A Look Back at the Decade: Government Tech Edition

With the closing of the decade, we thought it would be interesting to look back at the top technology headlines of 2009 and compare them to where the market is today.

Data on the Rise

Big news was the launch of data.gov in late May of 2009. The site was championed by the country's first Federal CTO, Vivek Kundra, as a way to enable citizens to access federal data. In addition to making the government more transparent, the hope was that private sector could use the massive amount of federal data in research and to create innovative programs and solutions. The site launched with 47 data sets and as of the last reporting (June 2017) it now holds approximately 200,000 datasets, representing about 10 million data resources. Beyond these numbers, data.gov's impact has been significant.

Thousands of programs can point to the site as the basis for their development. More importantly, it launched a new way of thinking in government. Agencies stopped being as territorial about their data and slowly but surely became more open to sharing it with one another and with the public as they saw what innovation can happen with simple access. In 2019, the vision of data.gov expanded with the Open, Public, Electronic and Necessary Government Data Act, requiring that nonsensitive government data be made available in machine-readable, open formats by default. Continue reading

This is the Greatest Show!

Attendees today are looking for more than an informative event. In an age where you can learn almost anything via YouTube, why would you take time out of a busy schedule to attend an event in person? It's all about the experience of learning with others and connecting with new people. Fortunately, event producers do not have to resort to bringing in elephants and fire breathers a 'la PT Barnum, there are a number of ways to drive the interactivity of events.

Many times the biggest hurdle to making a show more interactive is not technology or process, but attitude. During the planning stages, there is frequently a push-back that, "our attendees won't like that." While it is important to know your audience, a look at some basic demographics shows that most attendees (especially those going to Government-focused events) will embrace the opportunity to participate in a more interactive event.

People who were educated in the U.S. over the past 25 years were most likely exposed to "team learning." They broke into groups, discussed findings, gave presentations, and often experienced a very democratic way of learning. In childhood, the cartoons people watched talked directly to them and asked for help in problem solving - Blues Clues or Dora the Explorer broke the fourth wall of theater asking children to help find the circle. Continue reading

Declare Your Independence from Paper

Digital-first is a common mantra among government agencies today. While it's been getting more press as agencies move to improve their citizen interactions, this shift to online is nothing new.

In 2003, the Government Paper Elimination Act went into effect. In 2013, the Obama administration set out the ambitious goal of a completely paperless government by 2019. Whether or not that goal is reached, by 2019 we will be living in a society much less reliant on paper. The benefits of a paperless society are numerous and include:

  • Environmental - Less paper equals less deforestation and pollution related to the manufacture of paper.[Tweet "The benefits of a paperless society are numerous. #GovEventsBlog"]
  • Economic - According to the EPA, a paperless office saves roughly $80 per employee annually in paper-related costs, which includes not only the paper itself, but also ink, toner, storage space, postage and more. Individual employee savings are even bigger when you consider the efficiencies gained. "The ROI for Government of Going Digital Made Simple" report from IDC Government Insights found that employee salaries are the "key component for savings." Reducing the amount of time workers spend processing, storing and maintaining paper forms will have the most impact on costs. Efficiency is gained not only for those employees in charge of documents, but also for people across the organization that benefit from having simplified access to data.
  • Data Value - Going paperless also increases the security and value of the data once stashed away in dusty file cabinets. With data stored digitally, organizations can better access it to analyze trends and comply with requests for information and transparency.

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The Breakout App of SXSW and What It Means for Events

From time to time GovEvents will come across information we feel our members and audience would benefit from. Here's something we wanted to share:

Originally posted on bizbash.com

When Ed Gala, global head of events and sponsorships for Philips, arrived at South by Southwest on March 12, he had not heard of†Meerkat. That's not surprising since the free live-streaming app only launched on February 27. But what a difference a day--and an event full of avid techies--can make. Gala became a believer in the potential of Meerkat Friday morning while showing the C.E.O. of a digital strategy company around the Philips exhibit in the Austin Convention Center.

"She said, 'I'm going to Meerkat this, do you mind?' So we engaged in a live-streamed exhibit tour using Meerkat. There were about five people watching, and I was so impressed with the fact that we could take our message out and show in real time all the exciting things happening in the exhibit. Shortly after she left I thought we have to experiment with this because it's a really important tool for us to leverage moving forward," Gala says. Continue reading

Government Agencies Leading the App Economy

Originally posted on Federal Technology Insider

Government Agencies Leading the App Economy, Using Innovation to Drive Economic Growth

On May 9th†2013 President Barack Obama signed an executive order making open data in a machine readable format the new default for government. Now, just a year later millions of Americans are accessing open data through APIs. †Not only are they using data for traditional purposes, such as research, but more and more frequently they are leveraging data as the President hoped they would, to drive innovation and fuel both the app and traditional economy.

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