The government is not much different from any other large enterprise. It is so big, and so old, that sometimes things are done in ways that can appear silly. Anyone who’s ever worked for a company with more than a couple hundred people in it should be able to relate to this.
Processes and infrastructure get built to scale, then there’s a point at which they don’t scale anymore.
So there are a couple of resons that I think the government is ripe to adopt new collaboration tools on a massive scale.
1. Collaboration is the new scaling mechanism.
There comes a point where being isolated and self-reliant, either as an individual or as an agency, just doesn’t work anymore. The government is facing big time challenges, and we’re all depending on it to make progress. And the people inside the government (I’ve met some, they’re awsome) for the most part are ready and willing to rise to the challenge. That means they know they need to change, and will adopt what appears to work. There’s a growing field of evidence that collaboration works.
2. Collaboration is infectious.
When good collaboration software catches on, is spreads like wildfire. ASpace – the intelligence community’s facebook like community tool was originally launched to 100 users. By invite and request alone, it has grown, in five months, to over 6400 users – that’s about 64% penetration. Nobody insists that they use it.
NASA’s pilot program in collaboration was a resounding success, with 82% saying it made communications easier and more efficient. So they’re rolling out more of it.
DoD is looking to launch a similar project.
So – my bet. Collaboration will be widely adopted inside government because its necessary, and participants get immediate direct benefits from it, including finding information and expertise, having theirs recognized.
Only 2 things stand in the way. Fear and bad technology. The bad technology should be on its way out – there are enough good ( and by good, I mean usable, well-designed) products out there and on the way (ask me about BlueField going into beta shortly) that people won’t stand for garbage anymore.
Fear is a bigger issue. But as collaboration is shown to improve results, and thereby status, i have great hopes that as people LEARN the cultural ins and outs of real collaboration, this barrier too shall fall.
of , by and for the people again.