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FCW Insider: Welcome to the newest government CIO bloggers

Earlier this year, Robert Carey, the Navy Department CIO, became the first CIO to host a public blog. His blog can be found at www.doncio.navy.mil/Blog.

Carey is getting some company in the blogosphere.

Last week, at 1105 Government Information Group's Government Leadership Summit, GSA CIO Casey Coleman announced that she will be launching a public blog this summer. And I pointed to EPA CIO Molly O'Neill, who recently wrote about her Web 2.0 views on the EPA blog, Greenversations.

Down here at ACT/IAC's Management of Change conference, I ran into NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's Linda Cureton, who has become the third CIO to post to a public blog. It has a horrible URL: blogs.nasa.gov/cm/blog/Goddard%20CIO%20Blog. (NASA lists all of its blogs here... UPDATE: NASA Goddard folks let me know — through a comment below — that there is a better URL: http://cio.gsfc.nasa.gov/blog.)

Cureton's first post is headlined The Art of Change Management. I don't usually repost items because I like to encourage people to go visit the sites themselves, but here is an excerpt.

When we become CIOs, we are typically asked to fix some pervasive problem: IT Security, OMB Compliance, failing projects, etc. Lately, I’ve been quoting Teen Talk Barbie, who if she were a CIO today, would say, “Being a CIO is hard!” versus “Math is hard!” As CIOs, we have to take the time to understand the environment that we work in. We need to understand the needs of our customers, constituents and stakeholders in order to help them along the needed technology, cultural and process changes. Without the understanding and without the requisite change-leadership skills, a CIO will beat her head against a brick wall for nine months, turn around and pound the other side for nine months, then quit.

Change leadership is about transforming an organization — through people, processes, and technology — toward some needed improvement or in a new and challenging direction. The art of successfully doing this will energize an entire organization to WANT to go in the desired direction.

It is interesting because when I urge CIOs to blog, they generally say something akin to, 'Who would read it? Why would anybody want to hear what I have to say?' And, frankly, the response really surprises me. I keep saying that I don't think blogs are an end place — in fact, I doubt we'll be talking about blogs five years from now — but I think they can be a powerful way to communicate, to build teams, to get ideas, to explain decisions and to get buy-in. Again, the concept underlying many of these Web 2.0 tools is that all of us are smarter than any of us individually. So by putting ideas, thoughts, concepts, draft policies, concepts out there, you tap into the wisdom of... well, potentially everybody. It can spur a collaborative discussion on a topic. So I think they can be an empowering tool.

And I will again quote Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz, who hosts his own blog, when he said that his blog is the one place where he can speak to everybody — staff, customers, competitors, shareholders... everybody.

At the summit, we had a session featuring government bloggers. We featured Carey, Coleman and John Kamensky of the IBM Center for the Business of Government, which has done an excellent report on blogging in government called The Blogging Revolution: Government in the Age of Web 2.0. [.pdf]. Kamensky also posts to an IBM Center blog about the presidential transition, which is part of the IBM Center's larger project focusing on the transition.

Last month, I pulled together some of my recommendations about blogging as somebody who has been doing it for three years now. My biggest recommendation is work your blog into your business so it doesn't become an additional thing that you have to do. Working on a speech? Blog your notes and research. Get a question from somebody? Respond to them — and use it as a blog post. If somebody took time to send you an e-mail message about something, there are many others who have the same question but didn't send the e-mail message.

As I suggested, I don't think blogs are an endpoint. On the contrary, they are a starting point, but they are an excellent way to spur transparency and involve your people in why the organization does what it does.

So just do it, and kudos to those who are doing it. I think this is an opportunity to learn a lot on a number of fronts.

Posted by Christopher J. Dorobek on Jun 11, 2008 at 12:17 PM


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