Editorial: Seeking the difference-makers

Although we often say this is a difficult time to be a public servant, we know that many government employees are doing good work that deserves recognition. We also know that people learn as much from successes as they do from failures.

That was part of the thinking behind the creation of the Federal 100 awards program nearly 20 years ago. The awards recognize people who have made a difference in the government’s use of information technology.

We are accepting nominations for the 2008 Federal 100 awards starting this week. The nomination form is online at www.fcw.com/fed100. The deadline is Jan. 4, 2008 — yes, right after the holidays, so plan to submit your nominations early. We have a tight schedule to follow and must give the judges time to read hundreds of nominations and choose 100 winners.

As always, we remind nominators to follow these guidelines:

  • Focus on people. The Federal 100 awards recognize individuals — not systems, projects or teams.

  • Focus on 2007. The program is not a hall of fame. Rather than recognize career achievements, it highlights work performed in the calendar year that ends in December.

  • Focus on impact, not popularity.

  • The Federal 100 awards honor the people who have had an impact. Those people might not be popular, but they must have made a difference.

  • Remember that diversity matters.

Given the nature of government, the potential winners are a diverse bunch. We are looking for nominees from federal, state and local government; industry groups; universities; Congress; the court system; and groups that provide government oversight. We are looking for people who are not only the deciders but also the influencers, leaders, thinkers and difference-makers.

We are not necessarily looking for people with fancy titles. We seek doers, the people on the front lines of government IT. Some of the winners might be well-known, but they don’t have to be, which is why we turn to you. We are looking for the people we don’t know. Nominate them. It only takes a few minutes, and it could mean that somebody will receive some much deserved recognition. In the age of social networking and the wisdom of crowds, we are looking to you to provide insights about the people who deserve recognition. Let the nominating begin.

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