Europe: What can we do to harmonize EU rules on cloud?

Government Cloud Ride

Government Cloud Ride

John Miller writes at the Wall Street Journal about the efforts underway to try and find the accurate balance in the cloud and data sovereignty debates throughout Europe.

Many of us are trying to hit that correct balance between valid concerns over citizen privacy and the pressing need to allow governments to take advantage of the benefits of the cloud computing model.  It is by no means a simple equation, as many of the options appear to break the original business models surrounding the cloud.  But many folks are starting to think creatively about solutions.  Our announcement this past month of our Azure Appliance has much promise indeed.

But harmonization and certainty is a longer term solution.  What the nature of that harmonization is has not been brought into focus yet.  It could go in multiple directions. 

What do folks out there think the answer is?

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Milwaukee and Missouri: Creating Sustainable Change In Government

Wraparound Milwaukee - Changing Government

Wraparound Milwaukee - Changing Government

I love to talk about Milwaukee (where I was born and raised and, at least somewhat, educated).

Tim Decker posts about Wraparound Milwaukee in his latest post on Better Faster Cheaper.  It is a great program, helps kids in need and innovates the right way.  It is not just change because someone said it was important to change.  It is purposeful.  Thoughtful.  Original.  And impactful.

They, as well as Tim’s own Missouri Division of Youth Services, focus on several dynamics of change in Government which make it all work.  The basics are outlined below:

Reframe your vision. Leadership must change its vision of what the organization is doing. In our cases, this meant a new approach to helping our youth and a new view on what they themselves were capable of. At Wraparound we created a shared vision based on the common value that care should be strength-based, individualized, family-directed and community-based. Missouri Division of Youth Services created a set of beliefs and principles that fundamentally reshaped how the system viewed youth, families and the rehabilitative process.

Show it works. When people can’t fathom that a different path might exist, show them. A pilot program can also take away some of the political risk you’re asking your sponsors to take. In a Milwaukee County pilot, within ninety days 17 of 25 children in residential treatment returned home. Within a year we had sent all the children but one back to their families. The results went a long way toward convincing Medicaid, juvenile justice and child welfare officials to sign on. Missouri gradually opened smaller programs across the state, prior to closing its large institutions, to show policymakers and frontline workers, among others, that the new approach would work.

Look across systems. True innovators think systemically. This includes an appreciation of how change in one part of the agency has effects elsewhere in the agency; the role of the environment in which youth are living; and the political dynamics and power. In Milwaukee, considerable effort was invested into understanding the strengths, resources and needs of the Milwaukee community and into understanding the rules of the major funding streams.

Be strategic about change. Often we try to adopt new program ideas like evidence-based therapy without paying attention to the underlying but requisite change in culture. Effective change in organizational culture requires a strategic mindset of how to change the status quo. Cultural change, for example, is often driven by having the right people who share a set of beliefs and philosophies. In Missouri, we now operate on the belief that all youth desire to do well and succeed. Sounds simple, but it reflects a significant change from the old model.

Mobilize a constituency. Sustainability and growth require constituency building. In Milwaukee, they began with a well-defined focus on the population they would serve, and these families became their most important supporters. They also tied proposed reform to other initiatives at the state and federal levels. In Missouri, we recruited a statewide advisory board comprised of respected citizens and civic leaders, but we also have community liaison councils and rely heavily on parents and families as allies. Maintaining transparency, showing empathy, building relationships and keeping the stories and messages positive are keys to mobilizing the support needed.

I think this is a valid framework from which to approach Change in Government, writ large.  As many of you know, I have been a zealot for Change in Government for years.  I have seen passionate people win battles, but lose wars and am on a mission to ensure that Governments succeed in their efforts to reform, long term.  It is not enough to feel a spirit of change every 3 to 4 years when a new leader gets installed or elected.  We must ensure that the permanent civil service and professional staff embrace change as part of what they do.

In order for that to work, we must have a lens through which this change makes sense.  A framework.  At the risk of sounding like a consultant, a model.

This great work is a great start (and a tip of the hat to Missouri and Milwaukee).

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Frugal Innovation: Another Framework to Change Government

ATOM CPU could change Government Technology Adoption Worldwide

ATOM CPU could change Government Technology Adoption Worldwide

Nitish Mukhi @ GovFresh highlights some interesting work from The Economist on Frugal Innovation.  Interesting that we continue to try to place private sector efforts on top of public sector business processes. While I think we can learn a lot from these efforts, we need to be purposeful as to when they apply and when they wont work.

That being said, Nitish has interesting insight into the article:

  • Focus on your core business and contract out the rest  Governments are realizing that they are in the business of protecting and serving the citizens and not in the business of writing software applications. This is one reason why we are seeing a huge push towards Commercial Off The Shelf solutions and away from custom applications. This also applies to how governments deliver services. The City of Arlington, Texas, has a program called Code Rangers, where citizens are trained in the most common code enforcement violations to help with bylaw enforcement issues and has outsourced several inspections to third party firms all because they know their core focus.
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  • Use existing technology in imaginative new ways The world where every department within a government organization bought their own siloed workflow application for its own purpose where it didnt have to share data with the rest of the organization are gone. Also gone are the days where governments could easily find and retain talented IT staff to sustain all those applications. When Province of Nova Scotia was asked to quickly develop a tax rebate system by the Premier, it had a couple of options: build from scratch or see what existing technology they can leverage. Within a matter of months, Nova Scotia had a rebate system up and running on a COTS platform. The City of St. Paul, Minnesota has leveraged its existing permitting software to also automate its internal IT support and ticketing functions. On a personal note, Im excited to see that governments are using existing technology in such creative and imaginative ways. This imaginative thinking has helped government agencies deliver more services with less costs, effort and resources.
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  • Apply mass production techniques in new and unexpected areas  If you were to walk into the first floor of city hall or the building department of City of San Jose, CA, City of Arlington, TX, or Orange County, FL, you will see a well laid out and planned One Stop Shop for Permitting. Where previously, the permitting process was disjointed, these organizations have setup a One Stop Shop to manage large volumes of customers in a streamlined and efficient manner. The sheer volume of applicants these organizations face has forced them to rethink their processes, specialize its people, and leverage various technologies to deliver the required results.
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    VMWorld 2010: Virtualization Market Benefits from Open Conversations and Competition

    Virtualization - Competition Great for Customers on Virtualization

    The coverage of the Microsoft Open Letter to VMWare customers has caused a bit of a stir, but I wanted to answer a few questions posed to me so far this morning directly.

    The basic question was surrounding who has already made the shift that we have been talking about today.  Here is a quick list that starts to show the folks benefitting from the move:

    All of these and more case studies for these customers can be found here. Recent examples of folks who have switched from VMWare to Hyper-V include:

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    Whats old is new again…

    Interesting how we forget about the great work governments have done over the years.  Folks talk about transparency as if this is the first time we have considered it, but listen to this podcast to understand exactly what the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has been doing for years.

    NRC

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    Change in Government: Can we make CHANGE part of Government DNA?

     Bill Eggers and John O’Leary write a great post @ Governing about sustainability. I am a huge fan of them both, and especially thank Bill for helping support NASCIO while I was President.

    Change in Government: Can we make change part of Government DNA?

    Change in Government: Can we make change part of Government DNA?

    The post deals with my obsession in Government, sustainability. Not the environmental kind (although I fully support as well) but sustaining government itself. Getting to the core of what we do. Wondering out loud whether we should continue doing everything we do or just some subset. It asks the valid Drucker questions about whether we would start doing this again if we had the choice and if so, from the ground up, how would we do it.

    While I believe we need some large scale changes in Government, I was tought by one of my law professors, Jim Jones @ UW Law, that we need to build bridges in society for large scale change. As society needs it, so does Government itself. We need to give civil servants around the world safe spaces and platforms to discuss change in real ways. They will need some processes to deal with the change, internalize it and make it part of their DNA.

    And if we are to make it lasting we need to grow some patience. And we need to bridge in some persistence. Change cannot rely on a bright individual every few years to make it happen, it needs to grow in our up and coming leaders, our students and our kids.

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    UK: Open Data starting to have effect

    Government Mapping Data: Open Government in Elections

    Government Mapping Data: Open Government in Elections

    It is definitely the geek in me, with a tad bit of history.  When I started people.political a few years back (ok many years back) I cannot explain to you how frustrating it was to mash up postal codes, geolocations, congressional districts and walking lists for get out the vote efforts.  Nothing to say about the difficulty of then patchworking together multiple county and city voter files to try to figure out anything useful for a political campaign to use.

    The push to open data will make this a clickable enterprise (ok a few more steps than just  a click).  But as Simon shows at Puffbox the UK drive to Open Data is starting to show an effect.  MaPitis an interesting experiment that would have made my world much easier way back then.  Now folks can focus on some of the great value that can be added to this data.  Instead of political consultants like me leveraging the data, citizens should be able to do it in incredible ways. 

    What if they match an MP’s district to cases of blood toxicity and map over that individual votes on environmental legislation?  What if we can enable police districts to highlight nuisance calls in a particular area which almost always lead to increases in violent crime, so that they can deploy constables PRIOR to issues arising?  What if we can show an larger than average rise in income in Congressional Districts that have a higher percentage of active voters (increasing participation across the globe)?  What if we could correlate social computing technology use to successful policy outcomes (proving the power of netroots)?

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