Engaging e-Citizens in Dynamic Conversation

Engaging e-Citizens in Dynamic Conversation

The ongoing ‘digital revolution’ gives rise to the emergence of truly social media, in which the vast majority of information exchanges are conducted by individuals acting in private, rather than institutional, capacities. As participation has steadily increased, the technical capacity to communicate with almost anyone, regardless of location, breeds an expectation that most individuals will regularly engage in these communications.

Commercial interests, keen on reaching potential customers, have played to this expectation and devoted considerable resources toward engaging active and responsive e-citizens through social media. Government agencies, weighted with the responsibility of representing the collective will of the people, have been much slower to dive in. Recognizing this shortcoming, President Obama ordered federal agencies to embrace Open Government, including greater direct public engagement.

Although Federal Twitter accounts remain largely limited to Web 1.0-style one-way dissemination, they have started to engage citizens in direct conversation. The Coast Guard now approvingly comments on people displaying its decal on their cars, TSA clarifies whether you’re allowed to carry on hummus, and Customs and Border Protection fields questions about bringing medication into the United States. The Federal Emergency Management Agency uses IdeaScale to solicit citizen ideas and back-and-forth discussion. The White House petitions site has become famous for providing a forum through which the common person can receive a response from the highest levels of government, whether about vital topics or the feasibility of constructing a Death Star.

At the same time, challenges abound. Extreme and irrelevant comments inundate Federal Facebook pages and Youtube entries, while concerns and uncertainty over what might constitute government censorship constrain efforts at administrator moderation.

As the expectation of government online engagement with its citizens grows, agencies need to devote increasing attention and resources to such efforts. This can’t be merely a gesture or formality. It should be an integral part of policy planning and vetting.

Tapping into companies that understand the Federal Government’s customers and have had success in engaging e-Citizens is an essential tool in moving from information delivery to a dynamic conversation.

Contributors

Dmitriy Zakharov |

Dmitriy is a Consulting Manager presently leading a strategic foresight and planning project. He holds a BSFS in International Politics and an MA in Security Studies, both with a concentration in International Security. Dmitriy has extensive experience conducting outreach with a wide range of audiences and stakeholders, from senior government leaders to the general public. He has also worked in organizational analysis and design, enterprise data analytics, change management, and leadership transition support. In addition to client delivery, Dmitriy helps lead Arc Aspicio’s strategy consulting efforts, including the Strategy Innovation Lab (SILab). He has managed numerous community service and social events for the company and regularly provides counsel on new business and emergency management topics.

Workplace Morale is Going to the Dogs… Literally!

Workplace Morale is Going to the Dogs… Literally!

There are few greater feelings than a dog’s unconditional love. And some are finding that a dog’s love can help combat stress at work. Secretary Zinke of the Interior Department announced his intent for "Doggy Days" where he encouraged employees to bring their canine companions to work on designated days. More than 80 dogs arrived for first event and the overjoyed employees immediately scheduled the next.

Accelerating FITARA Compliance: Five Steps That Leaders Can Take Today

Accelerating FITARA Compliance: Five Steps That Leaders Can Take Today

Implementing change is not always easy, but it is always necessary. Federal agencies have been working to transform how they acquire and manage Federal information technology (IT). The Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) in December 2014 has increased visibility into this transformation.Although FITARA enhances the authority and accountability of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) in reviewing and approving major IT investment projects, CIOs continue to look for new ways to implement best practices at their agencies.

Combating the Rise of Transnational Criminal Organizations

Combating the Rise of Transnational Criminal Organizations

Crime, corruption, and violence – particularly involving drug, human, and weapons trafficking – continue to increase at an alarming rate in the U.S. Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs) are a critical part of this trend and pose a serious and growing threat to homeland security – at our borders and beyond.U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is at the tip of the spear to combat TCOs. With the context that the first goal in their Vision and Strategy 2020 Strategic Plan is Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime, CBP is focusing on disrupting TCOs responsible for the cross-border trafficking of illegal drugs, humans, and guns.

Design Thinking: Putting the Citizen at the Heart of Lasting Change

Design Thinking: Putting the Citizen at the Heart of Lasting Change

For the past few decades, there has been a growing increase in the digital channels available to network with the Federal government. These channels have made it easier for the public to interact and elicit responses from elected officials.These growing interactions have increased expectations for Government to be more transparent and collaborative. From the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to the Department of State (DOS), Design Thinking transformations have begun to develop and modernize programs to be more human-centered. Agencies and programs beholden to serve the public good should logically adopt a problem-solving mindset that places the individual at the heart of any lasting changes.

Using Behavioral Science to Improve Mission Outcomes

Using Behavioral Science to Improve Mission Outcomes

Although behavioral science has been studied and applied within academia for decades, recently the concept has emerged everywhere – from Silicon Valley tech giants such as Google and Uber, to various Government agencies including the Department of Education, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Agriculture.But defining and applying such a broad and sometimes-nebulous discipline can prove difficult. What exactly is behavioral science? How can the Government use the concepts and lessons learned effectively?

Homeland Security Managers = Innovative Leaders

Homeland Security Managers = Innovative Leaders

The search for and implementation of innovative methods to protect the homeland should play an important role in homeland security managers’ approach to how they guide their organizations. Citizens expect government leaders to propose and implement organizational, acquisition, and personnel management practices that enhance our nation’s ability to prepare for and mitigate potential threats. They expect these to make them safer and the nation more secure.

Exploring the Known: Empowering Innovation by Working Out Loud

Exploring the Known: Empowering Innovation by Working Out Loud

Sharing in-progress work with others – your team, your client, your leaders – can be a daunting prospect. It can also be a great way to share lessons learned, drive quality into everything we do, and build trust. Working Out Loud is “a practice that combines conventional wisdom about relationships with modern ways to reach and engage people”. 

Leaders by Design (Thinking)

Leaders by Design (Thinking)

At Arc Aspicio, our very best assets are our people. In 2017, we introduced a program called the ‘Leaders by Design’ aimed at growing future leaders of our firm in a peer group setting. Leaders by Design is a customized experience for Senior Associates within the company to develop leadership skills and grow professionally and personally by interacting with others with similar experiences and also with senior leaders. The Peer Group is a co-investment to focus on collective growth and development – this means the company invests money and time in developing the training and the growing leaders also invest personal time.

Organization Redesign: Is the Cure Worse than the Ailment?

Organization Redesign: Is the Cure Worse than the Ailment?

According to a popular management joke, new executives should blame their predecessors when facing their first crisis.  When facing their second crisis, they should reorganize everything. Jokes are funny when they’re seen as plausible. Reorganizations show action, produce change, and create opportunities for new leadership. However, are reorganizations worth the disruption?

Arc Aspicio to Host Design Thinking Forum: Creating the Future of Government on June 21

Arc Aspicio to Host Design Thinking Forum: Creating the Future of Government on June 21

Washington, DC, June 7, 2017 — Arc Aspicio plans to host an inaugural Design Thinking Forum featuring a discussion on how Federal leaders can innovate solutions to create the future of Government. Design Thinking is a human-centered innovation process that emphasizes observation, collaboration, fast learning, visualization of ideas, rapid concept prototyping, and concurrent business analysis, which ultimately generates innovation and increased mission outcomes.

Firefighters Show You Can Develop a Strategy While Fighting Fires

Firefighters Show You Can Develop a Strategy While Fighting Fires

“Employees at all levels are too busy ‘doing their jobs’ and ‘fighting fires’ to devote time or pay heed to strategic initiatives.” It’s a common complaint. Academic literature has confirmed that ‘firefighting’ takes up much of the manager’s job and offers extensive advice on how to stop fighting fires – and even how to suppress the urge to do so.

The SILab: An Invitation to Embrace Innovation

The SILab: An Invitation to Embrace Innovation

Government agencies and businesses must embrace innovation and strategic thinking to keep up with today’s changing society, rising demands, and complex problems. Encouraging organizations to fully adopt innovative thinking, however, is difficult. Organizations are often focused on their daily activities and have limited time to discover new approaches. In addition, employees often choose to stay with proven, mainstream solutions because they fear wasting resources or failure. 

Putting the Mission First in a Leader’s Agency Reform Plan

Putting the Mission First in a Leader’s Agency Reform Plan

Agency leaders have more than a little to do these days. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released guidance for implementing Executive Orders and Presidential Memoranda on Federal management and human capital. The Comprehensive Plan for Reforming the Federal Government and Reducing the Federal Civilian Workforce (M-17-22) directs agencies to create comprehensive plans to enhance mission focus, streamline operations, and improve workforce effectiveness and efficiency.

SharePoint: Unique Solutions for Homeland Security Partners

SharePoint: Unique Solutions for Homeland Security Partners

As information sharing has become more common across local, state, and federal agencies, homeland security partners need tools to manage this critical data. SharePoint has emerged as an information sharing tool that can assist emergency managers, law enforcement agencies, and others across the homeland security enterprise with the sharing of sensitive data with internal and external partners, quickly and securely.