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.