Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Not Grandpa’s Foggy Bottom -- Internal Networking Coming to the State Dept?

This one from  The State Department Office of eDiplomacy is working to launch an internal networking site, tentatively called "StateBook", allowing employees to read open messages to and for each other. Excerpt below:

Office Director Richard Boly told Federal News Radio that whiteboarding exercises are underway.
Our goal is to have it be dead simple. You don't need any training. It can be intuitive, offer real value right away, and make it easy for State Department employees to identify other people's expertise - where they've worked before - so that it makes it much easier to collaborate and identify expertise in a very mobile workforce.

StateBook will be the latest of several major programs developed by the office marking a change from a post-Cold War need for secrecy to an increased need to share information internally.

"These tools," said Boly, "really are a part of a culture change to move towards collaboration as the default."
That's not to say the information is available to anyone with access to the internet.

What this has been is a wonderful evolution of the Office of eDiplomacy which really focuses primarily on the stuff that's going on behind the firewall, so the collaboration that happens behind the firewall. And the recent initiatives of Secretary Clinton in using technology to enable 21st century statecraft. We really merged together beautifully. We're two sides of the same coin.

Read the whole thing here.

“A culture change to move towards collaboration …”

Which is wonderful. On paper.  Forgive me if I'm skeptical.  Collaboration, unfortunately, is not/not in the promotion precepts, see… that’s tricky, really..... like team-building is in the precepts, but teamwork is not quite there with its two feet. Will culture change really happen without the right carrots?  This is the State Department, Henry Kissinger called it the most individualistic staff in town; good or bad, that is still true.    

In any case, now that corridor reputation is slated to invade the virtual corridor – I have to wonder out loud how much time will folks spend “friending” colleagues from the top floors of Foggy Bottom and the far galaxies in the State Department’s orbit?

But perhaps the more important question is this -- how busy will “StateBook” be during bidding season?

Let me know when it's up and running beyond the whiteboard. Despite my skepticism, I am curious to see just how far this would go and how high this would fly...

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