Thursday, May 29, 2008

Don't Make Your New Bosses Do All the Thinking

You’ve read their intentions, on their campaign websites. You’ve speculated and pondered what they may want to do, as far as the internet is concerned. But here’s the question: what should they do?

You’re the pros. You’ve been running government websites for a long time now. You know where the candidates are being idealistic and where they’re being practical. You know what policy issues will have to be addressed to make their promises come true. More important, you know what else needs to be done, to improve the way the government serves citizens. So what advice will you give them?

I’ve read a couple of interesting articles recently. Both got me thinking. The first was an article in the Wall Street Journal, “The Next American Frontier,” by Michael S. Malone. Malone talks about the change in America – especially in the behavior and expectations of young people. He describes many of them as “entrepreneurial” – wanting to work for themselves, do their own thing. How can we help our new bosses respond to this new generation of citizens? How can we help them use the internet to attract those young people to government service? Certainly work-at-home situations and virtual teams could help. What else could we suggest?

The second article was on…an article called “HisSpace,” by Marc Ambinder. It’s specifically about Barak Obama and his intentions to seize the power of the internet to involve the public in government. But the author wonders if Obama can succeed, if he’s elected. Can he meet the expectations of the public?

Read both of these articles. Share them with your web friends. Talk about them. Look for more “think piece” articles. Throw what you read into the mix, along with your experience and knowledge; and really think seriously about what we can do to help our new President (whoever he or she is) succeed. What can we propose to our new bosses to help them (and us) move toward the future?

Don’t make your new bosses do all the thinking. All three of the Presidential candidates are outsiders – they haven’t worked in the Executive Branch (OK – you might say that Hillary has been close…but she hasn’t been where you are). Give them a break. Do the right thing. Give them some meaty proposals - some really forward-thinking ideas that are based in the reality you know - that could really improve the way the government serves citizens.

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