Archive for government

Podcast and Screencast Results / Justification

Posted in Web2.0 Productivity with tags , , , , , , , on September 29, 2011 by Lance Strzok

So I looked over some stats with respect to the podcast and screencast work that I have been doing.

Why podcast and screencast?

Podcast – The driving factor on the podcast was primarily in understanding that there was a lot of command information coming in from across various channels. Newsletter, email, email, and announcements, internal portal, did I mention email? And to stay informed meant checking in a lot of places. The bulk of them were unclassified in nature, and could be aggregated in one location (the podcast). So why then a podcast? Part two of that question was a matter of time. Even if I knew where to look, how much time did I have to read the content of all that information? Once at work, time is usually somewhat limited, so in my quest for free time, I realized that my 1.4 hour commute was some time that I might consider sharing. As it is, I listen to a couple of stations, but for the most part, the weather, news, and market are quick, so I ended up listening to podcasts on technology and science. The point is that I gladly listened to more information because driving time was usually something I could and would easily share. Thinking this could be true for others, (average commute in DC per NPR news article is about 45 minutes each way every day), I wanted to see if people would get past the small technology barrier of getting the information from the network, onto a device that they could listen to in the car on the way to work or heading home. In this way, if we could aggregate the information for employees, and make it easy to access and listen to on time they have, they may choose to do so.

Screencast – The primary driver on the screencast was reusability. If there was a question or procedure that could be shared or demonstrated once, then people to use it to learn new skills, or be reminded of how to do it if they forget. I started to think of it as self help that people could get too before heading to the actual help desk. One of the reasons behind this was to reduce the number of classroom demonstrations I was doing, but also so I could spend my time making new content about plenty of other worthwhile topics and demonstrations. In addition to this, people could get it on demand, during their lunch break when they want to sit back in their chair and watch a “howto” video on “searching SharePoint” or one of several topics. I like to do this at home, watch a Youtube video on how to derive equations of motion while eating fried chicken. You get the point.

As for the results – just the numbers.

Over the time period of March to October;

I created roughly 21 podcasts with approximately 3445 downloads, and

I created roughly 45 screencasts, with a total of 3972 views.

On the surface, it is not apparent that I am getting the results I was looking for, and so I began to speculate about what some of the factors might be. This being driven by a recent question with regard to continuing to create them or not.

I have done a weekly podcast since about May of this year, and to date, across all the locations that I made it available, I think roughly 3200 downloads have been recorded. I have a few folks from time to time thank me for an article or two, but for the most part, those are the only numbers I can get.

I have been asking for more ideas/desired stories, in the emails that I send out with the weekly contents and to date, I have had only one person respond with a suggestion.

So what do I think were some of the challenges?

Marketing – When I asked people if they knew about it, if they were not on the weekly email list, then they did not. So I am not sure that they were being forwarded to anyone else beyond the people on the immediate list of recipients. I did not do any other marketing of my own, but in retrospect, I could have made fliers, and discussed the merits of how to effectively use it.

Accessibility – I think that having to have it on a network that required a user log in and password was a hurdle because many people just don’t want to create an account for what they view will be one benefit. Too many passwords already, and I can relate. A recommendation on this would be to grow our NIPRNET presence to allow for one log in that grants you access to email, and a few key services – one of which could be the aggregated weekly podcast.

Re-posted – I was asked to post it on a different network, and as soon as I did that, more people viewed it on the new network, but it totally defeated the premise for putting it on the original network in the first place.

Consistent – I think I lost some followership when I did not post for a week or another because I was on leave or unable to do so. This may have also been a factor.

Content – As much as I ask for ideas, I received only one in the 6 months I was making the podcasts. So the content was all original in terms of what I shared, discussed, or posted. Most of the content was stuff that employees would get in email and across disparate mechanisms, but aggregating it in the podcast seemed like a good idea.

Timing – I am not sure that our workforce today is as active in the media environment as we could be, or in my humble opinion, should be. There is also not a drive to move in that direction present, so there is only personal initiative or interest to explore alternative sharing mechanisms. Put another way, it is my belief that not many in our workforce use their smartphones to download and sync podcasts that they can listen to while they are at home. If we made this easier – it would help to demonstrate the value. I believe that over time, as more people get used to using the technology for information on demand, that this will change – but we’re just not there yet.

Now, all that being said, the question posed to me was – what kind of followership did I build up, and should this production effort be sustained?

I am afraid that I cannot answer that at this time. There is too little information to make a decision. I think the next question should be – do we market this from a leadership position, and present it as one way to aggregate information, with the option of those other mechanisms staying in place and simply using a unique identifier with those other items that would allow someone that chooses to listen to the podcast, to sort into a folder, those items that would normally end up in their input streams so that they don’t end up having to read or listen to them more than once.

As for content, the challenges that remain are getting people in those various channels of production to modify what they do only slightly to share what they are already doing, and minimize redundancy in information.

My recommendations:

With workforce input, develop a clear plan on what kind of content you want to aggregate, (added benefit of advertising this cooperatively developed product).

Host the content on the NIPRNET behind the same login as email to remove the need for separate login, and find ways to make syncing the content as easy as possible for both phone and desk/lap-top computers.

After aggregating it, tag the initial source location and products in a way that will allow people that choose to listen to the podcast to not have the information come again through the original channel – or if it does – can be auto-foldered into a location out of the workflow, (this is an effort to reduce duplication.

Revisit the content discussion on a quarterly basis, and make sure that there is a mechanism that is collocated with the download that allows for feedback and input (like – link to the podcast from a blog).

Try to get to more of an interview style podcast, not just a news podcast of someone reading the headlines. Different voices, debated views, etc… That will develop more interest and followership. In addition, if you have a section that reviews pertinent comments from the commenting mechanism – that will allow users to see how their input can effect the process and their voice can be heard.

I enjoyed the opportunity to run this experiment. I thank Jack Gumtow (CIO) for the opportunity to do this, and learn from it in doing so. I hope my sharing some of this information helps others, and I am open for questions or comments.

I would happily help anyone interested in starting or maintaining an effort similar to this one.

Cheers,

Lance Strzok

Journalists vs Analysts

Posted in Web2.0 Productivity with tags , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2011 by Lance Strzok

I get the impression that a lot of analysts try to be journalists, and it got me thinking that maybe the road ahead is to actually make journalists within the IC.

How do analysts differ from journalists? The most obvious differences are level of knowledge on a subject, and objectivity. It is my beliefthat most analysts are pretty deep in tbrms of knowledge with respect to the subject matter they write on, and as human nature would have it, they are pretty attJched to their judgments on the things that they write about and don’t necessarily seek out others to collaborate with or open theclselves up to disagreement.

Journalists on the other hand, appear to me to be openly shallow in most subject areas that th~y write on when compared to analysts,but they seem more ethically bound to deliver balanced reporting on a subject after interviewing various analysts and SME’s for onions on the matter from various angles. In this way, the various sides of the story, and the drivers and stakeholders all get some kind of view represented in the report. (Want to highlight a little with respect tel differing motives and abilities here, depth of knowledge differences, motives differences, and objectivity or cognitive dissonance impacts as well as how each potential role might yield a different result).

So taking much of what I mention above as true, I ask, “what if the Ie had journalists that were directed to write reports, with deadlines, and had to find and interview analysts across the Ie, DoD, legal, state, local, academic, and others areas in order to more fully cover a topic? That would leave more emphasis properly placed on analysts to do their job of maintaining facts and forming and defending positions, rather then writing reports and adding to the noise. In addition to this, it would tend to have a positive influence on relationships between analysts an their willingness to collaborate when they start to see the influence that their argument held up, or not, who agreed with them, who did not and why. All these are good things in my mind and might alleviate some of the agency vs agency stuff that seems to eat away at the collective effort.
Now I believe that we have the tools to author joint products, like Living Intelligence, Intellipublia, and more, but how we would task this group of Ie level Journalists is another matter to consider. I am less certain about a common tasking system that would allow the head of the journalists to direct efforts against stories in a way that would meet intelligence requirements of all those that are submitting Intelligence requirements to different requirements processes. That being said, if we were going to make this group of journalists, then we could ptobably set up some folks that know how to direct this kind of activity and are familiar with the groups out there, and the general types of requirements that are needed such that they could direct journalists to meet them.

So in short, there would be analysts, sme’s and journalists. A directing mechanism for the journalists that takes input from key stakeholders, and a truly joint product that woul:d have the names of the analysts and agencies that contributed to them, thereby reducing the number of redundant reports that are created, and fostering the kind of collaboration and solid products that I believe we should be creating as a community.
I would think that creating this group and giving them the charter and responsibilities to do this job would be more likely than analysts all across the community getting reallylgood at collaborating and sharing in that way that we have hoped. Again, the difference in motivation and bias may be slowing or preventing the achievement of the environment we are trying to create.

Cheers!
Please let me know what you think.
Lance.

Some responses from another area are below.

(Reader 1) I read a lot of topical blogs written by journalists, and I have say for many of them, I hold their analysis in higher esteem
than much of what I read in finished intelligence. Now, journalists are just as capable of having biases, but most of
them state it up front, or you can tell it by whom they are writing for. I think professional journalists are better at writing a tight storyline, keeping to the narrative, and in many cases offer interesting insights that many others would miss.

(Reader 2) I have to respectfully disagree. Some contemporary journalists seem to publish opinion pieces under the heading of articles. I have seen instances that present as the journalist going into the process of reporting with their own agenda instead of being objective. In this age of computers and instant gratification it also seems in trying to reduce the reporting to the short time span it’s presented in, the message is often distorted or lost entirely. The dearth of print media and conglomeration of newspapers further reduces the impact of responsible journalism. I am not saying this is necessarily the fault of the journalist, it’s the just the system they are forced to operate within. Don’t get me wrong, there are responsible journalists out there but there are many sloppy ones as well.
So too is the analyst field. But this is a problem of our own making. For too many years the attitude of “knowledge is
power” and each agency’s artificial stovepiping discouraged the sharing of information. This attitude became ingrained
and as we all know it is hard to change as human nature, as well as corporate mindset attests. As a result the problem
becomes not so much as how to share but in finding out who is working on what. Reinventing the wheel became
commonplace,. Then too the lack of social media skills among the older generation of analysts further compounded the
porblem.
But programs like this blog for example s~gnal a change in direction. Education is the key. The newer analysts are more
comfortable using social media in their daily life so it translates easily into their analytical practices. Now it is a matter of
“advertising” who is doing what in the various agencies so that connections can be made between analysts. In addition, no
competent analyst should be producing arliyfinished intelligence without it being vetted. This is just common sense in my opinion. Are we going to have an opinio~? Yes. Are we going to possibly resent criticism? Again, yes. This is human
nature. I truly believe the vast majority0tanalysts today get the fact that producing for production’s sake is not
appropriate. We hopefully realize each intlividual is ultimately responsible for each and every call and their decision could ultimately affect the very lives of the indiliduals using it. I would hope they would do their very best and ensure it is the most accurate infonnationlanalysis possib e. Bottom line if you are putting your name to it, don’t you want to make sure you get it right?

(Reader 3) Interesting thoughts, Lance.
Reminds me of the mix between bloggers and what they call “Developer Advocates” or what not in the software world. As
this whole Internet-hosted, “cloud” and Iaas/Paas/Saas thing has taken off, there’s a lot more direct interaction between a
company and an individual delevoper.
So where you previously had tech Journalists reporting at magazines like Dr. Dobbs, and then tech bloggers like
TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb, etc, you nor also have people working at cloud hosting companies that write articles or
screencasts on what their company provides.
I guess they are technically marketing/sales folks, but they are similar to a cross between a journalist and an analyst in that they might not be a SME, but they aren’t teallY just offering quick/shallow news articles, either.
Personally, from my limited viewpoint, I itill don’t really care for this idea of news-reporting style analysis, where an
article comes, goes and never gets update1 or pointed to again and that’s where LivingJntcJ really seems like a great idea.
But I can definitely see the need for someone who acts a a go-between for analysts who are too busy/too involved to sit
and chat it out with others every day, or ate naturally better at quiet thinking and research, versus interviewing or
collaborating across issues.
That’s why I dropped out of my own journalism ideals back in college – trying to get people to talk to me was a pain (and
scared me), whereas messing with a computer was a whole lot easier.

(Reader 4) +1 to james. Saying analysts need to be more like journalists in order to incorporate more balance is like saying chocolate needs to be more like vanilla in order to be more chocolatey.

(Reader 5) It is my belief that most analysts are pret deep in terms of knowledge with respect to the subject matte’ they write on” Man, I would love to work where you work.

Shift of viewpoint – Analyst centric to Topic centric

Posted in Web2.0 Productivity with tags , , on July 8, 2010 by Lance Strzok

I have to say that I would like to see a shift in how we approach process improvement. Some views take an analyst centric approach where the analyst comes in to do their work and works on some topics. They have some peers, but they are focused on some subject matter and is assumed to have a relatively fixed network of peers that they are believed to know. Then we figure out how to enable them in their daily activities.

I would rather approach process improvement from a topical approach where so called lanes in the road are not the driving factor in determining participation. Only that you have people with expertise that you can allocate toward a well defined requirement. Then they work individually toward becoming more effective with the tools they have access too, and the process improvement is in how we enable them and what we enable them with.

What say you?

We can do better.

Posted in Web2.0 Productivity with tags , , , , , , , , on June 8, 2010 by Lance Strzok

No matter who you put in the DNI office, they have to be willing to address the changes that have to take place within agencies and analysts. The DNI has to be empowered to directly impact the budget of the agencies that he is trying to get to work together. Otherwise you can fire all the people you put in that seat and it won’t make a bit of difference. The public has to demand more from our leadership, and from our intelligence agencies.

To say I am disappointed would be an understatement. I am frankly disturbed with the current demonstrated lack of desire (not ability) for government agencies to truly collaborate on articles and issues regarding our national interests.

Family, friends, and fellow taxpayers deserve better from the Intelligence Community (IC) and government agencies that are sworn to guide and protect our great nation. Taxpayers pay taxes every year with the idea that the money they give to the government will be spent on programs that have well defined requirements, have little waste, and are realistic in scope and timeliness.

Watching the news we see glimpses of failures to recognize key information that was available across the various government agencies or agency databases that may have allowed a given atrocity to have been avoided. This followed by finger pointing and general denial of responsibility when something happens. I see databases at individual agencies that are created using government funds and then treated like they somehow belong to that agency. Rather then storing that information centrally where it can be searched, mashed, and relationships can be formed, they sit on servers within disparate agencies with the hope that access to those data can be logged and metrics can be made on how useful that database or information is so that a business case for its continued use can be justified. This of course inherently reduces its usefulness and timeliness and the ability for computer systems (that don’t sleep) to find relationships in mountains of data. Do agencies own their databases? Or did taxpayer dollars pay for them with the idea that they would be shared and used by all in an effort to protect our nation?

So put those mountains of data, (databases) in a central location where computers can apply artificial intelligence and pattern recognition on all of that data simultaneously and alert analysts to relationships that are found or that may exist with flags that denote a need for a given analyst to be granted access in order to find out the details of that relationship.

By moving the data into a shared environment, we can allow computers to find relationships and share those relationships and relevancy with the analysts that are interested in that information. We won’t have to rely on humans to detect it, and share it. You see, the sharing part of this is where I believe we are coming up short.

So why is it that sharing is so difficult within these communities? Well there are several reasons.

Policies – that state which organizations can share what with others, and also define the protection of databases and information.

History – of keeping secrets in the case of of the intelligence community. A long history of doing our best to keep secrets and protect databases of information under terms like “national security”, or “need to know”. These ideas served us well, but are they actually working? I would argue that they are not as effective as we may imagine, and that we may want to start to outpace our adversaries rather then spend so much time and effort trying to protect every bit of information so zealously. That is an entire debate that deserves another post all together.

Culture – where the people that know information seem to have more value and bring more value to an organization. Knowledge is power, and your pay is based on what you know and what you bring to the table. Rather then what you know and how you share it in ways that others can benefit from it. This continues to be a problem, fueled with a pay for performance system that (if done incorrectly) could lead to ever tighter lips when it comes to sharing.

In short, we will have to address the policies, historical vs current sharing ideology, and the culture of perceived value in knowledge sharing vs knowledge hording and the value that either idea brings to an organization.

Once we have the culture of appropriate sharing, shared situational awareness on items of interest within a community of interest, and technology supporting the sharing the awareness across unified data stores then we may see a more realistic environment for stopping future attempts at causing the US harm.

Another area ripe for improvement is where do we write about the things we know and understand?

Currently, each agency has its own process for vetting and releasing reports or products that get some sort of seal of approval (which just means it completed a vetting process that can be as shallow as one person deep). They also each have a production group, or division of folks that move these products through a process, then publish them to some server (again, may or may not be seachable or indexed). By the time the information has gone through the process, the information may be a little old, or been overcome by events. This group and process is intended to bring a sense of authority to the documents, and once the document or information has the command seal added, it is available to the rest of the consumers to apply to their problem set. These reports are now something that can be referenced and in some cases, only these documents can be used or referenced for making decisions with regard to acquisition. This is another area where we need to take a good look at policy and see if there is room for a joint product, not just agency products that can get a seal of approval.

The idea that the smartest people on any given topic exist in one building is just not realistic. acquisition communities should be able to find joint products that reflect what communities of interest have to say about the topic at hand. They should not have to be bound to one agencies opinion, but able to use the opinion of the members across the community that work that issue. Simply put, if I offered you a report by one agency that has 4 people that looked it over and contributed to it, and one that an entire community worked on collaboratively to create, which one would you choose?

So the question always comes up on the vetting process for these collaborative documents. What rigor is there? What process? How can the consumer know that a given product has any more or fewer errors then a product created by a single agency and put through their process? Put another way, how can we know that a product that had 15 contributors from across the community and was read by many more as it was being created is any more accurate for making decisions then one that is created by 4 people at a single agency that goes through that agencies process?

Bottom line, we need to demand that our Intelligence Community act more like a community than a group of competing agencies, and empower those that are trying to change the culture of collaboration and analysis from agency specific to that of one IC supporting decision makers. Not 16 agencies trying to tell their own version of the story. Huge change has to take place, and it won’t happen unless the public is demanding it. Otherwise, no matter who you put in the DNI’s chair, it won’t matter because the agencies can just wait him or her out and go on with business as usual. So empower the DNI to directly impact budgets, and force documentation of actual collaboration and proven steps of change with embedded liaisons. Make intelligence production occur in a collaborative space that is open to all of the people that work that issue and have the appropriate credentials to work with that information at the lowest level possible. Take production down to the analysts level, and have it created and published in an open, accessible, collaborative forum. Build communities of interest, foster and reward superior contributions and products that have the touch of many hands and minds.

These are real, and achievable steps that we can take to move us toward a more focused and efficient Intelligence apparatus.

Constructive comments always appreciated.

A plan to motivate – Directing components within an enterprise.

Posted in Web2.0 Productivity with tags , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2010 by Lance Strzok

Some perceived problems up front.

One leading agency wants to lead or direct changes across the other agencies, but has limited number of ways to motivate those agencies to change. The largest motivator may be financial incentives / or withholding, that can be offered to those commands that can prove alignment and conformance.

Most agencies are motivated by internal problems and solutions, and don’t understand the need for the certain changes that will align the entire enterprise for success. Lack of understanding and financial constraints drive decisions to local needs. There is no education or representation of the greater enterprise needs at the local command level.

Individuals within a command that have ideas that are not conformal with the commands point of view may be reluctant to press to hard for these enterprise level alignment changes for fear of reprisal in any form.

Idea on what to do.

Have at least one individual at each agency that is an embedded member from the directing agency. These members belong to the directing agency, but sit in a local command or agency.
Since they don’t belong to the local command, they can deliver the news from the directing agency without fear of retribution or getting fired.
Their performance appraisals are based on achieved changes that are documented and returned to the directing command each month.
This person is motivated to engage the local command to make the changes and advise the local command of efforts they can make in order to receive funds.
The local command is motivated to listen to the directing agencies representative because that representative recommends the funds to be sent to the agency based on the local commands efforts to align and with the directing agency.

I see this as win, win, win – because the directing agency gets influence at local commands, the local commands have someone to listen to and get direction from, while the local command representation has top cover and can deliver the news without fear of retribution.

The local reps need to be fairly senior and have personable and good communication skills.

Have any comments or thoughts on how this could be better? Do you think it could work?

As always, thanks for reading.
Your comments and constructive criticism are welcome.

Why a joint publishing environment?

Posted in Web2.0 Productivity with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2010 by Lance Strzok

The urgency on this issue is because everyday that passes, another “collaboration site” gets created within our enterprise (government) which serves to divide collaborators that work specific topics.

This is bad because for fast, accurate, and rich content, we want the greatest number of collaborators to apply their considerable depth of knowledge to fewer products and knowledge bases which enable decision makers (political or tactical) to make the most informed decisions as quickly as possible.

Example situation:

Twenty people across the enterprise (DOD, IC, and other governmental bodies with access to the network) have expertise on a subject, but are not necessarily geographically located near one another.

From blog_pics

Twenty people (collaborators) across five companies or (agencies) that typically write on a given subject or topic. Four people at each of the five companies.

From blog_pics

Each of the five companies creates its own collaborative environment for its local employees with some limited ability to share with external collaborators. This could be a Mediawiki site, Sharepoint site, Lotus Notes, or any similar collaboration environment (Collaorative software list).

Each of the four members at each of the five companies use their companies collaborative environment to collaborate on their individual product on the same topic.

From blog_pics

Five “collaborative products” are created, with four primary contributors to each product.

A decision maker (political or tactical) may receive all five products on which to make a decision, and the burden of analysis is put on the decision maker (with less expertise on a topic) rather than on the community of practice where that expertise exists.

From blog_pics

What we want to do is put one product in front of a decision maker that represents the collaborative efforts of the community of practice on that topic (all twenty people), and allow them to make decisions based on that information. The richness and depth of knowledge applied to one document where the differences and facts are agreed upon (or highlighted when not) and available as a product and a living knowledge resource.

From blog_pics

Although there are several publishing and knowledge management products in use across the services and agencies, many of these systems are not shared, nor do they allow for collaboration outside of their component in an effective way. The data and products as well as those items in production are not discoverable by the other components and the costs to maintain each of these systems is considerable. Even if each component wanted to share their databases and information, it would be technically challenging based on the varied systems in use.

Intellipublia is authoring and knowledge management software that enables joint production of products and knowledge management on topics across the entire enterprise (where the enterprise contains all of the agencies, commands and DOD components). All of which can use Intellipublia to create component specific products, or collaborate on joint products. Additionally, members at any component can discover, and contribute or comment on any product that is in draft, or completed.

Intellipublia takes the worldwide scalability of Wikipedia (Mediawiki software) and has been modified to work as a production system that has many features of modern production expectations“.

Intellipublia is operational, as well as still accepting requirements for improvement.

The most notable features are:
* Web based and accessible from any computer on the network
* Scalable to millions of users
* Changes are tracked and attributable and commented
* Notification mechanisms for various aspects of user activities
* Produce validated XML for registration with the Library of National Intelligence IAW ICD 501
* Static html output for local server usage
* Searchable, linkable, taggable, extensible, and has RSS output

In conclusion, I wish to convey that within an enterprise as large as ours, where knowledge on any topic exists in more then one component, it is imperative that we drive collaborators to fewer collaborative spaces in order to maximize collaborative effects and achieve decision superiority while reducing duplication in both products and knowledge databases. This means making a joint decision on which environments we are going to use, followed with how we will integrate them, regardless of the environment or software tools that we settle on.

As always, thank you for reading, and I would appreciate your candid and constructive feedback.

Think Topically – Work Topically

Posted in Web2.0 Productivity with tags , , , , , , , on March 31, 2010 by Lance Strzok

Some very important values and ideas have been simmering for a number of years in the collaborative spaces across the government. The idea of “Thinking Topically – Not Organizationally” is one of the longest standing and has more meaning the longer I work in these collaborative tools. The discussion and approach below is being presented in an effort to avoid the “1000 silos of collaboration” which is slowly beginning to erode the base of a more true and genuine collaborative infrastructure that already exists, and simply needs to be more fully understood and utilized.

This article focuses on implementing a “topic” centric approach that enables better communication and collaboration across the various domains, and between the 16 agencies in our enterprise.

There are three major pieces to understand.

1. People as “Sensors on a network”. On any given topic, there are those that work it directly, and those that work it indirectly. How we find and organize the people that work that issue is described in another article, but as those groups form networks, it helps to think of them as sensors on a network, and links among the networks. All the people involved in these networks are spread across various agencies, academia, and the contracting world.

Three starting ideas

These networks have the technology to organize, and share information on topics that are important to them. By linking and enabling them to work together on issues of common concern up front, we have the potential to provide well rounded thoroughly vetted reports to our customers that highlight differences and agreements on content contained in the reporting. We also could reduce considerable overlap, time and money wasted on individual agency production that creates multiple products on any given topic and leaves it to the customer to find and identify among several reports the information they are looking for and the agreement and disagreement between the various articles. The unfortunate part is that often, the customers don’t have the time or resources to read and interpret the information provided to them. I would also argue that is what we should be doing on the front end. (Taxpayers should read this as “waste and duplication”).

2. A workflow that allows for the reduction in time consumed by each sensor on the network independently discovering, aggregating, sharing, documenting and producing on that information. In this process, each sensor puts their finds on the topic into a bin with all the others, and software within the bin recognizes duplication and removes the additional document, but adds a one up number and username to the suggested file which could be used in helping to determine value to the other team members. Additional software could be run against the data in the storage area looking for relationships, or add some natural language processing (NLP) techniques as well as a way to divide up the articles between members for review, or allow reviewers to rate and comment on the content as well as suggest whether it goes into the trash or needs to be used to update an assessment or start a new one.

3. Work topically by way of Community Of Interest pages. A shining attribute of one of our tools is the concept of a workspace. However, A-space is not available to the entire 16 agency enterprise. But the idea and functionality of a workspace can exist using tools already available at each agency and on all three domains (ICES services). It may not be as elegant, but at this point in our development as fellow collaborating agencies, the concept of a workspace can be achieved using a wiki page, a document management system, social bookmarking, a common publishing environment, a twitter like tool, and other supporting tools already available across the enterprise.

Having now identified the major pieces of the discussion, how is this supposed to work?

Why is this important? (Who has the time and responsibility to do this?) Do the customers have the time or responsibility to discover, read, disambiguate, and deliver best info to their decision makers? Is that their job?

What can we save for us, and our customers?

What can we do right now?

I have discussed this several times in the course I give, but I am looking to improve the model and the approach. All comments or idea would be appreciated. Thanks.