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ContributorsLisa MinneciMark NelsonKen WolfJohn FryAllie SharkeyGuest BloggerRob Gordy
Author Archives: Ken Wolf
Earlier this week I had the privilege of presenting Revelstone’s performance analytics and benchmarking solution to an audience of about 200+ innovative government leaders at Code for America’s (CFA) annual Summit in San Francisco (check out the video on YouTube). I must admit the response to our offering, along with those of our peers in the CFA Accelerator program, was indeed overwhelming. The folks at CFA have begun to successfully transmit their optimism about what can be accomplished to government leaders all over the country. So, what is everyone so jazzed about?
The work of the CFA Fellowship, Brigade and Accelerator programs has proven that citizens can become more connected to their local governments and the services that they offer. That today’s technology can, in fact, be applied to solving problems of government in ways not achievable in the past. For example, BlightStatus helps residents of New Orleans get…
Last week’s NY Times Magazine ran a thought-provoking article, “The Internet? We Built That,” by Steven Johnson, which posed the question, “Who created the Internet and why should we care?” Was it government researchers? Private corporations like Apple and Xerox? Academia? Al Gore? The answer – none of the above and all of the above (except maybe Al Gore).
The Internet, Johnson states, was created by “…decentralized groups of scientists and programmers and hobbyists (and more than a few entrepreneurs) freely sharing the fruits of their intellectual labor with the entire world. Yes, government financing supported much of the early research, and private corporations enhanced and commercialized the platforms. But the institutions responsible for the technology itself were neither governments nor private start-ups. They were much closer to the loose, collaborative organizations of academic research. They were networks of peers.”
The article goes on to discuss how the results of that effort, the Internet, have enabled peer networks to grow and thrive and create…
A few months ago, we learned that Code for America (CFA), the non-profit organization dedicated to bringing government into the digital age, was launching its first ever Accelerator program in August of this year. The mission of the Accelerator is to turbo-charge a handful of exciting civic startup companies by helping them with business advice, national awareness, networking with the technology elite of Silicon Valley and nurturing potential investment opportunities. Revelstone is fortunate to have been chosen as one of the seven inaugural companies in the Accelerator program, out of a pool of 235 candidates.
The program requires members of our management team to spend four weeks over a four month period at the CFA offices in San Francisco meeting with an ever-growing list of mentors who give us guidance on product, messaging, financing and our go-to-market strategies. It’s an opportunity for us to step back and focus on our business, rather than in our business. How refreshing!
As of this writing we are…
The White House recently issued a Presidential Memo—”Building a 21st Century Digital Government”—directed to the heads of Executive Departments and Agencies. The memo provides the major federal agencies with a 12-month technology roadmap, including how to deliver digital services and how to make applicable government information available to the public. But most significantly, the memo included, as an integral portion of the edict, a directive to include measurement.
Excerpt from Memo:
“The Strategy will enable more efficient and coordinated digital service delivery by requiring agencies to establish specific, measurable goals for delivering better digital services; encouraging agencies to deliver information in new ways that fully utilize the power and potential of mobile and web-based technologies; ensuring the safe and secure delivery and use of digital services to protect information and privacy; requiring agencies to establish central online resources for outside developers and to adopt new standards for making applicable Government information open and machine-readable by default; aggregating agencies’ online resource pages for developers in a centralized catalogue…
I recently took a business trip to the west coast where I had with me a small briefcase and my carry-on bag which would easily fit in the overhead compartment of the airplane. I was not traveling on my usual airline, so I didn’t have any special boarding privileges. However, since I was seated in a forward row, my section was the last to board.
By the time my section began to board, the gate agents claimed that there was no space left in the overhead bins and I would have to check my bag, picking it up later in baggage claim. Oh, what fun. I was skeptical, but complied, nonetheless.
I was somewhat surprised and slightly miffed when I boarded the aircraft to discover that there was plenty of room overhead. Too late—the doors were closing. Why would they have told me otherwise? “Well,” I thought, “I’ll never let that happen again.”
On the next leg of my trip I was in the same predicament (and traveling on the…
Does the act of measuring performance drive results, or must we wait until the data has been analyzed and decisions are made in order to realize improvement in our organizations? I recently answered this question in one of my own organizations and was quite surprised by the results.
One of my sales teams had been doing a great job of working deals through the sales pipeline and closing them. However, our pipeline was weaker than it should be because they were not generating enough qualified leads. We pleaded, then encouraged, then mandated that our sales people dedicate time each and every day to prospecting activities. While they agreed in principle, they generally seemed to find other priorities that got in the way. So, once deals in their pipeline were closed, they found themselves lacking in new deals to work.
Eventually, we knew something had to change. So, we began requiring that they get on a call at 8am each morning and report their previous day’s prospecting results. We tracked: