But first, let me talk about what we’ve been up to at the National Academy. Over the past year or so, we’ve partnered with government to host a series of what we call “National Dialogues” collaborative, web-based conversations designed to introduce citizens and stakeholders to their government and to each other Find key ideas, themes, and priorities In fall 2008, we teamed with OMB, GSA, and the Federal CIO council to do a dialogue on Health IT & Privacy. Issue that has national importance but also deep personal relevance Learned a lot about the issue, but also about how to do this and what works NUMBERS In spring 09, we teamed with the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board to help build Recovery.gov “2.0” Tried to find what vendors and solutions were out there – kind of an expanded and better RFI process Tried to find out what people WANTED from Recovery.gov RFP for Recovery.gov recently issued and awarded Also in spring 09, we did a slightly different kind of project – teamed with WH OffSciTechPol to do OpenGov Dialogue First stage of innovative three-stage process Learned a LOT about the importance of seeding and engaging the stakeholder community Still, numbers were good NUMBERS One of our most recent, and large scale, Dialogues was the National Dialogue on the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review Faced with developing its first Quadrennial Review—a top-to-bottom strategic review—since the Department’s inception, DHS determined it should get input from homeland security partners on its missions and goals for the next four years. This was an enormous task, given the size and geographic (and cultural) dispersion of the homeland security stakeholder community Over three phases last summer, this dialogue joined together over 20,000 homeland security stakeholders to provide input into the development of this report DHS’s full QHSR report was actually just released yesterday and is publicly available. For the National Dialogue on United We Ride, we partnered with the Federal Interagency Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility (CCAM), which is a network of 11 Federal departments that are responsible for providing and coordinating transportation for people with disabilities, older adults, and people with lower incomes.
The first thing I’d say is, THINK IT THROUGH – before you start out, understand three dimensions of what you’re doing: WHAT is the reason you’re collaborating? What end do you hope to achieve, or what process or question would be better if you could bring more people to the table around it? WHO are the people you need to bring together to make that happen? What level of experience/engagement do they need to have? Can it be anyone off the street, or do you need people with some prior expertise? How many people do you think are in that universe? HOW can you get feedback from all those people, while still making sure it’s actionable and you can respond do it? How can you avoid just setting up another suggestion box, where engagement goes in and nothing comes out? These three questions are the stakes in your tent poles. Having clear answers is what makes your overall vision durable, even if you encounter strong resistance or major challenges.
How do you find the “right” problem? – Collaboration is not a panacea for all business challenges. An issue that is within your purview to address: Being responsive to the community, even if you can’t implement all their ideas, is critical to building and sustaining trust. If you engage stakeholders on something that is not within your control, your stakeholders won’t see an impact, and they’ll lose interest. Areas where a fresh perspective and new ideas could add value to what you do: Where are your needs for some new ideas and fresh thinking? In the case of DHS’s QHSR , the Department was developing a review that was going to impact the work and lives of tens of thousands of people who aren’t DHS employees. They figured it would be good to get their input, since they know the front lines best. Potential communities that can’t form due to silos, stovepipes, and lack of a platform to coordinate : Where is there a disconnect in your organization—or among your stakeholders—that needs to be bridged? “ Better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt” (Mark Twain): You have to put serious thought into the problem you’re trying to solve, and whether collaboration could offer a solution. If you don’t, it will be very evident to your stakeholders.
Even when you have those three questions answered, it’s important to zoom in a little bit and make sure that you’re asking people to engage in something they can actually DO. We hear the phrase “wisdom of crowds” a lot – tap it, harness it, etc. But it’s important to be clear about what “crowds” can and can’t do: Do crowds have deep policy expertise? Some members might, but if you bring enough people together, you’re invariably going to get a pretty diverse range of backgrounds and knowledge levels People usually don’t have the time to learn to speak “government” just so they can talk to their government. When you’re talking to real people, use real language. People probably don’t know about your internal processes or functions. If you ask, “What do you think of our process for budgeting,” you’re probably going to get the online equivalent of a blank stare. Finally, people generally don’t realize that this review you’re working on is due to the Congress and it’s gotta be done next week and so you need input TODAY – it’s not their problem. So what CAN crowds add? In general, not everyone has the kind of expertise I list here But everyone is an expert in: What they want and need from government What they want it to be like when they interact with government What best practices or ideas are working in their lives and communities What outcomes government needs to accomplish Ask questions that focus on those things – things everyone can really grab onto and engage with – and really see a much higher quality of user feedback.
Once you understand what you want from people – how do you get it? Remember, you’re asking a lot from people, most of whom probably have a day job other than engaging with government So what do they get? A chance to participate – maybe, but I think we can do better Maybe a chance to engage with government, and with others in their community – to find other people out there who care about this, in and outside government A real report back on how their input drove policy or changed minds would be great Recognition among peers is great – this is what powers Intellipedia and Apps for Democracy. Everyone wants to be the best sharer, have the best idea, etc. If you can build this dynamic, that’s a huge win. And worst-case, plain old fashioned bribes never hurt
Perspectives on Collaboration: What works (we think)
Perspectives on Collaboration What Works (We Think) FEI Alumni Association March 15, 2010
About the National Academy <ul><li>Strategy Development </li></ul><ul><li>Organization Analysis and Design </li></ul><ul><li>Program Evaluation and Feasibility Studies </li></ul><ul><li>Business Support Function Transformation </li></ul><ul><li>Change Management and Organizational Communications </li></ul><ul><li>The National Academy is trusted across federal, state and local government to provide objective assessments and forward-thinking, practical solutions to the most critical and current issues in public administration. </li></ul><ul><li>Through its network of over 600 distinguished Fellows and more than 75 dedicated staff, the Academy is uniquely qualified to drive positive change across government and to help its agencies work better for the American people. </li></ul>Our Services Established in 1967 and chartered by Congress, the National Academy is a non-profit, independent coalition of top policy and organizational leaders who tackle government’s most complex challenges through systematic research, comprehensive management reviews and expert analysis.
In Other Words… <ul><li>We are experts on effective government management </li></ul><ul><li>Independent, non-partisan, non-profit </li></ul><ul><li>Powered by the expertise of over 600 Fellows: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Federal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>State & Local </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Academic </li></ul></ul><ul><li>We do two kinds of work : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Performing discrete studies for Congress & agencies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Highlighting management issues that cut across government </li></ul></ul>
Exploring Collaboration <ul><li>Founded Collaboration Project in February 2008 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Explore opportunities and challenges </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Share best practices and success stories </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Build an engaged community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>members include: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>OMB, GSA, DHS (ICE), DoD (OSD), DoE, NIST, EPA, GPO </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Provides direct assistance for agencies looking to harness collaborative tools </li></ul><ul><ul><li>White House Office of Science & Technology Policy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Department of Homeland Security – Quadrennial Homeland Security Review </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Recovery Accountability & Transparency Board </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>United We Ride Consortium </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Explores internal use of collaborative tools </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Internal wiki & collaborative workspaces </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use of collaborative brainstorming in study methodologies </li></ul></ul>
Why We’re Here <ul><li>To many, government looks like this: </li></ul><ul><li>Government makes a decision </li></ul><ul><li>Government reveals it to citizens </li></ul><ul><li>(Repeat.) </li></ul>
Recent Dialogues DHS Quadriennial Review National Park Service United We Ride HUD Ideas in Action
Let Your Business Needs Drive the Process Problem What problem is driving the need to reach out? 1. Community Who is the community I need to engage? 2. Tools How can I assess their ideas and priorities? 3.
Defining the Problem <ul><li>How do you find the “right” problem? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>An issue that is within your purview to address </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Areas where a fresh perspective and new ideas could add value to what you do </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Potential communities that can’t form due to silos, stovepipes, and lack of a platform to coordinate </li></ul></ul>“ Better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” – Mark Twain
Know What Crowds Can Do <ul><li>The Wisdom of Crowds </li></ul>? <ul><li>Deep policy expertise? </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to speak “government”? </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge of your internal processes? </li></ul><ul><li>Sense of urgency around your mandates? </li></ul><ul><li>What do crowds know? </li></ul><ul><li>What they want and need from government </li></ul><ul><li>What they want it to be like when they interact with government </li></ul><ul><li>Best practices or ideas that work in their lives and communities </li></ul><ul><li>Outcomes government needs to accomplish </li></ul>
Find Your Value Exchange <ul><li>You’re asking people for their time and their best ideas , for free . </li></ul><ul><li>What do they get? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Chance to participate”? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chance to engage with government and others </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Clear indication of how they made a difference </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Recognition among peers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>STARBUCKS GIFT CARDS!!! </li></ul></ul>
The Central Challenge <ul><li>“ We are a nation of more than 300 million. More than that, we're a nation of families, communities, organizations, of cities, suburbs, tribes, all of their local governments and organizations. And within these groupings lies an extraordinary pool of talent, ingenuity and strength.” – DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano </li></ul><ul><li>The challenge isn’t technology — it’s leadership: </li></ul><ul><li>Identifying problems that require innovation </li></ul><ul><li>Working to build a durable community </li></ul><ul><li>Ensuring that collaboration is productive </li></ul>
<ul><li>This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License . See http://collaborationproject.org/x/HIA4AQ for more information. </li></ul>About Us The Collaboration Project The Collaboration Project ( www.collaborationproject.org ) is an independent forum of leaders who share a commitment to the adoption and use of collaborative technologies to solve complex problems of public management. With the support of dedicated staff and access to the National Academy’s distinguished Fellows and other subject matter experts, the Collaboration Project convenes members in person and online to share best practices; produces research on the opportunities and challenges of collaboration; and assists agencies in implementing collaborative tools and approaches. For More Information: Lena Trudeau, Vice President (202) 315-5476 [email_address] Danielle Germain, Director (202) 204-3632 [email_address]