CIOs Brainstorm About Government 2.0: Good Ideas But Not Bold Enough – "So, why do government people insist to “build something” with web 2.0 rather than realizing that in most cases people self-organize and select the channel they want to use or the community they want to belong to? Why do they focus so much on “citizens” and so little on “employees”?"
W3 Total Cache – "The fastest and most complete WordPress performance optimization plugin. "
Social on the Outside needs Social Business on the Inside :: Blog :: Headshift – "The focus of my talk was the idea that hanging shiny social media baubles on the cold, hard external walls of a corporate organisation runs the risk of creating a false brand promise unless this work has strong internal underpinnings in the form of social business structures that can do something about the noise, insights and feedback that outbound communications generate."
Web 2.0 training materials – A fantastic resource from the Scottish Government Library Services. Great material, and a wonderful example of sharing.
I had a lovely time on Saturday at Barcamb, a techie unconference in Cambridge. Quite a bit techier, actually, than I’m used to – but that offered a different perspective on things, which was rather nice.
Another one of those new people was Claire Sale, who works for NetSquared, the rather cool US-based organisation that “enables social benefit organisations to leverage the tools of the social web”. That makes her a colleague of the marvellously energetic Amy Sample Ward, which is a jolly good thing.
One of the things Amy has been doing in London is setting up a NetSquared network, where “Social changemakers and technological forerunners come together at Net Tuesday events to mix, swap stories and ideas, [and] build new relationships”. Claire is hoping to get something similar going in Cambridge.
There is already a Meetup page setup, where people interested in attending, and maybe helping out, can get together and get stuff done. I’m guessing this will take a similar form to the London group – let’s just get people in a room together first, and then worry about what we should be doing.
Net2Camb seems a decent tag to apply to blog stuff, tweets and other online material to track activity and conversations.
Hampshire County Council’s Head of IT Jos Creese is the President of Socitm for the next 12 months, and if this quote is anything to go by, he seems an ideal man for the job:
IT professionals must carve out a role as agents of change, helping to re-shape the face of public services. This means involvement in policy formulation and service redesign, not technology. It also means taking risks and being at the forefront of change, rather than keeping busy in the data centre.
Open innovation, why bother? – 100% Open – "…if open innovation is to deliver sustainable business advantage then we need a better understanding of what motivates contributors to these initiatives, else there is a risk of a backlash against them…"
Docs.com – MS Office + Facebook beats Google Docs? Am not convinced!
Government 2.0 Can and Must Save Money – "I think that the current shortage of resources and a sometimes dramatic budgetary situation can be a powerful incentive to make this change happen, to tap into the creativity of employees as well as external resources." YES!!!
CDC Provides a Great Example of What Social Media Is About – "CDC’s strategy puts them in a better position to identify patterns where trust may be shifting elsewhere early enough to take action: many other agencies worldwide, which just care about publishing data and creating their Facebook pages, will be taken by surprise."
data.lincoln.gov.uk (beta) – Lincoln City Council start publishing data publicly – great work, and props to Andrew Beeken who must have driven this through.
Simplifying the social web with XAuth – "We think that XAuth can simplify and improve the social web, while keeping your private information safe. This is just one of many steps that Google is taking, along with others in the industry, to make the social web easier and more personalized."
I think serendipity is part of what underlies Metcalfe’s Law and a big part of the explanation for Eric Raymond’s insight that ‘given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.’ Knowledge workers and their organizations should be doing everything possible to increase opportunities for serendipity. This means searching broadly for information, narrating work so that others can become aware of it, asking questions to the biggest possible audience without presupposing who might have the answers, and generally contributing to and drawing from the biggest possible digital commons. This is what Enterprise 2.0 should be all about.
Following up on my earlier post on good things to look for in people when you are hiring – Recruit the internet-savvy – I picked up on some useful notes whilst at TechCrunch‘s GeeknRolla on recruiting into startups, which I think are useful for pretty much any organisation. I also think it’s interesting to think how public services can learn from the culture of startup businesses, including around recruitment.
The talk was by Pete Smith from Songkick, which is a service that lets you track all sorts of information about your favourite live music acts, such as upcoming concerts, videos and recordings.
Here’s the notes:
Hiring is a top challenge for a startup and getting it wrong can serious affect momentum
Always be hiring
Better not to hire though, rather than to compromise on talent and drive
Very inefficient to hire from outside your network – plan for this
Grow your network as it’s the best way to hire good people
Have a hiring roadmap, build it into other choices: buildings, perks, and the tech you use
Risk taking in hiring comes later in a startup’s life, not early on
Vet applications ruthlessly before even meeting people
Spend as much time growing your network as you do looking at ‘non-network’ candidates
Hiring devs – use coding exercises then phone interview, then tech interview, then a ‘pairing session’ (not sure what that is)
Everyone you hire initially is vital to establishing the culture of your startup
How to recover from hiring errors: make sure you leave things on a good note. Don’t let people leave under a cloud. Make decision quickly but manage the exit – don’t let it drag on. Better to leave work undone than allow the wrong people to keep going.
These thoughts chime in with some activity coming out of the IDeA with regard to talent management, recruit and workforce planning. In the current financial climate, there is a lot of talk of cuts and redundancies which has the potential to be incredibly damaging.
I honestly believe that local authorities could make massive improvements to their efficiency and levels of service if they recruited better, and made better use of the talent they already have. I consider myself to be a great example of the failings of local government workforce management. Some of the things that are important, I think, are:
To get people to do a good job, they need a good job to do
Innovators and the enthusiastic should not be treated as troublemakers or weirdos, but be treasured and made to feel special
Staff should be trusted. If you genuinely can’t trust all of them, give the good ones leeway
Give people the tools they need to be able to do their job well
Value things like curiosity, generosity, cooperation and openness
Allow the good people in your organisation to find each other
Have proper systems and processes in place for inventive people to be able to suggest and progress good ideas
Quite a few people – at least those that read this blog and others like it – are comfortable with the idea of mashups, the activity of taking data from one source, and combining it with one or more others to create something useful and interesting.
Often this happens on maps, but of course it doesn’t have to.
One potential application of this sort of technology which doesn’t get discussed much, certainly in the public services context, is enterprise mashups, in other words applying these techniques within the organisation, behind the firewall. So, taking a set of data or statistics from one department and mashing it up with another.
I’d read about enterprise mashups before, but the idea didn’t really catch on until I saw Bill Ive’s post about JackBe, a vendor providing a platform for organisations to do this stuff. Here’s a video giving an example of how JackBe can be used:
I certainly remember my days as a Business Analyst at a county council where I spent days taking information from one source and having to reformat it to make it play nicely with another, usually in Excel. Having a tool like this available would have made life much easier.
Here’s a whitepaper explaining all this in more detail (PDF warning).
(Obviously, there are other providers of enterprise mashup platforms and not just JackBe, it’s just that I wasn’t looking at their websites when I was writing this post.)