Transition: Agencies prepare for the YouTube administration
- By Mary Mosquera
- Dec 19, 2008
Agencies should prepare to increase the transparency of their processes
and operations and use mass collaboration under the incoming Obama
administration, Lisa Schlosser, the new director of data collection in
the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental
Information, said today.
President-elect Barack Obama advocated
more openness, innovation and change in the federal government
throughout his campaign and during the transition.
an emphasis on transparency and connected democracy,” Schlosser said at
an event sponsored by the Bethesda, Md., chapter of AFCEA
International. “The Web was used extensively for campaigning and for
donations. I think we’re going to see this manifested in other ways
throughout the administration.”
Those concepts will translate
into an agenda that relies on information technology, she said, adding
that agencies need to set the stage for innovation and begin thinking
For example, the Housing and Urban Development
Department, where Schlosser was chief information officer until earlier
this month, has begun letting its employees use the video-sharing Web
site YouTube at work, she said.
Agencies will likely move toward
more transparency, such as public reporting of spending through
USAspending.gov, which provides access to federal contract and grant
award information. As a senator, Obama introduced a bill that would
expand the searchable database, Schlosser said.
likely use other computer applications to improve services, such as the
online virtual world Second Life, she said. E-government and
consolidation of back-end capabilities set the stage for government
innovation, she added.
“The future is going to be about
modernization, innovation, experimentation with new technologies and
ideas to solve business problems,” she said.
For example, the
Veterans Affairs and Agriculture departments and HUD deal with mortgage
insurance but do not work together extensively on it. She said those
agencies should devise a single solution for dealing with mortgage
insurance that all of them could use. Agencies also need to use
interactive processes and services to solicit input from citizens about
the direction of policies, she added.
HUD is going to publish 10
short videos about home mortgages and foreclosures and how to get help,
Schlosser said. The videos will be interactive so HUD can receive
feedback from users, she added.
The federal workforce and the
public will likely have higher expectations of the government under
Obama, Schlosser said. Agencies should use their intranets to provide a
collaborative environment in which employees can provide ideas that
flow through the organization, she added.
Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.