Gov 2.0 Hero: Dustin Haisler

Local Gov 2.0 Hero Dustin Haisler, is Municipal Judge & CIO/City Secretary of Manor, Texas.

What was your path to Gov 2.0?

Coming out of the banking industry, I began my career in local government almost four years ago as the Finance Director for a small growing city in Central Texas. After a few days on the job I realized there were significant technology shortfalls that needed to be addressed. At the time, the city did not own a server and each department’s software operations were run on stand alone machines, and there was no integration. The biggest challenge was how to overcome this monstrous obstacle with an IT budget less than $100,000. We could have issued debt to pay for building a technology infrastructure from scratch, but instead, we decide to innovate most of our own solutions. After three years of software and network integration, the City of Manor is now recognized as a leader in local government technology. The amazing thing is that through innovation and creativity our city was able to make this transformation with limited funds in such a short period of time. These technologies have allowed us to further increase efficiency and transparency in our community.

Gov 2.0 Hero: Rob Rhyne

Rob Rhyne, User Experience Designer at SRA International, will present “Invisible City” as part of the Gov 2.0 Expo Government as a Provider section.

What was your path to Gov 2.0?

I’ve worked in Knowledge Management as a designer and developer 8 years for a government contractor. I’ve redesigned numerous systems, increasing user buy-in simply by increasing the feedback loop for the design and construction of those applications. It became obvious that user trust was directly linked to their understanding and control of the application.

Specifically to Gov 2.0, I’ve developed a concept I call Invisible City (no relation to Calvino’s “Invisible Cities”) that is a vision for an Augmented Reality that utilizes data services provided by a local municipality in a mobile application. It’s a natural combination of current mobile technology with a government that opens the doors to its data storage and collection procedures. I see the government becoming a data platform that provides application developers a rich set of information and information collection resources to facilitate citizen interaction with government.

Gov 2.0 Hero: Rita J. King

Rita J. King is CEO and Creative Director of Dancing Ink Productions and Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs.

What was your path to Gov 2.0?

I’ve been studying the cultural effects of digital anonymity since 1996, but when I discovered a Muslim woman in a virtual Jewish synagogue in Second Life in 2006 I realized that global culture had entered a powerful new realm. The idea of “avatars” is polarizing. Some people instantly see the benefit of this new form of identity and community construction while others, believing that avatars dehumanize people, are appalled. I was not a gamer, nor did I ever expect to be mesmerized by the virtual world of Second Life after a friend of mine who works at IBM suggested that I check it out. I was reading Joseph Campbell’s “The Power of Myth,” and I searched on temples, synagogues, churches and mosques during my first few hours and days in Second Life, which was how I found myself at prayer services in a virtual Jewish synagogue speaking to a Muslim woman.

Digital Diplomacy: Understanding Islam through Virtual Worlds

In February 2008, Rita J. King and Joshua S. Fouts both senior fellows at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs set out on a yearlong quest funded by the Richard Lounsbery Foundation to explore the potential of virtual worlds for cultural dialogue — especially the potential of these spaces to enhance and augment the cultural outreach efforts done by the US State Department (also known as “public diplomacy”). The project, called “Digital Diplomacy: Understanding Islam through Virtual Worlds” took them across four continents in the physical world and myriad communities and cultures in virtual worlds.

Digital Democracy Contest aims to ‘Empower students to engage 21st Century government’

The Global Networked-Intelligence Contest ( and Sunlight Foundation have partnered to promote the Digital Democracy Contest, an effort to engage social studies classes through a Web-based game that helps students “navigate and evaluate government information online.” The program includes lessons plans, information videos and a competition to help students practice research skills.

The contest is funded by a MacArthur Young Innovator Award.

Gov 2.0 Radio: Rethinking Conference Learning

Listen to co-hosts Steve Ressler of GovLoop and Steve Lunceford of GovTwit discuss Rethinking Conference Learning. Conferences have existed forever but there are new ways that conferences are collaborating and capturing knowledge. Hear from Andy Krzmarzick as he discusses the Open Government Innovations Tweetbook. Ken Fischer of the Potomac Forum will talk about his upcoming August 26-27 Gov 2.0 Best Practices Forums and some ways they hope to capture best practices.

USDA, social media and collaboration

“Using Gov 2.0 to Enable Better Engagement and Reduce Burden on Farmers” video interview with a U.S. Department of Agriculture representative from the Microsoft Public Sector CIO Summit 2009.

He discusses how the agency is trying to get a consensus on what Gov 2.0 is, citizen engagement, the importance of broadband in connecting with farmers, how they collaborate (teleconferences, face-to-face meetings, CoLab) and USDA’s approach to social media usage, from individual teams to the agency-level, especially Twitter and Facebook.

Tim O’Reilly talks Gov 2.0 at OSCON 09

Tim O’Reilly shares his thoughts on open, transparent and collaborative government, “government as a platform” and calls on developers to lend a hand to “build a better country for us.” He also announces the launch of Open Source for America at OSCON 09.

Gunnar Hellekson talks government and open source principles at OSCON 09

Gunnar Hellekson of Red Hat Government shares how a ‘fail faster’ culture is an option when it comes to the government embracing open source, how we must celebrate the success stories and the importance of Open Source America, in his talk, “Applying Open Source Principles to Federal Government.”

Sunlight Labs’ Clay Johnson talks open gov at OSCON 09

Clay Johnson, Director of Sunlight Labs, talks open gov, “Apps for America,” and calls on developers to become active in their country at OSCON 09.


“What we believe is that open source plus open data equals better government. And my job is to find opportunities for developers, open source developers, to change their country. Nothing less.”

Sotomayor and (Supreme) Court TV

The historic swearing in of Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor is significant not only in the fact that she is the first Hispanic to serve on the Supreme Court, but also this is the first time that cameras have been allowed in the court for this ceremony. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts swore Sotomayor in twice, the first in a private ceremony as stipulated in the U.S. Constitution and a second time before television cameras, friends and family, a first in Supreme Court history.

Let the Sunlight in

What’s so govfreshing about the Sunlight Foundation is that they don’t take themselves (too) seriously, yet still manage to effectively push an important issue.

I was honored to meet several members of Team Sunlight here at Transparency Camp West, and it’s refreshing to see Washington D.C. being infiltrated with both an earnest and innovative approach to democracy.

Newmark, Chopra talk Gov 2.0 on CNET TV

Craigslist founder Craig Newmark and U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra discuss Gov 2.0, transparency, health care, online voting, citizen engagement, net neutrality and more on CNET TV.

Twenty Theses for Government 2.0, Cluetrain Style

Just as the Cluetrain laid out 95 theses that described the new global conversation taking place via the Internet, here are 20 theses (I’m not nearly as ambitious as the Cluetrain authors) for carpetbaggers, gurus, civil servants, contractors, and anyone else interested in Government 2.0. There are undoubtedly many many more that could be added to this list and I encourage you to add any that you think of in the comments.

Gov 2.0 Radio: Wrestling with Change

We discuss the challenges of turning from strict hierarchies to collaborative culture, with guest Gwynne Kostin, a federal new media practitioner and publisher of the blog “On Dot-Gov.”