Collaborative Government: A New Report

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A joint “national issues dialogue” co-sponsored by Deloitte’s Public Leadership Institute and the National Academy for Public Administration has released its final report:  Web 2.0:  The Future of Collaborative Government.”  

 

The dialogue was held in mid-2008.  It sought to address several key collaboration challenges raised by the Governmental Accountability Office in its 2005 report on key governance challenges facing the nation in the 21st Century.  These challenges include:

 

·         How can greater coordination and dialogue across all levels of government ensure a concerted effort in addressing key national challenges?

·         How can agencies better partner on cross-cutting issues?

·         How can agencies more strategically manage their portfolio of policy tools to better achieve national outcomes?

 

Interestingly, since the dialogue session was held, these challenges have only become more urgent and timely with the advent of the financial crisis and economic recession.

 

The report identifies the potential of key Web 2.0 technologies to:

 

·         Generate bottom-up ideas to improve government

·         Collaboratively develop policy

·         Transform how government gets work done

·         Recruit the next generation of civil servants

 

In each case, the report describes what innovative agencies and programs are already doing today to make these elements a reality.

 

The project also identified barriers to greater progress by other agencies.  These barriers include poor incentives to collaborate, a culture of hierarchy that doesn’t fit well with organizational flattening, and legal limitations.  The National Academy’s CollaborationProject.org identifies several specific barriers that it is trying to help agencies overcome (see its Federal Web 2.0 Policy tab).

 

Finally, the report offers a roadmap for moving forward.  This includes recruiting a champion (and there are many in the Obama Administration!), starting with quick wins, and getting the lawyers on your side!

 

The report is timely; the Administration is soliciting ideas for developing its collaboration agenda and this report joins others in offering some priorities and a clear path forward.

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