Chat w/ Anthony Williams


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Chat w/ Anthony Williams

  1. 1. GovLoop Chat Presented by Google 11/18/2010 [ T y p e t h e c o m p a n y a d d r e s s ] Page 1 GovLoop Live Chat with Anthony Williams, Best Selling Author, Wikinomics & Macrowikinomics presented by Google GovLoop: I wanted to welcome everyone to the 2nd GovLoop live chat GovLoop: For those who have never been to one GovLoop: We bring a government innovator on GovLoop to talk about how to make gov’t awesome. GovLoop: Take your questions GovLoop: and have a little fun on Thursday at 2pm GovLoop: want to first give a shout out to our fine friends at Google GovLoop: who are the sponsor of this live chat GovLoop: they know innovation… GovLoop: I rely on Google apps to run GovLoop and love it GovLoop: I’m happy to have bestselling author Anthony Williams GovLoop: here today to chat with the GovLoop Community GovLoop: for those who don’t know Anthony GovLoop: he’s awesome GovLoop: He’s written 2 bestselling books GovLoop: Wikinomics and Macrowikinomics GovLoop: he has people like CEOs of Nike, Best Buy call him a genius GovLoop: which I agree… GovLoop: and more importantly he cares about government Anthony Williams: a lot GovLoop: a lot and has written a lot about public service and gov 2.0
  2. 2. GovLoop Chat Presented by Google 11/18/2010 [ T y p e t h e c o m p a n y a d d r e s s ] Page 2 GovLoop: so today we are going to have a chat with Anthony GovLoop: the format is like this GovLoop: I’m going to start with a few questions which GovLoop: he’ll answer in the chat box GovLoop: if you have questions, please direct chat me GovLoop: and I’ll ask them to him GovLoop: makes it easier to line up the questions GovLoop: but this is all about you GovLooper’s GovLoop: so we love questions… GovLoop: Cool? GovLoop: Well let’s start… Anthony Williams: awesome GovLoop: Anthony…tell us a little bit about how you got interested in writing books and gov’t Anthony Williams: I’m a poli sci kinda guy and always have been Anthony Williams: business writing was just a façade! GovLoop: nice GovLoop: tell us a little about Macrowikinomics Anthony Williams: I think government is key to where we’re going as a global society, but we need more innovation Anthony Williams: Sure, so a few big changes to note since Wikinomics came out Anthony Williams: The Web has gotten a lot bigger. It’s richer in content, more diverse in terms of voices, and more accessible to the masses. Anthony Williams: When we wrote Wikinomics, Facebook had 100 million users and now it has 500 million
  3. 3. GovLoop Chat Presented by Google 11/18/2010 [ T y p e t h e c o m p a n y a d d r e s s ] Page 3 Anthony Williams: the web had about 1 billion users, and now there are 2 billion Anthony Williams: mobile phone subs have gone from 3B to nearly 5B GovLoop: wow Anthony Williams: So a large proportion of humanity now has access to the Net Anthony Williams: of course there is still a digital divide and we can come back to that Anthony Williams: The point is that the Web now connects a whole lot more people in more useful ways. Anthony Williams: And the result is that we have a new fabric of connectivity in society Anthony Williams: People can organize around any conceivable shared interest, goal or objective Anthony Williams: what we’ve tried to do in Macrowikinomics is explain that the Internet is not just about social networking Anthony Williams: it has the potential to fundamentally reshape the way we organize key institutions like science, education, health care, government and even the way we produce and consume energy GovLoop: maybe you can talk more about the gov’t piece in the book…you focus on rebooting the public square GovLoop: What does that mean to you? And how can we accomplish it? Anthony Williams: It’s a large section in the book and my favorite part by far Anthony Williams: I see 5 domains for innovation Anthony Williams: I’ll spend a minute outlining them Anthony Williams: 1 is Democracy - making our political system more transparent and participatory Alexander B. Howard: Hi everyone - showing GovLoop’s live chat to the WhoRunsGov community manager, enjoying the book so far, Anthony! Anthony Williams: We have a lot of work to do to help restore a culture of active and responsible citizenship. Anthony Williams: Our democratic culture has been horribly debased.
  4. 4. GovLoop Chat Presented by Google 11/18/2010 [ T y p e t h e c o m p a n y a d d r e s s ] Page 4 Anthony Williams: Citizens need to learn how to flex their democratic muscles Anthony Williams: and politicians need to learn how to foster authentic dialogue GovLoop: Thanks Alex…if people got ?s send me a private chat on right (find my name)… Anthony Williams: So that’s the first domain and fortunately we see a lot of positive movement on that front Anthony Williams: but there are also signs that things are getting worse too Anthony Williams: Second domain is public services Anthony Williams: Right now we have a mass production model Anthony Williams: Services are one-size fits all Anthony Williams: Citizens are passive recipients Anthony Williams: We need to get citizens more involved in both service design and service delivery Anthony Williams: This is the core of what government does and it is the area in which citizens can have the greatest influence Anthony Williams: What’s interesting is that social entrepreneurs are moving ahead of government in some cases Anthony Williams: The health care space is an example of that Anthony Williams: But here too we see evidence of positive movement, particularly with the open data movement Anthony Williams: 3rd domain is regulation Anthony Williams: Our model of regulation is broken Anthony Williams: It’s totally incongruent with the nature of the public policy issues we face, most of which transcend jurisdictional boundaries Anthony Williams: Agencies are also understaffed and have a hard time keeping up with the pace of innovation today Anthony Williams: We should be getting citizens and watchdog groups involved in collecting intelligence
  5. 5. GovLoop Chat Presented by Google 11/18/2010 [ T y p e t h e c o m p a n y a d d r e s s ] Page 5 Anthony Williams: Elizabeth Warren’s proposal for the new bureau of consumer financial protection is dynamite Anthony Williams: 4th domain is global problem solving Anthony Williams: We have massive issues to confront Anthony Williams: Climate change, energy, water scarcity, poverty, security Anthony Williams: International organizations are moving too slowly given the very difficult processing of coming to international consensus Anthony Williams: We need to harness the collective ingenuity of global society to address these issues Anthony Williams: But we have a lot to learn about how to make that happen Anthony Williams: Finally, the 5th domain is the public administration itself Anthony Williams: There’s a lot of innovation happening today, in most public admins around the world Anthony Williams: But to be honest, there is still enormous redundancy and inefficiency Anthony Williams: Too many layers, too many silos, too much duplication, too litter sharing Anthony Williams: GovLooper’s are the exception of course!! GovLoop: hear ya Anthony Williams: Networks like GovLoop are an important part of the solution Anthony Williams: So too are initiatives like ideation platforms, shared code repositories, wikis for collective document drafting, forums for cross-agency discussion Anthony Williams: I think they are making a difference GovLoop: we hope… Anthony Williams: But there is a long road ahead Anthony Williams: Remember the institutions and traditions of government were built up over centuries - we aren’t going to change them overnight GovLoop: well we are getting a ton of ?’s coming in Anthony
  6. 6. GovLoop Chat Presented by Google 11/18/2010 [ T y p e t h e c o m p a n y a d d r e s s ] Page 6 GovLoop: mind if we start lobbing some at ya? Anthony Williams: go for it! GovLoop: remember to send me a private chat to me with a question GovLoop: 1st question GovLoop: how do we get ahead and get more people involved on citizen engagement? It feels hard Anthony Williams: It is hard Anthony Williams: I think we need to avoid making broad calls for engagement to the general public Anthony Williams: should focus more narrowly on specific constituents Anthony Williams: So for example—ask seniors groups about how to improve the services to them Anthony Williams: do it at the local level Anthony Williams: Mix offline and online participation Anthony Williams: Show real results GovLoop: love it…2nd question- loved Wikinomics. I had trouble getting my agency to move forward. Any ideas? Anthony Williams: in other words prove to people that the gov’t is listening and acting Anthony Williams: that’s a big question Anthony Williams: 1st Collaboration to and for a purpose…never collaborate for the sake of collaborating or experimenting with social media Anthony Williams: that may sound obvious Anthony Williams: but it’s important Anthony Williams: keep on experimenting in small groups until something catches on Anthony Williams: Best Buy is famous for always pushing the envelope Anthony Williams: never giving up, trying new things
  7. 7. GovLoop Chat Presented by Google 11/18/2010 [ T y p e t h e c o m p a n y a d d r e s s ] Page 7 Anthony Williams: getting execs to give up control is often the hardest bit GovLoop: Indeed…3rd question- what’s it like to write a book? What’s the process like? Anthony Williams: long and arduous GovLoop: ha Anthony Williams: the fun part is the research Anthony Williams: talking to lots of cool innovators Anthony Williams: coming up with new ideas Anthony Williams: great writing can be fun too, but it’s tedious Anthony Williams: some days I’m not sure if the long form book format has legs GovLoop: sounds a lot like making change…the fun part is the research and ideas GovLoop: the hard part is the day in and out of pushing change forward Anthony Williams: that’s true Anthony Williams: We all know this isn’t about the technology, it’s about tribes, culture, and sociology Anthony Williams: To drive change, we need a deeper understanding of the sociology of our organizations Anthony Williams: What makes us tick? Anthony Williams: How can we shift incentives? Anthony Williams: How do we bring people around shared goals and objectives, regardless of their departmental affiliation or pay grade? Anthony Williams: These are largely unanswered questions GovLoop: This is a pretty cool question…let’s see if I can paraphrase here GovLoop: What would you do in the case of TSA? GovLoop: they try to be transparent and have an active blog
  8. 8. GovLoop Chat Presented by Google 11/18/2010 [ T y p e t h e c o m p a n y a d d r e s s ] Page 8 GovLoop: a great blogger - Blogger Bob GovLoop: that talks a lot about being transparent and what he is actually doing GovLoop: but people are still skeptical and fire back a lot GovLoop: for instance even on GovLoop there is a discussion thread with 80 responses Anthony Williams: It must be really hard to be TSA I must say GovLoop: from gov’t folks and many of them are skeptical of screeners Anthony Williams: because nobody really likes airport security and that's unlikely to change no matter what Anthony Williams: that said, I would keep maintaining the dialogue GovLoop: Good answer Anthony Williams: and the TSA show more visible improvements that would help people need a sign that they are listening and acting hard to do when security mandates come from up high GovLoop: next question - any best practices/examples re: public sector innovation that you love? int'l examples appreciated Anthony Williams: there are lots of examples, always surprised at how far reaching open gov is I was just in Bratislava and they're all over open data they see it as a way to fight corruption especially in public procurement just the other day I saw an interesting e.g. in the EU GreenMyPlace using social games to encourage energy efficiencient citizens from 5 cities competing to make their city the greenest energy efficiency is not a sexy topic so they're trying to make it more fun we could go on . . . GovLoop: follow-up fun question - which country do you think is the furthest ahead (Steve note - Anthony is Canadian so he’s biased - j/k) Anthony Williams: that's a tough one, but I do think the recent push on the Open Gov Init has given the US the lead; hard to admit as a Canadian! every agency is doing stuff, which is great UK is doing well too. Canada has good innovation at the provincial level I find the best part though is all the social innovators that transcend nations GovLoop: next question - what do you see as key differences in innovation between private sector and government Anthony Williams: you don't go out of business in the public sector when you fail to innovate that's the biggest difference
  9. 9. GovLoop Chat Presented by Google 11/18/2010 [ T y p e t h e c o m p a n y a d d r e s s ] Page 9 GovLoop: true question - any response to critics who argue that fostering citizen engagement, online/social communications, etc. have no place during a time of budget cuts and tightening priorities? Anthony Williams: that said, I find that the commonalities are greater nonsense. If anything, openness and citizen engagement are more important now than ever; we need access to more skills and talent engagement is how we get it. If anything, engagement should allow us to be more efficient not less, especially when citizens come together to solve problems. That would have otherwise required more tax dollars. GovLoop: Couldn’t agree more Anthony Williams: now more than ever we need to invest in innovation in every institution and not just in business GovLoop: so Anthony ...I know you are a road warrior we have a fun question - "You've traveled across the globe. What are some common questions you are asked in your travel?" Anthony Williams: so many good questions come up. People ask about whether Wikipedia and social media in general are undermining authoritative sources of knowledge. How do we determine truth, quality and credibility? They ask whether mass collaboration and open source are negatively impacting job creation and economic growth? Recently I’ve been getting questions about Gladwell’s piece in the New Yorker Can the Web really drive social change? Interesting that I detect more skepticism these days GovLoop: Interesting… let’s talk about skeptics… Anthony Williams: sure GovLoop: if you are in an institution you are often faced with skeptics how do you address the skeptics? Anthony Williams: With results. They are the only thing that will change people's minds, data too. We need to get beyond anecdotes; prove that collaborative approaches are better. We also need to realize when collaborative approaches might fail. And be discerning in how we apply collaboration; we're still in the early stages though. I keep reminding myself of the fact that the Internet is still a very young medium GovLoop: that ties in well to the next question - "There's been a few articles lately about Intellipedia and how it is not really working as much as the hype says - especially 5 years later. Any thoughts on it? Anthony Williams: People are too quick to declare failure. I think that speaks to the difficulty of getting senior management to relinquish some of their control. Intellipedia is successful in driving adoption but changing the actual internal vetting process require real redesign and then you start encroaching on people's turf and budgets, so you expect real resistance and that's why you need leadership from the top and the bottom
  10. 10. GovLoop Chat Presented by Google 11/18/2010 [ T y p e t h e c o m p a n y a d d r e s s ] Page 10 GovLoop: true true....15 minutes left. Next question - what is your impression towards sites like 4Chan and Reddit that work in hive mind mentalities. They often band together for certain causes with noticeable results. Anthony Williams: A symptom of the digital age…tough, tough issue because like-minded people should come together but in a democracy we need plurality discussion, debate based on real facts, not just opinions. We need civility too and diversity is a strength; but people feel more comfortable in cocoons and echo chambers as it reinforces their worldview Andrew Krzmarzick: Anthony - Crystal ball: 10 years from now, what do you foresee for gov't and web services? Anthony Williams: and their sense of identity if only I had one! Here's an optimistic view much more citizen involvement in service design leading to greater customization and more integration between levels of gov't open data will help drive the innovation and the integration we will see fewer silos and more networks. We will also see a greater role for non-profits and the private sector in delivering services, new kinds of intermediaries that help drive the customization and the citizen interaction Andrew Krzmarzick: Like the non-profit integration, getting more innovation w/social business models GovLoop: I like that future...sounds awesome Anthony Williams: I'm a little less optimistic on the democracy front Andrew Krzmarzick: melding of private/non-profit missions? Anthony Williams: It's already happening, the lines between sectors are blurring. Businesess taking on the functions of govt’s, non-profits becoming entrepreneurial it's good to see. GovLoop: want to get to couple more questions before we run out of time sorry to interrupt. Here's a cool one; can social media make a real change in Government if you can't change the actual structure? Does social media change the way work gets done even if the organizational chart stays the same? Anthony Williams: changing the structures will take too long and require massive political upheaval so we should look at social media as the new highways that traverse the silos and allow all levels of gov't to act jointly; eventually the structures will adapt to the new ways that people are working - that’s my 2 cents GovLoop: cool cool…next question - how to get people out of their echo chambers/comfort zones to leverage diverse voices. (Referencing previous discussion above about people in cocoons) Anthony Williams: I wish I knew the answer I think it starts with education though we don't really teach civics anymore and we should it's fundamental to a democratic society perhaps there is more we can do in the way we design for engagement
  11. 11. GovLoop Chat Presented by Google 11/18/2010 [ T y p e t h e c o m p a n y a d d r e s s ] Page 11 GovLoop: last question - what 1 tip would you have for public servants trying to do good and make their agency awesome Anthony Williams: promote discussions where there will be conflicting points of view don't let this nonsense about gov 2.0 failing get you down it's not true it’s amazing how much progress has been made when you think about the short span of time that we have been at this GovLoop: agreed 100% Anthony Williams: I would focus on the goals that matter improving the quality of services delivered to citizens is job #1 focus there and we will show results GovLoop: well for those who know me they know I run a tight ship on keeping meetings on time and want to make sure we let you out on time. Well let’s give a round of applause, read his books if you haven’t Macrowkinomics and Wikinomcs Anthony Williams: thanks for having me GovLoop: you can find him on twitter @adw_tweets right? Anthony Williams: that’s it GovLoop: and find him on GovLoop and also want to thank our sponsor Google for helping us have Anthony here today they are doing some cool stuff on gov’t innovation we will have the transcript for the chat Andrew Krzmarzick: Thank Anthony GovLoop: posted tomorrow Andrew Krzmarzick: really awesome hour GovLoop: to keep up the conversation Anthony Williams: Thanks Steve!! GovLoop: so thanks everyone for coming... and the great questions... was a blast.... and until next time. thats allllll foooooooolkssssss