I recently attended the ICRW’s International Women’s Day event at the National Press Club. There was a sold out crowd sipping wine and noshing while talking about the really interesting things attendees were doing to support women’s issues. I met several really smart, devoted and funny people (shout out to you Nancy W. and Patricia D.!) who use events like this to network and be inspired because they are slowly changing the world. I attended because I knew I would meet people outside my normal networking circles and I wanted a window into the non-profit space.
I was impressed to learn that the gentleman sitting next to me was in town on business. He chose to spend his evening in D.C. (and his own money) at this event because he thinks about equality with Mercer. Admirable. I’m not sure I’d spend my time in a new city at a business event but bully for him.
Much of the discussion seemed esoteric until former First Lady of England spoke. Cherie Blair said that one of her biggest frustrations while her husband was in office was that governments are compartmentalized and lose a lot of economies when information sharing doesn’t happen. Programs move forward when they can build on each other as opposed to being redundant. Silos also stifle learning. Despite all the admirable work being done by each of the people on the panel, my mind wrapped around Mrs. Blair’s comments. Information sharing can be propelled with the appropriate digital media marketing programs.
Now how to apply this idea to governments.
If only there was a way to leverage the learnings from multiple agencies. I know many people have tried to tackle this but it almost sounds like it should be one agency’s job to organize and disseminate information. An agency in charge of cross-pollination. This agency would need to employ a combination of sophisticated software that allows thorough searchability, and a strategic plan that considers how information would be accessed by authorized users. The key is to create a framework that allows information to be excerpted, subscribed and shared so that further learning and cross-pollination can be facilitated. Considerations would be information architecture, tagging, permissions and the rules around sharing and dissemination of information. A project such as this would only be successful it it could be dynamic and expandable. Facinating!
I realize government programs such as this are not typical (thus Mrs. Blair’s frustrations) but . . . I can dream. And I do live in Washington, D.C. Hmmmmm . . .