If you’re getting this note, it might be because you, like me, have spent some portion of your life — maybe years, maybe weeks — being interested in how collaboration and social media can bring people together and help build a better government from the outside in. “Government 2.0,” as it’s sometimes called, has a lot of different moving parts to it. For about the past two years, my interest and passion have been particularly drawn to public engagement: The question of how technology can enable leaders in government to hear the voices of citizens and leverage the wisdom of crowds.
That’s why I’m so excited to share the news that, as of January 11th, I’ll be joining the U.S. General Services Administration’s Office of Citizen Services and Communications. In my new role, I’ll be helping to build an initiative that’s still in its developing stages, but couldn’t come at a more important time: the GSA citizen engagement program.
GSA has long been a leader in connecting citizens to government using the Internet, and some of GSA’s recent initiatives — like go.USA.gov and the Apps.gov portal — have been some of the coolest innovations I’ve seen in enabling government to really take advantage of the ubiquity of social platforms. I’m so excited to be joining an incredible team with an incredible mission.
So what, exactly, is the mission? Well, it’s rapidly evolving — that’s part of the fun! — but it’s basically this: Over the past few years, I’ve been honored to meet hundreds of public servants who are passionate about engaging people in the work of government, and leveraging their effort and expertise to make government better. That passion deserves to be matched by easy access to the tools, resources, and best practices that can make this vision a reality. That, broadly, is our mission: Connecting people with each other, challenges with solutions, and citizens with their government.
The team is also, as the great philosopher Peter Griffin once put it, friggin’ sweet. I get to work with Bev Godwin, Dave McClure, Martha Dorris, and tons of other great folks at GSA. And, of course, the thousands of innovators across and outside of government who share this mission. I count among my colleagues a pretty amazing community.
So while it was a big decision to leave my current home at the awesome National Academy of Public Administration, I’m really excited about this new opportunity — I think I have a lot to share, and I know I have a ton to learn. It’s been an honor to be part of the Gov 2.0 movement so far, not least because of the incredible partnerships and friendships that I’ve built and hope to keep building. I can’t wait to get started.