Strategic Approach to Government 2.0

One of the challenges that continually surfaces in Government 2.0 initiatives is what I call the tool syndrome. People get stuck on the tools. Should we use Facebook or Twitter? Do we need a blog or a wiki? Come on, admit it. We’ve all been there. I know I have.

The tools question is one that needs to be addressed at some point in the process, but it is not the first thing that should be considered. The first thing that should be considered is the business need. What do you want to do? Why?

Over the last couple of months, I’ve been working on a strategic framework that helps organizations articulate and communicate what they want to accomplish and how to go about it. The framework is based on Benefits Realization, articulated by John Thorpe in his book The Information Paradox. Benefits Realization provides the fundamental governance, necessary conditions, and tools and techniques to enable organizations to effectively and efficiently manage business value from IT investments.

The frameworks helps organizations:

  1. To understand and align their programs and investments with their strategy;
  2. To help them quantify and manage the achievement of their business outcomes;
  3. To translate those strategies into meaningful action; and
  4. To achieve results.

My example of the Gov 2.0 Strategic Framework is a draft based on the Province of BC’s Citizens @ the Centre:BC Government 2.0: A Transformation and Technology Strategy for the BC Public Service. It illustrates how the Province’s initiatives/programs lead to the business outcomes articulated in their strategy.

The business outcomes are the circles on the right-hand side of the diagram. The initiatives are the boxes on the left of the outcomes. Usually, a Results Chain will include contributions, assumptions (risks) and accountabilities. I have omitted these components in the interest of simplicity to clarify the pictorial narrative. A document supporting the Results Chain is the Benefits Register which tracks the measure of each business outcome, including baseline and target value. The circles on the bottom are business outcomes that I have not mapped yet. Like I say, this is a work in progress.

The framework (Results Chain) tells a story in a single image and is an excellent communication tool for government executive, public service employees and the general public in understanding government’s strategic approach to Government 2.0.

The Results Chain is used by executive to articulate organization goals and understand the traceability between initiatives and business outcomes. Drafting a Results Chain on a whiteboard will precipitate a discussion that includes investment management decisions, a prioritization of programs, and a high level understanding of each program’s contribution to organization objectives.

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The Benefits of Social Media – Employee Engagement (Coda)

In a recent post, I talked about what motivates people. People want to contribute and they want to be part of something larger than themselves. In an area of their interest and expertise, people want to make the world a better place.

Smart employers understand this. Smart companies are clear about their mission and hire people who fit into their culture and whose principles align their mission. Smart companies hire good people and help them grow and achieve.

Google’s mission, for example, “is to organize the world‘s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” StumbleUpon’s mission statement is short and sweet: “To help you discover and share great websites.”

The Public Service is great place to work for people who want to make a difference. The mission of the public service is … well … to serve the public. Depending on where you work in the public service, your mission may be to have best-educated, most literate jurisdiction on the continent or to excel and innovate in the delivery of government services for the citizens.

Addressing important societal issues such as poverty, homelessness, drug addiction and climate change are all within the purview of the public sector, as is transforming government services such as health care, social services and education. In the age of social media where voices can be heard and employees can make a difference, a transformation and public service renewal is taking place. A groundswell of leadership is rising from within government. Indeed, today is an exciting time to work for public service!