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The Gov 2.0 Collaboration Project

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Note: This is a test of the interoperability of Confluence and Deki Wiki content. Audio File.

Collaboration Project Kickoff Meeting, February 20, 2008

Who Are We?

A brief profile of those who attended the kickoff meeting.

  • According to a quick hand-raise survey, the group included professionals representing Program/Operations, Finance, Human Capital, Acquisition, and IT sectors, as well as representatives from the Hill.
  • About 1/3 of the group had deployed collaborative technology in their workplaces. More used it at work than in their personal lives.

If Not, Why Not?

What are the barriers to implementing collaborative technology in your workplace?

  • Legal/Policy

    What are the legal implications of making informal conversations, draft documents, etc. "permanent" by publishing them - even on a secure intranet? There's no clear existing framework in government, and no clear governance around these issues. How, for example, do FOIA or the Presidential Records Act govern the use of collaborative technology? Also, how does an organization handle authentication issues involving passwords, permissions, and access to content? Is it an IT issue or a policy issue - or both? (EPA Senior Advisor to the CIO Mary McCaffery discusses the challenge of deploying collaborative technology in a policy vacuum.)

Critical Issues

What are the questions you need to answer before deploying collaborative technology?

  • Complexity

    Collaborative technology can do almost anything; because of its complexity, the real challenge is picking one thing to do, and maintaining that scope. The most important element here may be clarity about the business problem that you're trying to solve. This "thinking-it-through" step should include consideration of how collaborative technology can be integrated with - or replace - existing business practices. (Department of Labor CFO Doug Webster discusses the need to integrate collaborative technology into existing business processes.) There's also a strong desire to learn from others. Templates, best practices, and frameworks are critical to getting "smart enough" to deploy collaborative technology in a focused, deliberate way.

  • Identifying Barriers

    It's tempting to see collaboration as dissolving the barriers between different parts of an organization, but some of these "barriers" actually represent legitimate differences on issues of policy and governance; collaboration alone won't solve them. (Department of Transportatio CIO Dan Mintz starts a discussion about the distinction between real and "artificial" barriers.) Collaboration is highly effective in dissolving more artificial barriers like geographic distance and position in an organizational hierarchy. But the Internet isn't kind to distinctions; we should expect the line between "real" and "artificial" barriers to get blurrier. Defining it is a critical task.

Business Problems

In what types of applications are collaborative technologies the most effective?

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