Government, Internet, Transparency

Three Focal Points of Open Government

Originally posted at

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Open Government and Innovations Conference in Washington, DC. The two-day conference was a fantastic opportunity to hear some of the leaders in open government thinking, including:

  • Aneesh Chopra, Federal CTO – “The Innovation Imperative
  • Vivek Kundra, Federal CIO – “Town Hall Meeting – The IT Dashboard
  • Dave Weinberger, Harvard Law and Cluetrain Manifesto – “Transparency as a Virtue
  • Tim O’Reilly, O’Reilly Media – “Government as a Platform

(If you’re interested, those talks are available via Adobe Connect here. Click on the linked headshot of the speaker you’d like to watch.)

I sat in on some great panel sessions as well:

  • Openness, Information Sharing, and the Use of New Media in DoD
  • Case Studies in Citizenship Engagement
  • Transforming Citizen Engagement with Congress
  • Embracing a Collaborative Culture

It was also great to connect with some of the participants and speakers through the conference’s live Tweet grid. If you’re interested in more links and insight, just search the hashtag #OGI on Twitter.

Throughout the conference I picked up on a few core themes that seemed to run through all the sessions. While the official themes were Government to Government, Government to Business and Government to Citizens, the following seemed to be the three focal points for moving forward with open government initiatives. Continue reading

education, Technology

A Teacher’s View of the Education Crisis

This post was originally published at

I still keep in touch with a handful of teachers from high school. One of those teachers, Mike Perosevic, taught me grade 11 economics and always seemed to push the envelope when it came to innovative teaching methods. Integrating SMART boards, classroom wikis and discussion-based lessons, Mike challenged his students (and still does) to take initiative, collaborate with others and develop a real love of learning. I have been a technology lover since my dad brought home our family’s first Apple II computer, but Mr. P played a big role in my appreciation for technology and collaboration.

Don’s post yesterday, “Will universities stay relevant?”, sparked some interesting discussion around the idea that our education system is in crisis. Given Mike’s innovative perspective on teaching, I sent him the article and asked for his feedback. To be clear, Don addressed the university system and Mike’s perspective comes from teaching high school, but I still thought it would be interesting to hear what his experience has been like in the classroom.With his permission, I’ve posted some of his email response here, which he also published on his blog “Teaching, Technology & More“:

Continue reading

Internet, Technology, Transparency

Google’s new algorithm: Will it help engage employees?

Originally posted on

Despite placing #1 on BusinessWeek’s annual ranking of “The Top 25 Ideal Employers” for the third year in a row, Google is facing its fair share of talent challenges. At 22,000 employees, it can no longer provide the start-up appeal it once did to its entrepreneurial work force. Over the past few months, industry analysts and recruiters alike have watched as a number of Google employees have left the company to join other hot startups, including Facebook and Twitter. Other Google employees have gone on to start ventures of their own, some more successful than others.

So what do you do when your talent starts walking out the door?

Well, if you’re Google, you create an an algorithm. Continue reading

Construction, Internet, Technology

Wikinomics and the Construction Industry – “We Gotta Get Naked”

Originally posted on

Having worked in the construction industry for the past few years, I’ve interfaced with firms involved in the building process at all levels – from general contractors who manage construction on-site, to architects and designers, to small machine and metal fabrication shops. As a Net Gener, I have always found it frustrating to not be able to use the tools and applications that allow me to work as collaboratively as I do with clients or co-workers in other industries.

While there are always exceptions, wikis, blogs, social networks and other collaborative applications are almost non-existent within or between construction firms. This surprises me, especially given that construction appears to be a highly collaborative industry by nature. Just think of the large number of firms involved in any given building project, with constantly changing information that needs to be disseminated quickly and efficiently in order to avoid costly errors related to materials, labour, transport and safety. Judging by this, a construction site should be a breeding ground for collaborative applications and information sharing. Continue reading