Friday, April 1, 2011
Articles we found interesting from the week of March 28, 2011

Gadi Ben-Yehuda


  • We Need an Idea, and We Need It Now!  The Collaboration Project is offering federal leaders a primer on "Tools for Online Idea Generation: A Comparison of Technology Platforms for Public Managers." On a related note:
  • New Yorkers Have No Shortage of Ideas.  Alex Howard reports on how New York City is using crowdsourcing to improve its municipal government.  But what about social media in, say, international relations?  There's this item about:
  • Social Media and Diplomacy, from the Land of TulipsMatt Armstrong reports on “Social Media Strategy: Bringing Public Diplomacy 2.0 to the next level," a paper written by Carolijn van Noort, a former intern at the Department of Public Diplomacy, Press & Culture of the Consulate General of the Netherlands.  Much like the US's 21st Century Diplomacy.  Interestingly, some 21st Century tech is already fading:
  • QR Codes Dying? Google may be abandoning support for QR codes in favor of Near Field Communications (NFC).  Gizmodo, at least, is not preturbed.  Cities that have invested in QR codes may not be as sanguine, though.  There's a lot of information tied up in those 2D graphics.  But, wait:
  • What Is Information Anyway? Is the QR Code itself information? Or is it a conduit to information? Is what it identifies information? Or does it identify a thing about which we can learn information? Tim Wu to the rescue!  Wu reviews James Gleick's The information, a new book that Wu calls "a highly ambitious and generally brilliant effort to tie together centuries of disparate scientific efforts to understand information as a meaningful concept."


John Kamensky


  • Does Open Government Really Work? The Wall Street Journal reports in a great story, “Data Spur Changes in VA Care,” that this past November Secretary Shinseki directed reluctant VA hospitals to release patient care data on the web so veterans could decide which hospitals were providing better care. As a result, hospitals began to quickly improve their care. WSJ notes that this kind of data is not available in the private sector, and that if it were, private hospitals might improve their care as well.
  • President Obama: “We need your help. You know what works.” See his video appealing to feds to voice and share their ideas for his Government Reform for Competitiveness and Innovation Initiation (which everyone else calls his “reorganization initiative.”) to “make government work better for the people we serve.” Federal employees: share your ideas ( all others can just read the contributions).
  • An odd juxtaposition of stories. Here are the headlines and leads of two stories that were on Federal News Radio's website homepage earlier this week:
  1. Senior Exec Pay Raise Giveback! “222 of the government's elite Senior Executive Service have been, or soon will be, told they must give up performance-based pay raises awarded them late last year.” . . . .and . . . . Feds Rarely Denied Raise for Poor Performance. “. . only 737 out of more than 1.2 million General Schedule employees did not receive a regularly scheduled step increase and accompanying raise in 2009 because of poor performance.
  2. So, is Fed News Radio really saying that high performers get pay cuts and poor performers get pay raises?

Dan Chenok


Business of Government Radio Show: Carol W. Pope

The Business of Government Hour features a conversation about management with a government executive who is changing the way government does business. The executives discuss their careers and the management challenges facing their organizations. Past government executives include Administrators, Chief Financial Officers, Chief Information Officers, Chief Operating Officers, Commissioners, Controllers, Directors, and Undersecretaries.

Carol W. Pope has served as the Chair of the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) since early 2009.  She is the first FLRA career employee to serve as Chair and Member. 

 Each week, The Business of Government Hour interviews government executive who are changing the way government does business. The show airs four times a week on two radio stations in the DC Metro Area. If you can't wait, though, we also put it online. You can also search our audio archives for your favorite interview.