Technology Policy

Visualizing Jobs of the Future: Putting People at the Center in the Future of Work

Visualizing Jobs of the Future: Putting People at the Center in the Future of Work

It is clear there is not a consensus on what the overall job loss or creation impact of emerging technologies could be with wide ranging estimates of across sectors. Further, while predictions for job loss like these abound, there are far fewer organizations working on envisioning the future of work and the jobs of the future that will employ the workforce of the future as current jobs are changed by automation and other emerging technologies. 

This is where I’ve focused my research with my digitalHKS research fellowship. Since January 2018 I’ve been collaborating with Bill Eggers and Amrita Datar from the Deloitte Center for Government insights to humanize the future of work and visualize the impact of technology on jobs to empower organizations, employees, and individuals to create a more positive future. 

Featured in Popular Mechanics: How to Make NASA Cool Again

  Photo Courtesy of Philip Friedman

I am honored to be featured in the the August 2014 issue of Popular Mechanics. This issue has a series about "How to Make Anything". NASA's work in prizes, challenges and crowdsourcing is featured in a piece entitled: "How to Make NASA Cool Again".

Here's the text:

"At some point between the Challenger explosion in 1986 and the end of the manned shuttle program in 2011, NASA became uncool. Once regarded as the wild geniuses leading us bravely into the future, the agency earned a reputation as insular, wasteful, and out of touch.

Naturally, they're looking to change that perception. The agency recently expanded its use of challenges and crowdsourcing to include more opportunities for regular Joes (citizen scientists, if you can bear the term) to submit their ideas. In 2012, it also hired Jenn Gustetic, a vivacious woman with an aerospace engineering degree and a master's in technology policy from MIT, to engage the public as the first-ever Challenges and Prizes program executive.

In this role, Gustetic, 32, uses her brains, charm, and wicked networking skills to increase grassroots participation in NASA's far-ranging mission. In the process, she's breaking down the wall that once separated a massive bureaucracy from the people it was supposed to serve. "It's my role to engage the public and put together nontraditional alliances to solve tough technology problems," she says. "NASA is opening itself up. We're inviting the public to be a meaningful participant in our business, our projects. This wasn't the way things were done, but it's the norm now."

One little problem Gustetic is helping to solve is the threat of an asteroid impact, which NASA has deemed worthy of intensive study as part of a larger initiative that includes not only redirecting space rocks but also sending humans to study them. The Asteroid Data Hunter contest, which wrapped in August, offered awards of up to $35,000 to individuals who advance the development of algorithms to identify asteroids in imagery from ground-based telescopes.

Another of Gustetic's responsibilities is to rally teams for NASA's International Space Apps Challenge. This year, more than 8,000 people in 95 cities took part in the third annual two-day hackathon to develop tech related to deep-space exploration, manned missions, rovers and more. "It was a historic collaboration between a government and the public," says Mike Caprio, cofounder of Space Apps NYC, the main stage of this year's event. Teams of technologists of every stripe, from computer programmers to physicists, arrived at universities and labs all over the world to compete. After a long weekend, a few left with impressive CV fodder. The rest left impressed with their host."

Government as a Catalyst: Prizes for Tech Innovation

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At this year’s South by South West Interactive (SXSWi) conference, I’m pleased to be moderating a panel on the role of government and prizes in stimulating technology innovation and providing public services. Federal agencies have recently been given the authority by Congress to sponsor competitions for individuals, groups, and companies to develop new ideas and technology innovations for a chance to win potentially lucrative prizes. These competitions can range from new mobile outreach technologies to web-based data analytics tools to even vehicle-to-vehicle communications; the government is looking for breakthrough technologies from the minds of the most creative and forward thinking Americans.

The panel will highlight some of the coolest prizes for technology development that the government has been involved in to date, including the DOT’s Connected Vehicle Challenge, the VA’s industry competition and blue button projects, and NASA’s centennial challenges. Additionally we will explore what role the government should be playing in these activities moving forward by looking at some prizes where the government did not have a role.

Here’s a sneak preview about what you’ll hear if you come spend an hour with us. We believe prizes matter for many reasons, but we’ll focus on four during the session:

  1. They work. How can we be so sure? You’ll hear about a series of prizes from NASA, VA, and DOT that demonstrate the value of government sponsored prizes.
  2. They complement other innovation methods. There are many ways to stimulate technology development and many actors are involved in doing so. It doesn’t happen very often however that government gets a BRAND NEW way to stimulate innovation—and prizes are just that. Prizes are a new way for government to stimulate technology development that compliments other, traditional methods for innovation. We’ll give some interesting examples of where prizes work with other innovation methods in government to create some really cool results.
  3. They're becoming a way of doing business. If government is spending money and doing business this way, entrepreneurs and industry alike should be paying attention. Imagine a world where as much money flows through an organization through prizes as it does through contracts. Now that’s big business.
  4. They're exposing different roles for Government. Government does not always need to have a role for prizes to work however. The question no longer is CAN government have a role, but SHOULD they. The private sector is increasingly involved in activities that affect the public good and people WANT to get engaged in the public good. We believe this may create room for the public sector to disengage or interesting public-private partnerships to form. We’ll talk about some instances where this is happening.

Our impressive lineup of panelists includes Chris Gerty from NASA (@gerty), Mari Kuraishi from Global Giving (@mashenka), Michael O'Neill from the U.S. Veteran's Administration (@mdoneill), James Pol from the US Department of Transportation (@polgmu), and me as your humble moderator (@jenngustetic). The panel is on Tuesday March 13 at 11AM at the AT&T Conference Hotel—if you can join us, let us know through Plancast. Alternatively, we’ll also be tweeting and you can follow our session at #SXTechPrize live during the session.

Have questions for the panelists? Let me know and I’ll make sure to ask them for you if you send in advance.

Hope to see you there!

Jenn

(Note: Originally posted on the Phase One Consulting Group, Government Transformation Blog for a special featured Govloop series when I was an employee there. www.phaseonecg.com/blog)

 

Happy Holidays Open Gov: Making Prizes More Attractive to and Possible for the Federal Government

Prizes and competitions provide one way to stimulate innovation and tap “solver communities” that may not have been leveraged previously when considering some of our nation’s grand challenges. As I wrote this past summer, there have historically been several hurdles to Federal agencies conducting prizes and competitions, including explicit authorization by Congress to do so. It’s hard enough for agencies to design and operate an effective prize and competition, but without a universal, permitting legal framework the upfront procedural work can be so burdensome that they are often never even explored as possible options. This upfront procedural burden has been one of the largest roadblocks for prizes and competitions up until this point. On December 21, 2010 Congress moved forward with a crucial piece of the puzzle to drive forward the President’s Innovation Agenda and the principles of Open Government. On this day, they passed the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 with a series of provisions that will empower public sector use of prizes and challenges to spur innovation. The Prize Competitions section of the Act, which starts on page 17, provides Federal agencies across the Executive Branch with explicit authority to conduct prize competitions. The prize authority provision draws heavily from S. 3530, the Reward Innovation in America Act of 2010, introduced by Senators Pryor and Warner in June 2010 and it builds upon the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980 (15 U.S.C. 3701 et seq).

The impact of this legislation cannot be overstated; this is a HUGE win for Open Government and Government-supported innovation in the United States. Whereas recently prizes and competitions were largely ignored in common government vernacular, now not only has the White House supported their use through guidance issued this summer but also the legislative branch has demonstrated their support by passing the America COMPETES Act. Arguments against the viability and legality of these tactics to enhance problem solving and collaboration are now much more difficult. Happy holidays to Open Government practitioners throughout the US!

This Act significantly advances agencies’ abilities to use prizes and competitions by granting and/or expanding several key exemptions, provisions, and authorities. I’ve summarized some of the provisions below, in relative order of importance (in my opinion). At a glance, this Act:

1. Grants several authorities:

  • Expands general prize authority to EACH agency head
  • Expands gift authority for prizes and competitions

2. Institutionalizes various incentives and disincentives for participation:

  • Prohibits the US Government from acquiring intellectual property rights (incentive)
  • Limits eligibility for prize winners to US incorporated entities or US citizens/permanent residents (disincentive to some)
  • Transfers risk of participation to participants (disincentive to some)

3. Eases the procedural burden of conducting prizes:

  • Exempts Judging Panels from the Federal Advisory Committee Act

4. Specifies several procedural requirements for leveraging prizes:

  • Specifies prize publication requirements:
  • Clarifies limitations on the availability and amount of funding for prizes

It’s important to note that this Law does not prevent agencies from seeking broader prize authorities through the normal legislative process. So if any of the terms outlined above are severely restricting for agencies, they can lobby their committees to get more appropriate authorities expanded. This broad prize authority isn’t the same as all-encompassing prize authority. It can only go further in the future, and it does not limit the existing authorities that are already out there.

I believe in the coming years we will see the need emerge for a senior prize executive within agencies similar to the senior procurement executive and grants management office roles. Procurement and grant making are subject to management controls to ensure competition is fair and laws are followed. As prizes are another tool to leverage non-governmental expertise for service provision and problem solving, I expect to see conversations about centralizing prize management discipline within agencies to surface in the near future.

The rest of this blog posting describes in detail the key features of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 outlined above and my thoughts on the possible impact of those provisions. As always, please feel free to reach out to me at @jenngustetic at any time during this series to continue to conversation. Happy reading and happy holidays to all!

Jenn

Granting Several Authorities

Expands general prize authority to EACH agency head: Sec 24(b) states that “Each head of an agency, or the heads of multiple agencies in cooperation, may carry out a program to award prizes competitively to stimulate innovation that has the potential to advance the mission of the respective agency.” Before this, some agencies had the authority to conduct prizes and competitions. However many others did not. Having the explicit authority to award prizes is a crucial first step in paving the way for agencies to consider these methods as viable options for problem solving and stimulating innovation.

This is an enhancement from the Senate version of this bill that was passed this summer. That version stated: “each head of an agency may carry out a program to award prizes competitively to stimulate innovation that has the potential to advance the mission of the respective agency.” The final version of the Act allows agencies to cooperate in carrying out prizes together, increasing the opportunities for interagency collaboration in problem solving: a huge improvement.

As Vivek Kundra, the Federal CIO earlier stated “the real value lies at the intersection of multiple data sets.” Likewise, many of our Nation’s grand challenges lie at the intersection of multiple agency missions. Many partnerships benefit from such coordinated efforts, such as the Sustainable Communities Partnership among HUD-DOT-EPA. But even with coordinated grant awards, our ability to stimulate innovation in this sector is limited by the statutory authorities that each Agency has. This new kind of authority has potential to further break down those barriers to interagency collaboration in problem solving.

Expands gift authority for prizes and competitions: Sec 24(m)(1) states that “support for a prize competition under this section, including financial support for the design and administration of a prize or funds for a monetary prize purse, may consist of Federal appropriated funds and funds provided by the private sector for such cash prizes. The head of an agency may accept funds from other Federal agencies to support such competitions.” Up until this point, if a non-governmental organization was paying for anything at all (financial or in-kind) agencies would have to pay close attention to their gift authority. In most cases, a legal consultation and partnership agreements are required that detail the agency’s authorities for accepting gifts. In other cases, the Federal government is prohibited from receiving gifts. This “expanded gift authority”, for the use of prizes and competitions, will significantly assist agencies in identifying the funds to support the prize “purse” and well as operational expenses, making prizes a more viable option still.

Institutionalizing Various Incentives and Disincentives for Participation

Prohibits the US Government from acquiring intellectual property rights: Sec 24 (k) states that “the Federal Government may not gain an interest in intellectual property developed by a participant in a competition without the written consent of the participant. [However], the Federal Government may negotiate a license for the use of intellectual property developed by a participant for a competition.” To many, protection of intellectual property (IP) is a fundamental principle for encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation. It’s important that an inventor can retain “ownership” over their submission for many reasons; without the ability to retain ownership over an idea, individuals may have less incentive to create new ideas. Thus to IP protection advocates, without this provision prize participants might not invest as heavily in the competitions because there would be no guarantee that they could recoup their investment in the end. Thus, to IP protection advocates this is a very important incentive that was included in the legislation.

What would have been to consequence of allowing the government to acquire IP rights, you might ask? With the IP rights (which may be acquired through written consent according to this Act) the government could leverage new discoveries to further the entire national interest, rather than the segment that they can afford to buy as a product or license. This is the policy stance that China as a nation has taken. This has impacted Chinese companies significantly. They are experts at reengineering existing processes and product development lifecycles to create more efficient and low cost versions of a product. But they are not nearly as good at inventing new products because of their lack of IP protection. There is little incentive for companies and individuals to invest in new products if they are unable to recoup that investment when new innovations become available for all companies to produce in the national interest.

Limits eligibility for prize winners to US incorporated entities or US citizens/permanent residents: Sec 24 (g) (3) requires that to be eligible to win a prize under this section, “in the case of a private entity, [an entity] shall be incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States, and in the case of an individual, whether participating singly or in a group, [an individual] shall be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States”. This provision may have a cooling effect on the total innovation possible as a result of this Act. By limiting the solver community to only US incorporated entities or US citizens/permanent residents, agencies may not be able to select, in all cases, the best solution for a particular problem. This provision arguably limits competition. Some might say that with Buy America provisions gaining ever-increasing attention, this small bit of protectionism doesn’t hurt us. And even though the intent of this provision seems to be to reward Americans for their creativity, others might say that it may also result in less optimal solutions than if more competition had been allowed. This is a politically divisive issue.

Also, by limiting eligibility to win a prize, this Act raises questions about whether or not non-US citizens will legally be able to participate in commenting and discussion functions for idea focused challenges even if they don’t win the final prize. The Act lists several explicit prize types that are allowable including point solution, exposition, and participation (see this McKinsey report for more types). Exposition prizes in particular could be very difficult to manage in practice given the eligibility limitation in the Act. Exposition prizes are typically focused on identifying and highlighting good ideas—which is also commonly known as “ideation”. Ideation often involves on-line voting and commenting (see these examples: HUD’s Ideas In Action,Department of Education’s Open Innovation Portal, and the EPA’s Open Government Ideascale page, for example). If non-US citizens cannot win a prize, then they may have less incentive to comment on and enrich ideas. Furthermore, agency legal shops may interpret this Act to mean that non-US citizens should not even be permitted to vote and comment to draw a bright line around participation and award eligibility. However, this policy position presents a complicated technical issue as agencies will need to control and authenticate users who are participating on-line. That’s no small feat.

Transfers risk of participation to participants: Sec 24 (i)(1)(b) states that “registered participants shall be required to agree to assume any and all risks and waive claims against the Federal Government and its related entities, except in the case of willful misconduct [and for misuse of intellectual property, trade secrets or confidential information], for any injury, death, damage, or loss of property, revenue, or profits, whether direct, indirect, or consequential, arising from their participation in a competition, whether the injury, death, damage, or loss arises through negligence or otherwise.” (emphasis added) The effect of this is rather large. As stated in one of my previous blog posts, one of the key structural issues to consider when setting up a partnership between the public and private sectors is the degree of risk shared by each partner. Usually, in PPPs, risk sharing can be negotiated based on which party is more able to bear various risk types (financial, legal, political, safety, etc…) and there is often a price associated with those risks for the private partner in the form of insurance. If risks are unevenly allocated the private partner may not be able to bear the cost of all those risks and thus chose to not participate.

This Act pre-determines, to a certain extent, the risk sharing profile for prizes; most of the risk will be borne by participants—not the government. There are pros and cons to having participants bear the majority of risk, especially for technical experiments (like for the NASA centennial prizes) where (1) there is a vast degree of uncertainty in the safety of new technologies and (2) the cost to bear the risk could be prohibitive for participants. The one exception to this risk allocation however serves to protect participants from misuse of their IP during the course of the competition (in addition to protection from willful misconduct). The risk for mishandling IP, trade secrets and confidential information is borne by the Government according to the Act. The bottom line is that with no flexibility in how to allocate risk sharing, this provision may deter a lot of possible solvers from participating in prizes and competitions. However, the ability to retain all IP rights offset some of the potential chilling effects of having participants assume all risk

Eases the Procedural Burden of Conducting Prizes

Exempts Judging Panels from the Federal Advisory Committee Act: Sec 24(k)(4) states that “the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) shall not apply to any committee, board, commission, panel, task force, or similar entity, created solely for the purpose of judging prize competitions under this section”. FACA applies when an advisory committee is established or utilized by one or more agencies, in the interest of obtaining advice or recommendations for the President or one or more agencies or officers of the Federal Government. This law requires advisory committees to follow a rigorous process for selection and meetings. Exempting judging panels could significantly relieve many of the procedural burdens currently associated with selecting prize winners through panels of expert judges.

Specifies Several Procedural Requirements for Leveraging Prizes

Specifies prize publication requirements: Sec 24 (f) requires that for each prize competition, the head of an agency shall publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing the prize subject, rules, process, amount, and evaluation criteria. Posting on challenge.gov alone DOES NOT meet this requirement. The law now requires that prizes be posted alongside other notifications to the public in the Federal Register.

Clarifies limitations on the availability and amount of funding for prizes: Sec 24(m)(2) states that “notwithstanding any other provision of law, funds appropriated for prize awards under this section shall remain available until expended.” This is what is known in the Federal government as “no-year money”. This is important because expiration of funds will not influence the deadlines for prizes and competitions. Some, like the centennial prizes may need to be active for years in order to find a winner, and “1 year or 2 year” funds that have been appropriated with an “expiration date” can make those open ended deadlines impossible. This provision adds flexibility to prize deadlines based on the nature of the problem the prize is attempting to address.

Sec 24(m)(4) states that “no prize competition under this section may offer a prize in an amount greater than $50,000,000 unless 30 days have elapsed after written notice has been transmitted to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Science and Technology of the House of Representatives. [Furthermore], no prize competition under this section may result in the award of more than $1,000,000 in cash prizes without the approval of the head of an agency.” Agency heads must approve all prizes in excess of $1M and Congress must approve all prizes in excess of $50M. To me, this indicates Congress’ recognition that large prizes to address grand challenges are encouraged and supported. Recent trends towards “small money” apps and video contests are of course permitted as a result of the legislation, but the Act opens the door for much more strategic investments in large scale prizes.

(Note: Originally posted on the Phase One Consulting Group, Government Transformation Blog for a special featured Govloop series when I was an employee there. www.phaseonecg.com/blog)

Key Area to Consider in Open Government Planning: Legal

Importance of Legal Issues in Open Government Planning: There are a host of legal issues that all transparency, participation, and collaboration initiatives will face. These legal constraints have been enormous hurdles for Agencies in engaging the public in decision making. For example, one of the best known hurdles is the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). This Act prevents Agencies from asking more than 10 citizens the same question (regardless of if it’s voluntary) with uniform answers, unless Agencies go through a long process with the Office of Management and Budget to get approval of those questions. It is important for Agencies to understand the entire legal environment that will influence their Open Government initiatives from the start to manage downstream risks (i.e., so they don’t discover they are breaking the law down the line). The following is a list of some high level legal issues and the corresponding legislation that will impact Open Government planning efforts. This list is not comprehensive but it should give you an idea of the wide scope of legal issues that must be considered in Open Government planning.

  • Government Soliciting Feedback from Citizens: Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) 5 USC Section 3, Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35)
  • Records Management: National Archives and Records Administration Act of 1984/ Federal Records Act
  • Security: Agency Statute, Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, etc…
  • Content Liability, which includes defamation, harassment, copyright, trademark, and negligent misstatement/ fraud: Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996
  • Terms of Service: Anti-Deficiency Act
  • Privacy: Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), E-Government Act of 2002, Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and Privacy Act
  • Accessibility: Americans with Disabilities Act/ Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  • Rulemaking: Administrative Procedure Act (APA) of 1946
  • • Acquisition: Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)

This legislation must be considered as policies governing the use of various social media and other Gov 2.0 tools are developed for your Agency including: access, moderation, comment, advertising, records management, open format data, and employee use policies. During this activity, it could be useful for the Office of General Counsel to consider the questions highlighted here.

Linkages with the Open Government Directive: There are several requirements in the Open Government Directive that call specifically for legal understanding, including:

  • Open Gov plans must “include any proposed changes to internal management and administrative policies to improve transparency, participation and collaboration”. Internal policies are developed based on an Agency’s enabling legislation and its legal requirements. Thus in order to establish robust policies, the legal environment must be fully understood. (page 10, Open Gov Directive)
  • Open Gov plans must “include innovative methods, such as prizes and competitions, to obtain ideas from and to increase collaboration with those in the private sector, non-profit, and academic communities” The FAR makes it very difficult for Agencies to issue prizes. However, the Open Gov Directive tasks Agencies, as well as OMB, to attempt to find innovative ways to issue prizes through competitions while operating within the law. (page 10, Open Gov Directive)
  • “Within 120 days, the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), in consultation with the Federal Chief Information Officer and the Federal Chief Technology Officer, will review existing OMB policies, such as Paperwork Reduction Act guidance and privacy guidance, to identify impediments to open government and to the use of new technologies and, where necessary, issue clarifying guidance and/or propose revisions to such policies, to promote greater openness in government.” (page 6, Open Gov Directive)

(Note: This is a part of a series that was originally posted on the Phase One Consulting Group, Government Transformation Blog when I was an employee there. www.phaseonecg.com/blog)

 

Open Government is about Eliminating the Digital Divide (Part 5 of 5 of Series)

This may seem contradictory initially. Doesn’t Gov 2.0 enhance the digital divide by pushing government engagement further away from folks that aren’t equipped with a computer or web-enabled mobile device? The danger of focusing on Gov 2.0 only, considering the digital divide, is that certain populations will be under-represented in the governing process. We can do a lot of “cool” things with Gov 2.0, but some argue that unless we address accessibility we aren’t really transforming government to an equitable platform; we are instead making its operations more inaccessible to certain stakeholder groups. Closing the digital divide and encouraging Gov 2.0 are not mutually exclusive however. You don’t have to choose one or the other—choose both. In fact, some people think that the digital divide is a myth and only a perceived gap—that as cost of use decreases and ease of use increases, the ethnic, racial, and geographical internet access gaps will decrease on their own. (see “The Digital Divide: Facing a Crisis or Creating a Myth by Benjamin M. Compaine) Furthermore, one could argue that Gov 2.0 will increase ease of use as open source applications allow tools to be customized by users so they become more and more useful through each version. However, this is a result that occurs over time and thus government programs should in the interim make sure to consider accessibility issues and prioritize digital equality programming in parallel with Gov 2.0 efforts.

It seems that those places that have had some success in bridging the divide are heavily dependent on programming at the local level. Boston has done some really interesting programming and tried to address the problem from a lot of directions through the Boston Digital Bridge Foundation. This is also a unique time where the federal government is financially supporting broadband technology expansion with stimulus funds and several grant programs including the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP).

As another intermediate goal, we should continue to encourage innovation through Gov 2.0, but also address digital divide issues in parallel through efforts like what they’ve done in Boston. One should not be sacrificed for the other—they just need to be balanced given limited resources. The good news is, a lot of the Gov 2.0 efforts are “free” or low cost compared to the infrastructure heavy investments required for certain digital divide programming.

(Note: Originally posted on the Phase One Consulting Group, Government Transformation Blog when I was an employee there. www.phaseonecg.com/blog)

Open Government is about Realizing Economies of Scale through Standardization (Part 4 of 5 of Series)

Now this statement alone may give many of you pause since Open Government is about “openness” and not standardization. But the two are not mutually exclusive. Economies of scale are accomplished because as production increases, the cost of producing each additional unit falls. If we don’t work to standardize the process of and tools required to produce additional units (whether they be blogs, wikis, or other Gov 2.0 tools), the same barriers to entry and costs will exist for each new effort (i.e. development of policies, security plans, employee training, etc). Some examples of standardization already exit. GSA’s negotiated terms of service have provided Federal-wide standardization to most Agencies that desire to use web 2.0 platforms. Whenever you sign up for a social media service (facebook, twitter, etc…) you agree to their terms of service when you register. The terms of service are often seen by legal departments as a “contract” with that tool owner. With the negotiated terms of service, GSA has done the work to provide a standard “contract” that government agencies can use when utilizing these social media tools. Thus, each legal department doesn’t have to struggle through this issue each time a new tool surfaces; GSA has provided a standard that makes development much quicker and easier. Apps.gov is one example of using standards to create economies of scale across the government.

Also, many Agencies have developed Agency-wide use policies that give guidance to employees. However, more standardization can be encouraged at the Agency level that will reduce the barriers to entry for emergent programs and thus accomplish economies of scale.

(Note: Originally posted on the Phase One Consulting Group, Government Transformation Blog when I was an employee there. www.phaseonecg.com/blog)