Tuesday, February 17, 2009

2.0@CSL Camp wrapup

We ran a "23 Things" project with our colleagues this fall through January. Not everyone got as involved with it as we'd hoped - and those that did often dropped off in participation. By the end, I think maybe a half dozen folks completed the work. We decided to wrap things up with an "unconference". We'd called our project 2.0@CSL, so we called this 2.0@CSL camp. 8 people RSVP'ed. Another 6 or so showed up w/o RSVPs.

We set the agenda this morning & here's what we came up with:

  • 2.0@CSL - how it went, what could've been done better, should we do it again & if so, how
  • using 2.0 technologies at CSL - now that we know about the tech, what can we incorporate and how
  • obstacles to 2.0 tech at CSL
  • usability of the website
Things were humming along pretty well, lots of ideas on what we might do better if we were to do the 2.0@CSL project again. People did want to do it this summer. Then we looked at the Alaska State Library twitter stream & talked about how it might be apropos for our work. We made a list of tech that we might want to take advantage of:

  • IM (for reference and/or amongst colleagues)
  • Twitter (a la Alaska State Library & Topeka, etc.)
  • screencasting (e.g., for tutorials)
  • videos, multimedia
  • del.icio.us (or similar online bookmarking/tagging tools, I'm partial to trying out Twine, myself, as it uses RDF)
  • blogs, wikis (well, we already use these technologies in some projects/aspects of our site, but there's a lot morewe could do with them if we were so inclined)

Then we talked about the obstacles to 2.0@CSL. The point was to find solutions. Unfortunately, it was pronounced that there would be no solution to the ultimate issue - one of policy - are we allowed to use web2.0 tools? It was one unconference attendee's interpretation of State policies that we could not use these tools. This person has history, stature, clout, position, so doubtless they were correct.

The way it was talked about implied that the Dept. of Information Technology would shut down our agency's access to the internet if they found out we even used these tools in our demos during the unconference. There was also a veiled suggestion that our employment might be in jeopardy for "violating" these policies - something that hits at the heart of most people's fear center these days. Now how our state-run institutions of higher education can offer web-based services that use Web2.0 tools can get away with it when we cannot, I couldn't quite make out.

Some of the people involved in the 2.0@CSL project said that they weren't interested in re-running it this summer, even with the suggested modifications because - if we aren't actually going to do anything with this technology - why bother?

So that's the effect that one person who is offering problem(s) with no solution(s) can have on a group. Whether it's unintentional or not, this type of negativity can derail organizational initiatives. Instead of discussing the ways around things, we are told that things are as they are - that we will not be allowed to move forward.

I think all unconferences should have in their rule book - you cannot talk about an obstacle without putting forth an idea of how to get around / deal with that obstacle.

The reality is that we will never make good decisions if we allow our organizational development to be dictated by fear, not hope. In order to prevail, we have to keep fighting the good fight. We can't flag, lose courage, or go negative. But we MUST persist. We must speak the truth, though we have to try and speak it in a way that is merciful. We must seek out and nurture only that which is constructive and route out that which is destructive to our organizations and the people they serve.

To that end, we will make clear our business case as to why the use of these tools will extend our services to the citizenry we serve. We will convince DOIT that because we are using these tools in the service of our mission, we are clearly not misusing state systems. I refuse to give up on this. I move toward hope, ever towards hope.

BTW, here are some links you might find useful as a kind of "guidebook" on how to prevent innovation, just in case you were looking for one... I see these as a kind of anti-guidebook, but who knows, maybe people actually use these on purpose?


Anonymous said...

More power to the people!!

pollyalida said...

Great links! Now, how to get people to read them. Keep up the good fight!