SCVA in Government: The Value Proposition for Gov 2.0

While SCVA is a corporate valuation and management method, its principals equally apply to government, health care, education and beyond.  All of our traditional institutions are being re-architected around broadband empowered individuals.

Last week I hosted a discussion about how to advocate for the adoption of more productive government that utilizes the full potential of the internet at GovCamp Toronto.  Thank you to Julia Stowell, Omar Rashid and Mark Kuznicki for inviting about 125 of us across the community to come together.

There was great representation from the City of TorontoHere is a shot of city CIO Dave Wallace sitting beside me while I invited participants to join in my discussion thread:

The Value Proposition for Gov 2.0: Outsourcing Risk

The description:

Governments are risk averse . Traditionally there has been very little upside potential for those involved in public service to attack something out of the ordinary. Change is methodical, reactionary – made by attrition. This is the world of late adoptors.

This is a difficult mode for coping with the complex problems of our times and rapid change required to embrace Gov 2.0 (if we would would like to, for example, take advantage of moments of change to maintain or improve Canada’s position in the world).

Perhaps there is an appeal in the prospect of open data?

Governments are the custodians and regulators and third parties are the innovators and risk takers. Whatever works governments can follow and the essential experiments that turn out to be learning experiences will be played out with the investment of third parties, not tax payers.

Are any of these assumptions true? What is the right language to frame these dynamics in terms acceptable to everyone involved?

The session was an opportunity to continue the conversation along these lines that have evolved as a consistent theme for me since the first ChangeCamp.

I had great exchanges with about a dozen different open gov enthusiasts from across government.  I feel comfortable in reporting that yes, this notion that embracing Gov 2.0 as a risk averse strategy, has the potential to resonate within bureaucratic and political circles.  It could be part of messaging that will appeal to late adopters and perhaps get those first trials off of the ground.

What’s next? Was the question that we bounced around the room to wrap up the three hour unconference.

Here are the additional thoughts that emerged at our table:

1. “We have a full plate.” or “We just do not have resources to try that.” These are likely the number one kind of objection that you will hear across departments.  Listen carefully.

Gov 2.0 offers the promise of solutions that share and scale.  Most often, Gov 2.0 is not about adding new lines of service, it is about doing the same things in different, more productive ways.  In most cases, it would be a waste of resources to roll out another year of doing the same old thing without looking for ways to incorporate the internet into routines.

What you may be hearing is code for, “We don’t know how.”, “That sounds risky.”, “We don’t get rewarded for taking on things that are new.”.

2. In his opening comments David Eaves pointed out, there is a long history and many cases where governments have committed to a policy of transparency and/or public reporting in Canada.  Perhaps the #govcamp community can make an effort to examine the decisions that were made to release data and become more transparent in the past, note the reasons why and look for opportunities to apply that rationale to convince governments to apply it in new areas.

3. Tabling an ill considered RFP can be a public relations disaster for government.  Opening up the development of the RFP can help reduce this risk and lead to more progressive ideas being incorporated into governments’ competitive processes.

4. A few times our discussion came back to the need for boiler plate policy and guidelines that can be adopted across government.  We talked about why it is unlikely that anything like Obama’s Memorandum on Transparency will materialize in Canada in the immediate future and there was some enthusiasm that the #govcamp community could lead the development of expectations through the creation of open source guidelines, similar to the resources developed in corporate American by the Social Media Business Council.

Social Capital Value Add in Health Care: Mom’s Losing Battle with Cancer

The principals of Social Capital Value Add have wide application and I think that the health care sector, due to a combination of necessity and opportunity, is going to experience some remarkable changes.

As many close to me know, I dedicated as much time as possible last year to support my Mother (and my Dad) through her losing battle with lung cancer.

It was an eye opening experience.

(Side note: It was also the reason why blogging here was scarce & my personal investment in the development of SCVA has been put on the back burner.)

How little we really know.

How, despite noble intentions, the health care system we experienced ultimately leaves the patient and family responsible for managing care or at least they need to be their own champions in the positioning for limited resources and attention to detail.

I am sure that you can imagine how I felt about the inefficiencies of simple information sharing across nursing shifts.  Now consider this against the backdrop of governments banning use of social media in the workplace and more critically, the possibility of having real time, universal authorized access to all patient information across several hospitals, doctors’ offices, diagnostic and treatment centres.

In truth, outcomes for my Mother would not likely have been dramatically different.  We do not have a cure for cancer.  Through a lot of old fashioned community support, everyone pulled together and I feel she received excellent treatment.  For that I am very grateful to everyone involved.

Nevertheless, it is obvious that as the we try to attend to more people with limited resources there are going to be completely new methods or increasingly gaping failures of our health care system.

I would encourage everyone to take time out to watch this video of Canada’s perennial tech talk master, Don Tapscott.  It was my Mom who way back when gave me Don’s first book, Paradigm Shift as a Christmas gift and in a way turned me on to all this “junk”.  It is the first time that he presented the key ideas from his forthcoming book, “MacroWikinomics“.

In particular, I suggest that those of you who are interested in learning more about the change unfolding within the health care sector pick up Don’s talk at the 52:00 mark.  He opens by describing the health care system as the number three killer in the United States.  He then goes on to describe a collaborative health care system. He finishes with health care at 59:50.

It is an eight minute vision of how health care is going to change.  Must change.

Key elements:

1. Patients get to engage in rich communities related to their health. Isolation is a risk factor.

For more insight on this you should check out Dr. Nicholas Christakis’ 2010 TedTalk on how social networks shape our lives or his book Connected.

2. Idea whose time has come: When you are born the system opens up a web page for you that is sort of like a Facebook for healthcare … half healthcare file and half social network.

3. These health care networks will generate massive amounts of new data to aid the advancement of science and treatment.

4. Healthcare workers (doctors & nurses) engage in communities in a new way.  Less parochial.  To enable this you would need to solve the threat of litigation.  Patients become active and accountable for their health care and they will be very willing to do so.  Being involved is part of getting better.

The example that Don gives: http://www.patientslikeme.com.

The example that I have mentioned while teaching classes or leading workshops is Upopolis at Sick Kids Hospital.

Intel Fellow Eric Dishman has another great health care TedTalk that is well worth watching here.