Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Another static report, but with some promise ...

Some good work here (although I certainly don't agree with all of it) and well worth reading.

The establishment of an executive level "center" for government efficiency is a good idea if it is not another level of bureaucracy but instead is the type of dynamic collaborative interaction we've been preaching (since 1993!).

The immediate problem with this report is that it is, again a static document created by a limited number of individuals over a finite period of time. This was probably unavoidable given their mandate and the current state of affairs.

A good effort was made to "reach out" to as many folks as possible and the concept of "collaboration" is repeated often in the report. It also rightly acknowledges that previous efforts have failed because of a lack of follow-up.

Now, if they take this report as a first step in creating a collaborative, flexible, dynamic and inclusive state-wide project and further if they do not assume that all of their conclusions are correct and not subject to further scrutiny, then we are on to something.

These "types" of reports must also not be divorced from complimentary information (from all sources; the meta-data and analysis we always talk about) and reports.

A potential danger in this report is that some will take it (or parts of it) as the final word on the subject, when in fact it is just the beginning of what is possible.

If utilized properly this report can create an important framework for real, positive and sustainable progress in New York.

"Sustaining Local Efficiency
“The need for changes in local government, regional structure and service provision is linked to forces that continue to change. Local government’s appropriate scale and organization is influenced by changes in our economy, technology, demographics and other factors that help determine public service need, effective size and cost efficiency. . . New York needs a flexible framework and approach to facilitate and encourage important adjustments. We are not facing a one time “house cleaning” but an ongoing maintenance and improvement program to keep an effective local and regional governance system.”
Mike Hattery, “Rural Vision Project,” Cornell (2006)
While the Commission ends its deliberations with the issuance of this report, it is our strong belief that the task of local government reform must be pursued at the state level through a focused and sustained effort. State government should aggressively support and promote local efficiencies, identifying successful practices and removing barriers. Accordingly, we propose the creation of a Center for Local Government Efficiency, which could be established without new costs, in the same manner the Commission has operated, utilizing the resources of the many state agencies with missions related to local government efficiency. The reasons for this are as follows:
􀂃 Local government reform, including a review of state programs and statutes which affect local efficiency, is an essential element of economic competitiveness and property tax relief.
􀂃 Most of the local initiatives we have supported need continuing assistance (and we are still receiving additional initiatives). The process has proved to be an excellent way to build relationships with local leaders and bring attention to needed reforms. It also generates productive ideas for mandate relief and other advisable changes in state statutes and programs.
􀂃 Restructuring and reform of local government operations is a complex, long-term undertaking. Previous local government commission reports have generally gone unimplemented, despite the quality of their work and recommendations. A sustained Executive commitment is needed to facilitate local efforts and to ensure that state agencies are attuned to the impact of their programs on local governments.
Following this final report, the Commission’s mission should be sustained through an Executive-level Center for Local Government Efficiency that will provide a gateway to state government for citizens and local officials pursuing this goal. It will extend the local initiatives process and work of the Interagent>nt>ncy Task Force currently coordinated under the Commission. It will facilitate coordination of state agencies and resources supporting shared services and consolidation. Technical assistance for local governments would be provided with information on best practices, how-to manuals, agency referrals, and a website directing local officials and citizens to resources. This Center would also lead continuing research and policy development"

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Long Island Meta News Service: Part Three

Setting up the technical aspects of the LIMNS (Long Island MetaNet) is really not too difficult given the widespread availability and relatively inexpensive Web 2.0 and emerging Web 3.0 technologies.

So how to "spread the word" and create a Long Island based media network quickly?

In any organization there are folks who are just natural networkers. They know tons of folks. In fact if we did our own Six Degrees of Separation on Long Island we could probably reach almost every person of influence on Long Island. We want those people. The "meta networkers."

But they are not the only people we want.

I think most "average" folks don't realize the power, influence and good ideas they have. It is often pointed out that Long Island is "divided" by many different "political subdivisions" and this is true.

But we are also divided, among other things, by many different uncoordinated "like minded" organizations doing similar work and by regional media which acts as the "gatekeeper" of what we are permitted to hear, read and see about Long Island.

Fair enough. If you are engaged in a "profit driven" media entity you really have no choice but to make decisions based upon what will "sell."

But what if, through a dynamic, collaborative and flexible structure as the type described in many of the preceding 220 or so posts we allowed not only the "professionals" to shape the news and provide us with information and ideas, but anyone who wished to contribute to this "pan Long Island-ism" in a positive way?

Would it take time to create this new Long Island philosophy?

Of course.

Will it be easy?

Of course not.

But so what? What are the alternatives? More of the same? More of the same voices promoting the same ideas in the same way?

More in Part four.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Long Island Meta News Service: Part Two

OK so we're calling it a Long Island Meta News Service to take advantage of the current debate of the sale of Newsday, shameless self-promoters that we are.

But in fact, this "structure" may be applied to almost any form of mass (meta) communication and information distribution on Long Island or elsewhere. It is one of the central collaborative models we're promoting in our "One Long Island" series.

From a technical point of view, creating a "community based" news service really isn't all that difficult any longer. We define community as all individuals and organizations (of all types) on Long Island. Even organizing it isn't a monumental issue.

The difficult part is trust. Do we trust one another enough to engage in the type of broad based collaborative dialogue necessary to move Long Island forward? Or will we remain in our "cycle of stagnation" depending on old forms and methodologies to solve new and ever more complex problems?

Will those in power and with influence share the same stage with those who are not?

Make no mistake, we are not advocating some community based free for all. It must be professionally managed and open to all those who have productive information and ideas for Long Island.

No exclusive agendas, no partisanship. Just accurate information, ideas, opinions and analysis presented fairly.

Imagine. A news and information service with unlimited access to content about and for Long Island with the ability to do complex analysis easily and collaboratively.

I think it might be worth our time to explore the viability of this project.

More in part three.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Long Island Meta News Service: Part One

(Select image for larger view)

Good overview of Klogging: Long Island Klogging Network?

"Klogging for Managers - 4/19/02; 10:44:41 PM by PW 1. Introduction. You are a Knowledge Weblog (klog) sales rep calling on an IT department and its customers. What tools do you need to explain your product? To make your case? To guide decision making? To boilerplate deployment and maintenance? You are a Manager who wants to bootstrap knowledge management on a shoe string. What tools do you want to avoid risks, pave the way for success, and to make the whole process fun? Here is a partial list of what a klogging tool vendor's marketing department might produce. Suggestions? 2. Why does Klogging work? whitepaper. Includes case studies and measures of success. Klogging meets some knowledge management goals. Personal Memory Control = Freedom to write Memory = Accessible History + Views Voice = Experience + Judgement Ease = Usage Emergent Knowledge Many voices, each unique, contribute to the body of knowledge. Interactions and social behavior produce second-order results; whole greater than sum of the parts The body of observation grows daily. It is the base for pattern analysis, trend detection, memetic propagation. Marketplace of ideas. Klogs' narrative form and easy citation by linking encourages discussion and debate. Community Identity Out of everyone in the world, you choose some to know better than the rest. Self organizing and affiliating. Meaning, wisdom emerge. Klogging overcomes previously experienced problems. Klogging vs. the 11 Deadly KM Sins "Drift or Shift", Fahey and Prusak, 1998 Motivation Context Memory Usability Klogging rewards people for doing what comes naturally. People tell stories. They observe what's going on and comment. They narrate their lives to themselves. They seek recognition and approval from others. They connect with each other. They try to matter, to influence their surroundings, to control a little of their world. Klogging gives people places to do this. Sanctioned places, safe and comfortable. Suggestions? 3. How do I deploy a klogging at my organization? Klogging Deployment Project Plan. See my project management templates page. Work Breakdown Structure (wbs). Stages and tasks in a model project. Plan Get Project Preapproval Assess Requirements Design Solution Get Project Approval Pilot Rollout Control Tim Jarrett suggests three approaches to deployment at a university: There are three ways to do it that I can see, each with its own merits and disadvantages: Centralized push. Have Sloan’s IT services folks set up a Radio Community Server and put Radio on every first year MBA’s laptop. In the classroom. Have a few professors start using Radio as a knowledge sharing mechanism and put part of the class participation grade for their students in how well they use their weblogs. Approach #2 might have some legs. There are some classes, including the introduction to IT class, a few of the marketing classes, and a class being taught on virtual communities, with which Radio is a natural fit. You might get the professors on board pretty quickly, with the students doing exercises in Radio for a semester. From the grassroots. Have a few bleeding edge folks get their sleeves up and evangelize it. Phil > Let's see if we can adapt this to other organizations. User referrals. A grassroots approach. Seed early adopters with the tool. Listen carefully for hot buttons. Probe for their serious problems and experiment with how the tool makes things better. Pilot projects. Like any pilot, you want to: prove your solution works, discover which features and practices: generated the most value, provoked the strongest positive emotional response learn the best ways to use it in this environment. (click for entire article)"

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

More on a Long Island "Citizen Media"

News of the sale of Newsday has prompted many to worry about the potential lack of diversity in media coverage on Long Island. This clearly is a valid concern.

I think however, it misses the enormity and broad scope of the information and media changes that are upon us.

Some theorize that we have become too dependent on traditional sources of media, not only to inform us, but to think for us as well.

The explosion of blogging and other Web 2.0 technologies has given a voice to many who were previously shut out of the public policy arena, but it has also too widely dispersed and in some ways confused the general public even more. Additionally most blogging is "opinion based" and not subject to rigorous scrutiny, but so then is much of the "traditional" news we receive today.

Some have made good attempts to create like minded "blogospheres" and multimedia forums using Web 2.0. But often these "universes" are revolving around different centers and do not interact with one another.

Wouldn't it be helpful to know the facts behind the opinion? Isn't it more productive to have a flexible, collaborative system in place?

Would it be perfect? No.

Would it stop a lot of the "silliness" that currently invades our public policy discussions. I believe that it would.

So then we can continue to let other folks "think" for us, or we can develop and use the tools we require to "think" for ourselves.

The convergence of information technologies and media technologies that have accurate, verifiable information and standard and ad hoc analytical tools available to almost anyone with the will to use them is right around the corner. We can use them for positive change or allow other folks to use them to maintain the non-productive parts of the current "status quo."

Some have said to me, aren't you advocating a "lack of diversity" by promoting "One Long Island?" Just the opposite.

By creating flexible systems, collaborative tools with Web 3.0 technologies for the general public and policy makers (of all stripes) we give ourselves the best chance of keeping a representative democracy and diverse ideas alive and well.

What part does traditional media play in all this? That story is yet to be written so to speak. But it will need to balance the rise of the general public to inform itself and still maintain a viable business model.

I do not believe the two are mutually exclusive as we've discussed in many previous posts.

Here is a good article on Web 3.0 and "citizen media."

Like we've said before. Change will happen whether you want it to or not.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Is it true?

One of the overriding benefits of the One Long Island series of projects is the gradual construction of a "self regulating" or "self policing" system of information vetting and analysis.

Sites such as this one are useful, but are still dependent on traditional means of gathering and analyzing information. These practices will continue to be useful, but will not be enough as information becomes (or has already become) more voluminous, more nuanced and available in more and different formats. The human brain needs assistance in analyzing information accurately and quickly.

One Long Island attempts to anticipate Web 3.0 technologies even while we work to get the Island up to Web 2.0 standards.

As we've previously stated, a major impediment to creating sound public policy (in its broadest definition) is the lack of flexible, dynamic systems and standards for gathering, vetting, analyzing and distributing information. This is obviously not just an issue for Long Island, but I believe we have the tools on Long Island to create a model for other regions around the world.

If you want the general public, elected officials and other organizations and leaders to "get on the same page" for the benefit of Long Island, we first must have a way to satisfy most reasonable people that the information they have is accurate and has been fairly analyzed in the most complete possible manner.

Because until we can do this, we will always be behind the curve in creating and implementing innovative public policy for Long Island.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The "reverse engineering" of Long Island: Part One

"Reverse engineering (RE) is the process of discovering the technological principles of a device, object or system through analysis of its structure, function and operation. It often involves taking something (e.g. a mechanical device, electronic component, or software program) apart and analyzing its workings in detail, usually to try to make a new device or program that does the same thing without copying anything from the original."

OK. So I'm not 100% against taking things from "the original" as it relates to the "re-organization" of our governing structures and policies if, after careful examination, they work and are able to adapt to a dynamic view of Long Island as opposed to a static one. We've examined many of these ideas in previous posts.

But in order to create a Long Island for the next 50 to 100 years (technology may actually make that too long a window) we must re-examine everything we do.

As we've previously stated, new study, no matter how comprehensive and worthwhile, will become just another "layer" on the information pile if it is static.

It will be almost impossible to mobilize the public sentiment to achieve large scale positive change because we are not "singing from the same hymnal." The Long Island "hymnal" must be a collaborative creation.

So if we're serious about real change (in whatever form that ultimately takes), then we have to do a comprehensive, thorough analysis of what type of Long Island we want and what is even possible give our inherent physical limitations within a dynamic structure that allows for dynamic real time change and analysis and "meta-collaborative" participation.

With out a shared "Long Island Philosophy" it will be difficult for any Long Islander to trust that the information they are receiving is accurate and trustworthy.

More in Part Two.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Another plan ...

More static planning?

Not that this a bad idea, in fact it may turn out to be very productive.

But the idea of, once again, one group trying to plan an entire region's future strikes me as more of the same. A new report, no matter how professional, divorced from or marginally connected to all the other projects, ideas, organizations etc, won't get the job done.

As one example in hundreds, how will the creators of this report interact with the study being conducted at Dowling regarding a possible 51st state? Aren't both looking at many related issues?

Another example. How will the creators of this report interact with the many planned and operating business incubators/accelerators to determine potential business growth and the type of business growth for the next 50 years or so?

The point is that almost everything on Long Island has some bearing on everything else occurring on Long Island. Changing one thing potentially creates a domino effect.

We must know with reasonable certainty what these outcomes are likely to be or making change will be almost impossible to sell to elected officials, general public and Long Island organizations.

We need dynamic, real time planning. It must be inclusive and collaborative. It can not be mandated, it must contain many options and it must contain productive public input (not complaints or NIMBYism) from a diverse assortment of individuals and groups.

Before you plan, you must know what and who you're planning for. What type of future are you planning for Long Island?

Traditional planning models and techniques may be helpful, but they are not enough to change the course of Long Island history in a meaningful, sustainable manner.

Create a Long Island philosophy. Rethink how everything is done.

Editorial: LI needs new planning blueprint

Long Island can't go on like this: choking traffic, little mass transit, lack of affordable housing, threats to open space, unbearable property tax burdens and a sputtering economy - to name a few of our problems. We need a smart plan to recommend specific actions, and we need the commitment of our public officials to carry it out.

The Long Island Regional Planning Board took a first step yesterday toward that kind of plan. It looked westward to
New York City, whose PlaNYC is a model of both crunching the numbers and laying out doable recommendations.

The consulting firm that had a lot to do with creating that plan is McKinsey & Co. And Long Island's planning board served notice yesterday that it intends to hire McKinsey to create a blueprint for sustainability here - unless another firm offers a better proposal. Local not-for-profits have offered $500,000 toward the eventual $1.5 million to $2 million cost of the study if McKinsey does it.

To be a success, any plan must have strong action recommendations, plus staunch political backing. A word of warning: One of the 127 initiatives in PlaNYC was congestion pricing, which timid Albany lawmakers have just killed. The lesson is not that we don't need a plan, but that even the best blueprints need courageous politicians. Whatever McKinsey recommends, if the top leaders of the two counties don't fight for the tough changes this study is likely to urge, we'll be stuck in the same sad rut.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Long Island: The 51st State - Part Two

Some have found it amusing that this subject has reappeared. In fact, some have dismissed it out of hand.

But we should look at it as an opportunity to do some real analysis in a dynamic manner.

The folks at Dowling will, I have no doubt, do a thorough and professional job on the analysis, just as Mr. Koppelman and others have done previously.

But what will happen with the results?

Will they sit on a shelf somewhere never to be seen again?

As we have stated previously, there are many good ideas and intelligent folks on Long Island. What is missing is a coordinated approach to the issues.

Dowling should reach out to other universities (Stony Brook comes to mind on the technology end) and create a dynamic, sustainable dialogue about how government operates and how best to provide services among many issues to be addressed.

For example, what would the "perfect" government structure be? Form follows function as they say. What functions do we require on Long Island for the next 100 to 200 years? Can we achieve what is necessary with existing organizations and laws?

Is there something that can take the place of government in providing these services? How do we make the public (who own the government after all) more involved in the governing of Long Island?

The results can not go on a shelf (or even a static web site) or they will become useless.

The process of being or becoming excellent never really takes a break. Our new organization(s) and governing structures must be dynamic, collaborative and perpetual as we've described in many previous posts.

More in part three.