General Services Administration Director of Center for Customer Service Excellence in the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies Sheila Campbell discusses trends and technologies in open government and citizen engagement with FedScoopTV.
“One of the things that sometimes I think gets overlooked when we talk about citizen engagement is that I think we just assume people are just going to engage with agencies … What has to happen in parallel is for us to make sure that we are creating a good customer experience, because people really are not going to engage with the agency unless they feel like the agency is going to get the basics just right first … Right now we sometimes have these things in two separate places. We’re engaging people over here, and then we’re trying to create the customer experience, and we really need to bring those two things together.”
Embracing Open Government
“We stood up data.gov, which is one of the most visited federal Websites. I think there are over 300,000 data sets from across the federal government. What’s amazing about that is, of course, before we had data.gov the data was all over the place, and so now we’ve actually brought all those data points together in one place, and what we’ve enabled the public to do is to get that data in open formats. It’s so much more accessible than it was before, and I think that’s a fantastic example of how GSA is promoting open government.”
Evolving Trends in Open Government
“Technology is key, but I think we sometimes lead with the technology, and what we’re finding is a lot of times agencies approach us and they say ‘I have this business problem I’m trying to solve,’ and what we try to do to help them with is we try to walk them through a strategy … technology may not necessarily be the answer, it’s just the driver … the key is for agencies to step back and say ‘what is the best way actually to confront this issue’ and then the technology requirements need to come from that. We need to think about the business needs first and the technology second … On the flip side, sometimes we know when there’s emerging technologies, it helps us see that there’s potentially different ways of doing business that we didn’t think about before.”
Open Government Technology
“Definitely a push in the open data space. I think Data.gov is really going to blossom over the next year. I think what we’re going to see with that is not just putting the datasets online but enabling the public to do mash-ups, to really make some exciting discoveries with the data.”