Gov 2.0 Hero: Andrea Baker

Gov 2.0 Hero: Andrea Baker

What was your path to Gov 2.0?

I think I was always destined to be a part of Government 2.0. I joined the U.S. Army straight out of high school and wanted to become a linguist, which I did. In addition to learning Arabic, I became a Signals Intelligence Analyst. I would stay at work long after my shift was over to find a way to better pass along the information to the next person on shift and back stateside. I created one of the first robust Military Analytical websites on Intelink. It was probably transparency before such a thing was called that. I am happy to say the site still exists, but has expanded and improved with the times. After leaving the Army to become a contractor supporting the U.S. Federal Government I have spent my career taking transforming my contracts into transparent and open environments.

I spent some time working over at NOAA Fisheries earlier in this decade moving their processes from paper forms to online, as well as working with Constituent Services preparing a weekly newsletter sent to the general public and press. I felt I learned a lot about community outreach during this time. In my spare time, I also ran a music marketing and promotions company. I started blogging in 1999 (I would call it music journaling back then). I would capture events about the music scene on my personal website along with fan photos. This was a natural transition into social networking sites, which were nascent at the time. I saw the potential for bands connecting with their fans to drive what the bands could deliver.

When Wikipedia came out, I loved the capture of knowledge by anyone anywhere in the world. So when the opportunity came to be a community manager of the Intelink tools such as Intellipedia, I jumped at the chance. In 2006, I became the first paid full time Wiki Gardener for the Intelligence Community, as just one of my many roles. Since then I’ve planned collaboration conferences and trained many in the uses of social software as an Enterprise solution. So for me, Government 2.0 is more about Internal Communication [Enterprise 2.0], before you get external. I recently left the Intellipedia team and now I am a Project Manager an Innovation team on a another customer site. I think I have been lucky to be able to work with such outstanding teams that are open to changing the behavior of Government. I do all this and still run the practice area of Enterprise 2.0 projects at Navstar. So while I love being on-site as a contractor, I am equally lucky to be leading Navstar as an Enterprise 2.0 for Government solutions provider overseeing other Gov 2.0 projects.

What area of government offers the biggest opportunity for improvement via Web 2.0 tools?

All areas that are open to change. Change is a resonating message from the Obama administration and with that kind of top cover I am seeing more Agencies and Organizations open to the idea of adopting Web 2.0 technologies into their business practices. Most organizations and agencies have heard about Web 2.0 and some are leading in their best practices like the Intelligence Community, NASA, DoD, USGS and TSA. This is great on a national level, but I would like to start seeing more examples of State and Local Government participating in the discussions. At the Government 2.0 Club kickoff event, Government 2.0 Camp, I did notice there was some local Government participation. I would like to be assured that these efforts are happening state and city levels. I personally believe Maryland and Virginia are good examples of states democratizing data via their websites. I don’t know about the rest of the states in the Nation, but I would like to see what something like Apps for Democracy could do if each state got as involved as the district. We can always do better.

What’s the killer app that will make Gov 2.0 the norm instead of the exception?

I don’t believe there is a killer app that is going to make Government 2.0 something as in representation. There is already a Government 2.0 movement out there in every aspect of Government. If you don’t see it in your organization, look back in the mirror, because its probably you. Vivek Kundra recently mentioned he wants Dashboards for Government. I am actually strongly behind this idea. While GovLoop has now allowed for conversations and awareness amongst the Government workers and Contractors it still fails to hammer out the big picture. Kundra’s vision of culling all this information available to the public could be very awesome. Its a step in the direction I would want if I was CIO of the United States. I believe however this website is delivered, will be the closest thing to a killer app, as it brings us the transparency amongst ourselves, not just our citizens.

What part of Gov 2.0 most excites you?

I think its obvious that I am excited about breaking down the walls of Internal Collaboration. While the public doesn’t need to know how the sausage is made, we now have a venue in order to make appropriate information public to our taxpaying citizens. I feel better as a citizen and taxpayer knowing that when Government adopts these tools, they are doing so on a plethora of beneficial levels. By considering Open Source technologies we are spending less on building custom made applications and by making the applications open to the Enterprise, we are able to know what our counterparts are doing in other organizations. The infamous “Red Tape” of yesteryear is no longer impeding us as it has in the past. With Vivek Kundra and Aneesh Chopra now as our National CIO and CTO, I am more confident we will see more conversations and subsequent actions of Government actively engaged with one another.

About Luke Fretwell

Luke Fretwell is the founder of GovFresh and co-founder/CEO of ProudCity. Connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn or email at luke@govfresh.com.

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