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The PdF Network is PdF's premium membership service, designed to give those working in government, politics, advocacy, and many more sectors, unparalleled access to industry experts and resources. As we work to upgrade the network, launching at the end of spring, we're offering the PdF Network's bi-monthly call series to the public at no cost.

Bryan Sivak.

Last week on the PdF Network call with Bryan Sivak, we dug into the hard problem of changing the culture of government from the inside to make people and processes more collaborative, open and network-centric. Sivak, the former CTO of Washington, DC, from 2009 till this past January, drew heavily on his own experience from years in the private sector building a knowledge management business. But he also clearly learned on the job in DC what can work in the bureaucratic environment.

The biggest obstacle to change, he said, is "fear." Government leaders and line workers alike have been inculcated with a fear of making mistakes, and risk avoidance is rampant. So change agents have to address that concern head on, he said, and the best approach is to show people the "specific and beneficial effects" that new methods can deliver.

For example, on the call he described how he introduced the internal social networking tool Yammer to DC government. It started with him simply inviting a few colleagues at the CTO's office to join in, and he deliberately allowed its use to spread organically, as people found value in being plugged in across various agencies to share information and advice.

"It took on a life of its own," he told us, eventually being adopted by thousands of DC workers. When communications staffers got wind of its use, there were indeed the inevitable worries about loss of control, or leaks of embarrassing information. Sivak says he addressed those by showing those folks--who included people in the DC Mayor's office--how to install and use Yammer on their Blackberries and PDAs. And as they how useful it was, their fears disappeared.

As with other PdF Network calls, this one attracted a great mix of participants with smart questions, including from a two-term city councilwoman in Ohio, a congressional staffer in a field office in Connecticut, and a DC think-tank staffer. If you missed the call, you should check it out--especially if you're looking for common-sense advice on how to get colleagues to get with the digital age!

Next PdF Network Calls:

Sign up for them here.

March 31, 1pm-2pm EST
Anatomy of a Social Media Success: "It Gets Better" Project

How did a single uplifting online video, inspired by a horrific news story, turn into a worldwide movement that produced over 5000 user-created videos and over 15 million views? The It Gets Better Project was created to show young LGBT people the levels of happiness, potential, and positivity their lives will reach. Scott Zumwalt is Project Manager for the campaign, overseeing online, grassroots and volunteer strategy.

Presented in Partnership With:


April 14, 1pm-2pm EST
Social Media and Congress: Changing Your Relationship with Constituents

Social networking in Congress is about more than just PR. In the words of U.S. Representative Darrel Issa, it’s giving elected officials a way to, “meet the American peoples’ expectation of a government that is efficient, transparent, and accountable.” In this call, Gerrit Lansing, New Media Director for U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), and Seamus Kraft, Director of New Media for U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), will discuss how their offices are leading the charge for tech-driven constituent relations.


Podcast for: Digital DC- How to Create a New Culture of Digital Government

-download podcast here
-Stream podcast here: