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Highlights from the 8th annual IBM Government Forum
Delaney Turner 270003RQ8K Delaney.Turner@ca.ibm.com | | Tags:  cognos spss business_analytics smarter_government
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Today’s guest post is by Blythe Howard-Chou, Senior Writer for IBM Business Analytics.
Transparency. Participation. Collaboration. If you’re not used to thinking about those three words in conjunction with the U.S. government, it’s because this new era dawned just two years ago, with President Obama’s Open Government Initiative.
Last Wednesday, I attended the 8th Annual IBM Business Analytics Government Forum in Washington, DC. The Forum drew over 400 people and focused on how IBM Business Analytics software can help government agencies or departments deliver on their mission, improve operations and ensure that responsible spending gets results.
For those of you who weren’t able to attend the Forum, here are some of the best ideas, tips, and resources that came from the speakers. Openness in government was the theme.
1. Create actionable information. Dr. Shelley Metzenbaum, Associate Director of Performance and Personnel Management with the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, urged everyone to ask two questions: What are your goals for this data? How can your data help your organization or agency become more efficient and cost-effective?
2. Recognize that knowledge is collaborative. The Forum’s keynote speaker was Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, an online editable encyclopedia. The goal of Wikipedia is to “freely share the sum of all human knowledge.” Wales mentioned five rules that apply to anyone who chooses to edit Wikipedia:
These five principles could also apply to government agencies and organizations as they interact with citizens and strive to improve services and drive better outcomes.
3. Skate to where the puck is going to be. Jon Desenberg, Senior Policy Director at the Performance Institute, offered several ways for agencies and organizations to mitigate risk:
4. Don’t fear the “gotcha” side of performance management. Several speakers talked about the paradox of the public sector: government programs receive funding based on performance, so calculated risks are discouraged in favor targeting only the most achievable (or fundable) goals. Jonathan Bruel, Executive Director of the IBM Center for the Business of Government, noted that predictive decision making encourages agencies to move away from the status quo and hit the stretch goals by providing a data-driven, consistent and real-time framework.
5. Democratize your data. David L. McClure, Associate Administrator, Citizens Services and Innovative Technologies, U.S. General Services Administration, discussed how the intersection of open government and social media has turned data into a two-way street. Citizens are now effectively stakeholders: they want to provide and receive feedback, and your programs and agencies need to be able to operate in this new environment. Maintain an open and consistent dialogue with citizens about the data you’re sharing, why you’re sharing it and how you share it.
Throughout the Forum, I also learned about several government resources that have been developed in the spirit of openness and collaboration: