build resilience and strength. That act, the act of protecting what we value, brings us together, makes us stronger, helps us feel deeper, treasure our minutes and remember that even though a threat is near, it will not undermine our lives.

 

SXSW & The Govie
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SXSW Interactive is a now infamous conference of 20,000 plus technology nerds gathered for a week in Austin, Texas. It's not the normal place for a govie, such as myself, to hang out. But it's my interest, both professionally and personally.

SXSW is where the nerds go for spring break. It's the first time I've ever felt comfortable at a conference, devouring every possible session on topics from crowdsourcing OUYA to the power of serendipity. Most with little obvious connection to government. But see, thats where I think we've got it wrong. Nerd spring break and all that happens there, has everything to do with innovation and where innovation is, is frankly, where government needs to be.

Now SXSW is certainly not the only place to search for innovation. There are millions of other options out there, most don't require travel or time away from the office. But this search for innovation does require a dedication to the cause. A curiosity for new ideas and the drive to apply them - it's not easy, but it's necessary. It's necessary to move beyond government as usual, toward government as a platform of engagement and democracy.