The scoop on GovFresh

Since May 1, 2009, I’ve dedicated a great deal of time and energy to GovFresh to the point it’s become a passion that has consumed me. I’ve managed to find meaning in work that matters to me.

After the euphoria of manor.govfresh, the citizen in me became even more excited about changing the way government works, but before jumping back into the thick of things, the entrepreneur in me needed to find a more sustainable way to build on GovFresh’s organic growth and momentum.

I’ve talked with many of you over the past 6 weeks about how best to pursue my civic passions and make GovFresh sustainable while maintaining its independent spirit. It’s been a challenge operating in a vacuum, especially when you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and you’re focused on an industry based 3,000 miles away in Washington, DC.

Since GovFresh’s inception, Goldy Kamali of FedScoop and I have collaborated behind the scenes on ideas while exploring opportunities on how to work together. Since September 2009, we’ve talked about working together when she came to San Francisco, and we spent the day talking through options. Goldy and I have strengths that complement one another and have always gelled on the evolution of new media and government.

Beginning immediately, I’ll work with Goldy and the FedScoop team on leading editorial and creative areas for FedScoop. I’ll focus on federal government themes such as cloud computing, cybersecurity, open government and other tech-related areas. This is new territory for FedScoop and myself, so it’ll be an evolutionary process.

I’ve had the opportunity to meet with the FedScoop team and, to quote Goldy herself, I think her and the FedScoop team are ‘fabu.’

What all of this means for GovFresh is that I’ll have more time to focus on my civic passions: open government, open data, open source and innovation at the municipal level. GovFresh will continue to address issues it has in the past, but do so at a more moderate pace. Just as I did with sf.govfresh and manor.govfresh, Goldy and I have discussed exciting event ideas we’ll share with you in the future.

If you want to connect with me directly, have story ideas for FedScoop or GovFresh, want to guest-blog for either or both, please contact me at luke@govfresh.com. You can also follow FedScoop on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks to all of you for working with me, sharing ideas, helping navigate best options, wanting to see GovFresh grow and genuinely caring about the future of GovFresh and what I personally pursue.

Build an ‘open source value creation model’ for your agency

Great FedTalks presentation from David Dejewski of the Department of Defense Business Transformation Agency where he discusses Web 2.0, MilSuite including MilBook, MilWiki, MilBlog and MilTube. Dejewski talks about building a ‘Web 2.0 deployment toolbox,’ get the technical and security foundation down and build an ‘open source value creation model.’

Best points relates his approach to development:

  • It takes about 4 hours to build an app
  • Open source apps are free
  • Deployment is instantaneous / Scalable
  • Prototypes are a thing of the past
  • Development cycles are now simply deployments
  • XML published data is platform agnostic

Best quote:

‘These technologies, these obstacles are going away. We can now for the first time in history celebrate the fact that technology is finally mature enough to start providing you a return on investment. The limitations that we once faced in terms of hardware and speed and all that, they’re all melting away with the advent of Web 2.0, because you’re not hosting it anymore. The stuff is being hosted somewhere else in the cloud. Your whole mission with Web 2.0 … once you get the platform out there, is to focus on value. Take the whole discussion of hardware out of your mind. Focus on value creation.’

Full video here:

Top 7 ‘Minds in the Cloud’ cloud computing videos

FedScoop recently wrapped up its Minds in the Cloud video series. MITC featured interviews with 23 government and industry leaders discussing the benefits, challenges and future of cloud computing. Here’s my seven favorite (#1 being US Navy SCSC CIO Susan Hess).

US Navy SCSC CIO Susan Hess:

U.S. CTO Aneesh Chopra:

Linda Cureton, NASA CIO

U.S. CIO Vivek Kundra:

Interior Department CIO Sonny Bhagowalia:

FCC, Chief Data Officer, Greg Elin:

NASA Ames Research Center CIO Chris Kemp:

10 entrepreneurs changing the way government works

I recently began reading The Power of Social Innovation: How Civic Entrepreneurs Ignite Community Networks for Good and felt compelled to highlight more people building business models around better government. The role of business and the entrepreneurial spirit as it relates to government is at times under-played or discredited (sometimes, rightfully so), but it’s the backbone of a democratic society.

Consider this the first in a series. For starters, here are 10 entrepreneurs changing the way government works:

Goldy Kamali

What we do:

FedScoop is a New Media and Events company serving key decision makers in the government IT community. We bring C-level executives from the federal government and IT community together via VIP events, video interviews and articles and blogs to collaborate, exchange best practices and identify ways to work together to solve common goals.

Richard White

What we do:

UserVoice helps all types of organizations involved in government reach out to their constituents. Here are a few examples:

Political Campaigns – Inform your platform; uncover grassroots interest.

Civic Engagement – Leveraging the wisdom of the crowd to improve government.

Internal Brainstorming – Tap the collective knowledge inside your organization to improve government.

Michael Riedijk

  • CEO, DotGov
  • Founded: November 2009
  • @dotgovcom
  • Open gov motto: Put your government in your pocket

What we do:

DotGov, Inc., is developing a mobile platform that will dramatically change how citizens interact with their local government. DotGov combines the power of Mobile Devices with Social Media and Open Data. It provides citizens with tools to directly interact with their city and benefit from all information and services local governments offer in an unprecedented way.

Conor White-Sullivan & Aaron Soules

  • CEO/Co-founder (left)/CTO/Co-founder (right), Localocracy
  • Founded: September 2008
  • @Localocracy
  • Open gov motto: All politics is Local

What we do:

Localocracy partners with local government and media to help citizens learn about local issues and influence their community. We confirm that participants are registered voters in the community and provide a space where they can ask questions, vote on issues, and rank the best reasons for supporting their side.

Kevin Merritt

What we do:

Socrata is a socially enriched data-sharing platform optimized for data comprehension by non-technically trained audiences, without excluding technical audiences. Socrata empowers organizations to transform their data assets into hubs for social and civic engagement and interaction, on their own websites and also in mainstream media websites and social media sites.

Ben Berkowitz

What we do:

SeeClickFix is an international tool enabled in 83 languages that allows citizens to report non-emergency issues such as potholes, graffiti or a littered parks to those accountable for the public space including local governments and community groups. SeeClickFix is available via the web where you can post issues and have your neighbors comment or vote on their resolution. Anybody can receive alerts via easy to create free-formed geographical alerting areas that we call watch areas. Also, If you have a blackberry, android or iPhone you can download our app and report a problem in your community with your gps location and a photo. 40% of the issues on SeeClickFix have already been fixed. From Argentina to Philadelphia citizens are using SeeClickFix to improve their communities.

Kurt Daradics

What we do:

FreedomSpeaks is a technology company focused on delivering interactive civic engagement platforms. Our mission is to transform civic engagement.

Our Core Values are shaping our culture and defining the character of our company, guiding how we behave and make decisions:

Stewardship: Building a heritage for future generations, acting with an owner mentality, and meeting our commitments to all internal and external stakeholders.
Best People: Attracting and developing the best talent for our business, stretching our people and developing a “can do” attitude.
Integrity: Inspiring trust by taking responsibility, acting ethically, and encouraging honest and open debate.

We deliver an interlocking product suite that includes:

  • FreedomSpeaks.com (The first non-partisan political social network & largest database of politicians)
  • FreedomSpeaks Pro (Lobby in a box SaaS product)
  • CitySourced (Mobile civic engagement platform)

Alan W. Silberberg

  • Co-Founder, You2Gov
  • Founded: April 2008
  • @You2Gov
  • Open gov motto: Don’t Be Afraid

What we do:

Path-breaking Gov 2.0 company that innovates and creates Government 2.0 + 3.0 Technology using custom Joomla based Social Networking/ SCRM and Advocacy. Consulting to Federal, State, Local Governments; International Corporations on: best media use; technology weaving to create maximum impact websites, tools, videos and conversations at highest strategic level.

Zubin Wadia

What we do:

CiviGuard is the world’s most advanced civilian emergency communications platform. It promotes contextual messaging over information saturation. CiviGuard is location-aware, smartphone optimized and cloud-based – making near real-time civilian outreach during a crisis, a reality.

FedScoop founder Goldy Kamali discusses ‘Developing Communities of Practice in the Government’

FedScoop founder Goldy Kamali discusses ‘Developing Communities of Practice in the Government.’


“I think that’s it’s really important to keep in mind that social media can have an incredible impact on getting the word out and getting people really motivated and excited in a unique way, but unless you have an infrastructure in place, and relationships in place, and a network in place, social media alone actually has limited impact. It’s important to combine the old way of doing things with all of these new resources to get the maximum results.”