So we’re finally back from Gov 2.0 Summit in Washington, D.C. We had an amazing time meeting many of you and talking about the exciting opportunities ahead – Both for IdeaScale as well as many Federal and State/Local agencies feedback and crowdsourcing efforts to make Goverment a Platform.
I wanted to distill some of the conversations that we’ve had with many agency representatives and give all of you an idea of where we are and our future direction.
Free License for Civic Engagement
We’ve decided to formalize and operationalize an IdeaScale License tailored and designed specifically for Gov Agencies – Federal, State and Local. So far we’ve made this available on an Ad-Hoc and case by case basis, but as of today we will allow any Gov Agency to use IdeaScale for free – We are calling this the IdeaScale Civic Engagement License. Most of you on this list already have this license – but just in case details on this :
Open ID – Single Signon – Integration
A recurring theme has been around OpenId/Single Signon using OpenID and Drupal. I have had personal conversations with many of you around this and want to let you know that we take this seriously. We will be putting our heads to work over the next couple of weeks to come up with a series of solutions. Our initial goal is to make IdeaScale work seamlessly with a Drupal Installation so users do not have to login multiple times. We will also be working on integrating with other OpenID providers (Google, Yahoo etc.) as well as other social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace.
Best Practice and Recommedations
One of the themes that I heard was to create a specific set of guidelines and recomendations for best-practice for launching crowdsourcing initiatives. We have some internal recomendation (that work on the commercial side) but then like all good things – Gov Initiatives have their own set of challenges. I have talked to Lena Trudeau (NAPA) about sharing such details with with the rest of us so we all can learn from it. Here are some brief issues that we all should consider:
- Moderation Policy – Have a clear moderation policy and explain that to the end-user.
- Seed Ideas from an internal audience before launch
- Phased Rollout – Invite key (and trusted) members of the communitty to begin the engagement process and then roll it out to the larger userbase (blog post, twitter/fb update)
- Enable Twitter integration and create/resuse a hashtag. Monitor the twitter hashtag very closely.
Moderation Vs. Speech Suppression
This is obviosly a very sensitive issue and there are a few enhancements that we think we can do to make life easier for everyone:
- Have a link that displays all the ideas/comments that have been “flagged” – this will allow users to get to the flagged ideas, but they will not be visible on the front page.
- The same can apply to comments also.
Upload Vidoes / You Tube Integration
Another idea that was discussed was the ability for users to upload videos as part of the idea submission process. YouTube has an API and we probably can piggy back on that to allow for that functionality.
Here are some links to implementations of IdeaScale that are live – this will give you an idea of how agencies are using IdeaScale. We have a few other projects that are on track, but since they are not public yet, we can’t share more. We will share more of them on next month’s update.
- http://broadband.ideascale.com (FCC)
- http://opengov.ideascale.com (OSTP)
TOS Agreement with GSA
I know some of you are aware of this, but I wanted to point out and reiterate that IdeaScale and many other Web 2.0 sites – Flickr, YouTube etc. have signed a Terms Of Service Amendment Agreement with the GSA as a template for engagement with Federal Agencies. If your agency does not already have this executed with IdeaScale we’ve put a very simple and effecient process for doing this : Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. So far the following Federal Agencies have ToS agreements:
- Executive Office of the President (EOP)
- General Services Admin (GSA)
- Federal Communication Commission (FCC)
- Department of Energy (DoE)
Apart from these Gov specific enhancements, we will be making many other enhancements from our own IdeaScale site (http://ideas.ideascale.com) – if you have ideas on improving IdeaScale please feel free to share them with us.
Finally, I want to thank all of you who have supported us through Gov 2.0 and for the wonderful conversations we’ve had. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.