Preview of Gov 2.0 L.A. 2013 From Twitter.

Register for Gov 2.0 L.A. 2013 on Eventbrite

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Gov 2.0 L.A. 2013 is almost here.

As the founder of @Gov20la “Gov20LA” as it is referred to, I could not be more excited and proud. As the event gets ready to head into our fourth annual one; we are getting ready to make history, break some trendlines, and lead the dialog for another year.

But before discussing the amazing people who will be speaking I would like to highlight a major achievement of Gov 2.0 L.A.:

Since our first event in 2010, we have created and enabled an environment around building our speakers base as one that represents our society. So we have 50 percent female speakers and 50 percent male speakers. This is a critical achievement and comes at a critical time when this very issue is the subject of TV, Radio and written debate. Just recently there was an article by Nilofer Merchant (@nilofer) in the Harvard Business Review, with one of the salient points being made is that LESS than 20% of all conference speakers and panelists are Female. Less than 20%.

So Gov20LA is proud, as am I, to be able to say that we have beaten this particular national average and beaten it solidly. I continue to ensure that the speakers split for Gov20LA is evenly split between men and women, and did so because it is the right thing to do, not because we thought that in four years everyone would be talking about it. But that is what has now happened.

Gov20LA 2013 is going to rock! I could not be more excited about the powerful collection of women and men who will be speaking,

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Thank you! We look forward to seeing you in person and in our live stream on April 20, 2013.

Alan W. Silberberg, Founder, Gov 2.0 L.A.

Rocking Citizen Power in 2012.

As the 3rd annual Gov 2.0 L.A. (Gov20LA) approaches on April 21, 2012; I have been thinking a lot about why I started this conference and what it means for you, for me and for our futures. A few years back I wrote this piece “What is Gov20LA All About?”

In the 3 years since we have seen huge growth in social media, cloud computing, mobile technologies and the subsequent explosion of citizen involvement with our governments. This has caused all kinds of situations, good and bad. On the good we are seeing country after country begin to adopt open data and transparent aspects to their internal and external operations. We have seen citizens empowered to use their voice, many for the first time ever. We have witnessed several countries fall to “soft power” of people organizing, and then acting on the organization to effect change of a type we have never seen in our collective human history. On the bad, we are seeing totalitarian governments around the world cling to these new technologies and indeed even the people’s response to them; to crack down, imprison people, kill people and break up organized groups.

I have written in the past about the two headed side of #gov20 and social media in general with regard to Governments and the people who interact with them. This dichotomy is growing, not abating. We see people using technologies to force change yet at same time we are witnessing governments around the world investigate the same technologies to prevent change.

Gov20LA was created to act as a forum to collect the best and brightest people and their ideas and enable them to tell the world their stories. The idea has always been to empower people through learning about the cutting edge applications of technology in government and by the companies servicing them. We feel that by letting you see the speakers in a casual, yet live setting online – we all can learn from the human conversation and dialogue.

Technology is great, solves lots of problems and saves money when properly applied. The problem with most technology conferences and events is they are too jargon laden and usually do not encourage open dialogue with the speakers. We do the opposite. We want the dialogue. We want our speakers interacting both with the live audience in the room and the global Internet TV audience. So we have created an open environment, with some truly amazing people from inside and outside government leading the dialogue.

I am personally so humbled and excited by the continued awesome response Gov20LA receives worldwide. I can’t wait for this year. Join me. Thank you.

3 Themes for Gov 2.0 LA 2012 (and it’s our 3rd year!)

The third Gov20LA is coming up soon. In fact in April of 2012 at the same location as this year.

As we have in the last two years, the event will be fully live-streamed and interactive with twitter, facebook, chat.

We are past the point where the “Gov 2.0” in our name does more than evoke recognition. It is time to focus not on the theoretical but on the practical. This past year the world has witnessed upheaval and change on a scale that is new to all of us. When we did Gov20LA this year – Tunisia had just fallen, and the crisis in Egypt was just erupting in full; we had a collection of the some the world’s leading thinkers about guess what, social media in times of crisis and governments. It was to be sure pretty amazing timing. Hopefully the drama this coming year will once again be focused on the amazing speakers we will soon be announcing and the world eyes will be watching us with the ability to learn without being present in the room necessarily.

The three themes of this upcoming Gov20LA are going to be:

1. Business inside Government and how it is rapidly becoming different, things like SCRM are being deployed and government is basically being forced to restructure itself.

2. Goverments’ use and management of social media in crisis like the earthquake, hurricanes, riots.

3. Engagement is now being taken as a for granted thing, “everyone has a facebook page” but how real is it and how are crowd-sourcing and public private partnerships re-arranging the landscape?

We are requesting two things from you.

1. If you would like to submit a panel idea or speak please contact us here.

2. We will be issuing a follow up post before January 1, 2012 with regard to sponsorships and corporate opportunities, but if you are interested in sponsoring the event or some part of it, please contact us at Gov20LA@Gmail.com. Once again we appreciate all of the previous sponsors of the past two years, and could not have done it without each and every company and person who stepped up to sponsor the event.

Takeways from Gov 2.0 L.A. 2011 Listening and Learning

Gov 2.0 L.A. 2011 is now behind us. Such an amazing experience. Thought leaders and practitioners, entrepreneurs and government leaders all came together in one place, for an out of the box weekend filled with very smart people and ideas as well as collaboration and innovation.

My big takeaway as the Founder of Gov20LA:

The amount of listening and learning going on now at all levels of Government, whether international or local is vast. We learned from the Canadian, British and United States Governments just how much active listening is occurring on the global social media stage right now. These countries are both pushing out content in their own and many other languages, but are actively listening and seeking engagement from citizens (not always their own) in other countries. This is a profound statement, and shows clearly the need for Governments to create social media listening command centers (like Dell has for example.) At the same time, we learned from local leaders some of the challenges they face not just in listening but in creating actions out of the issues at hand. I must have heard the term “listening” from almost every panelist and speaker this weekend.

The other big takeaway is the amount of learning going on right now. Two, three years ago, the learning was “so what is this social media/gov 2.0 stuff anyways?” Now – that learning has leapfrogged to best practices, to what is working and not working, and to what lessons can be applied from the private sector into the public sector and vice-versa. We have gone from “what is open source” to “which open source platform/software are you using and why?” The learning is going on from one level of government to another, from one country to another and from one person to another. Remember word of mouth? Social media just expands on that and creates a broader cycle and more rapid response to the word of mouth.

My third powerful takeaway: there is a quiet evolution occurring that is actually creating new companies, new jobs and new possibilities for the marketplace. The explosion of open data is creating new pathways for entrepreneurs to attack centuries old problems in some cases. The interest of the news media and society at large in social media as intensified in recent months due to the continued use of social media as a change agent in the middle east and due to the fact that social media is becoming ubiquitous in much of society. But we also have a very bifurcated social media arena globally. In the west social media means internet (mostly) based platforms and networks. But in many places in Africa, or Latin America, the only social media available is SMS based off of mobile platforms with no graphics or video. But yet these SMS based social networks allow for micro-finance banking to occur in areas where even just a few years ago there were no communications abilities let alone “banking” abilities. So the changes that these tools and technology are producing is profound already.

Did social media cause the events in Egypt, Tunisia? Most of the attendees seemed to agree (loosely) that while social media and mobility played a huge role in these events, it was not the social media itself that was the cause, but rather a highly efficient tool that was tactically and strategically applied in a chaotic situation. There has always been “viral marketing” we have just moved from slower forms of communicating those ideas to instant delivery. What social media did do in those countries was provide a place for planning, strategy implementation and networking and recruiting. But it still took real people to make a real decision to put their real feet on the real streets. So social media was but just one part of a much larger picture driving these historical events unfolding in front of our very eyes.

We are way past rhetorical and ontological debates about “What is Gov 2.0” or “what is Opengov.” We are now into the delivery phase of the good revolution we call loosely “Gov 2.0.” In fact anyone still spending time debating what “it” is has already benched themselves from the tremendous action and movement in this space now.

My most quoted statement from the weekend:

“*We* are the shareholders. *We* own this business called government.”

The Mobile Gov 2.0 Influence

Mobility is the key. Government 2.0 and it’s namesake online “Gov 2.0” are already looking down the tunnel of version one – ie social media.

Version two is mobile. Mobile growth is explosive around the World. More and more people are using their mobile devices to become smarter, at least on the go smarter. Projected growth for mobile phones from the lowest phone only version to the smartest ones with “on-board life controls” is in the hundreds of percent over the next few years.

I have written about the Digital Divide many times.  The response has always been powerful. Why is this? Because it is a sensitive issue driven by fear of rich vs poor thinking. Unfortunately it’s true. As I have said before, a big part of the digital divide is now those “with smart phones” and those with “basic cellular” phones.  This is due to the increased mobility of our society as the continued economic realities around the world are changing living situations and human migration rapidly.

The person with the smart phone is able to go almost anywhere, find almost anything and be informed of alerts and information relative to their life no matter where they are. The person with the “basic” phone – or none at all does not. Pretty simple.

I caught a lot of grief for writing about the Social Darwinism of Gov 2.0 recently. Some people suggested I was loosely using a term I “did not seem to understand.” However, the economic situation is turning more and more of our society into us vs them/rich vs poor/smart info vs dumb or no info. I stand by what I wrote.

Just because the truth hurts does not mean it should not be told. The Mobile Gov 2.0 influence is already clear. Market leaders like www.citysourced.com and www.seeclickfix.com have been demonstrating that for a few years now. But there are a host of iphone apps and smartphone Gov 2.0 applications now available for download from dozens of companies. This past election showed the power of social media combined with mobile.

How many SMS messages were generated from a social media site visitation or share?

What percentage of the decision to vote was done through advanced, real time, mobile conversations flowing between campaigns and people’s pockets?

Think about that. Then think about how useful Government 2.0 applications become when the people, You 2.0, are in control – no matter where they are. This has huge implications on what is happening now, and what is to come in the next 18 months or so.

Look for the fusion of social media and mobility into Gov 2.0 in a real way. Look for how Government agencies start to be graded on their mobile access and Gov 2.0 access. Wait until the AARP or other large interest groups start issuing Gov 2.0 report cards along with the customary budgetary efficiency and policy effectiveness reports.