Ideas for the Mobility Strategy

Collaboration: the next-generation of information sharing

Government should foster secure, NIST compliant, collaboration and crowdsourcing technologies within and across government agencies to make information sharing more efficient and effective. A variety of information is collected across agencies, and agency-specific security limitations inhibit information transfer. Creating one collaboration platform accessible across agencies will increase speed of communication and information transfer and significantly decrease the cost incurred by duplicative information and systems.


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  1. Comment

    In my experience it's less a technology constraint than a policy one (I was once told that some agencies require paper as the official standard, while others support electronic records).

    I think this is a good idea in theory but too broad in applicability.

  2. Comment
    Community Member ( Idea Submitter )

    The broad scope of the idea is intentional. Agencies need to realize that collaboration is necessary to foster higher-level communication across boundaries--within and among departments--to better protect our country.

  3. Comment
    Kitty Wooley

    The government has such a collaboration platform accessible across agencies now, and it is called the MAX Federal Community. See This interagency effort received an Honorable Mention from Government Computer News for “Outstanding Information Technology Achievement in Government” in 2011. Any effort to build another collaboration platform before this one has been fully leveraged strikes me as unnecessary duplication.

    Comments on this comment

    1. Comment
      Mark Samblanet

      I have a MAX account and can tell you first-hand that it is not current generation collaboration. Collaboration will only be successful if it is embedded in a person's daily activities, usage expectations are established, and users are properly trained on the selected product.

    2. Comment

      I agree with Mark, MAX is great but it's not simple or easy or ubiquitous. USG has done well at integrating it with 'cross government workgroups' but it's not yet become useful for agencies executing their own mission.

  4. Comment
    Mark Samblanet

    The proliferation of social media sites is a great example of why not to establish a single platform. I do not believe that selecting a collaboration platform will solve any problems (just ask any agency that uses SharePoint). We need to find a way for platforms to interact and share data. We are not yet there with Social Media and we have further to go with collaboration and mobile platforms.

  5. Comment
    Kitty Wooley

    Mark, I totally get what you're saying in your first reply - all those issues are there. But they're not technology issues; they're internal policy and culture (i.e., leadership) problems. Those problems will impede collaboration and knowledge transfer via any platform until more leaders weigh the benefits and costs of internal collaboration across silos. One of the most important benefits would be an external one: More proficient coalition-building and problem-tackling with organizations in the community.

    Early-adopter employees can only push the envelope so far. Executive-level desire for truly better results has to be translated into decisions, and the decisions have to lead to changes in the way work is done. Those changes have to be reflected in internal communications and performance evaluations. Cross-fertilization and ad hoc teaming, often not initiated by the boss, have to be recognized as important drivers of innovation, employee engagement, and high performance.

    By the way, where agency cultures already value continuous learning, knowledge transfer, and developing others, constructive virtual collaboration seems to be occurring now.

  6. Comment
    Leo Grassi

    Concur with Kitty in that a cultural(although not necessarily leadership, but individual value and belief system)shift must take place to effect this type of change. Leaders drive change, individuals implement change.

    Comments on this comment

    1. Comment

      absolutely agree that culture and concepts need to change -- it's not just keeping up with technology. Leaders are not necessarily the folks we recognize in our "leadership" aka management.