Editorial: The collaboration era

After years of talking about the woes of stand-alone systems, there is almost a palpable sense that we are entering a new era.

The fundamental principle of Web 2.0 — that all of us are smarter than any one of us — is at the heart of our increasingly networked government and society.

All that change is empowering.

It can also be terrifying because it requires agencies to approach issues in dramatically new ways.

However, the real power of information comes when it is shared.

The activity on the government 2.0 front gives us hope for several reasons.

First, the people involved with government 2.0 projects share a passion for their work, and they have made remarkable progress in a short time. They have a twinkle in their eyes, and that twinkle is infectious. Success spurs people to try new ways of doing things, and they are breaking down barriers that previously seemed insurmountable.

Second, there has been remarkable leadership in this area.

The government’s reputation for avoiding risk doesn’t seem to be true here. Specifically, Dave Wennergren, the Defense Department’s deputy chief information officer, has emerged as one of the most dynamic leaders.

There are others, including Molly O’Neill, CIO at the Environmental Protection Agency; Kip Hawley, the administrator of the Transportation Security Administration; Robert Carey, the Navy Department’s CIO; and Dan Mintz, the Transportation Department’s CIO. Those leaders decided to test new ideas, and they deserve special recognition and accolades for being explorers in this brave new world. They have given their teams the permission to try — and possibly even fail.

That attitude drives organizations to work even harder.

Finally, we ought to recognize the work being done by the National Academy of Public Administration and New Paradigm, a think tank in Toronto. They are helping agencies mitigate any potential risks.

Government 2.0 is still at an early stage, but we are hopeful that the technology will foster better government and governing.

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