During a stint as Disinformation‘s site editor I learnt to monitor how analysts and experts respond to significant events. Analysts and experts can situate the significant event in relation to a discipline or knowledge area. So, it’s a strategy in which the event and the expertise are wayfinders to help learn about the discipline, in a contextual, real-time way.
For the past five days I’ve looked at Change.gov: how President-Elect Obama uses open government principles and strategic communication to implement his transition prior to the Inauguration on 20th January 2009. It’s not all gone smoothly: ProPublica‘s Mike Webb and BoingBoing‘s Xeni Jardin note that some early information on Obama Administration policies were removed (Slate confirmed this occurred). The Obama campaign’s Twitter page may be dead as the President-Elect now opts for more traditional media outlets. Despite this, Change.gov is a very intriguing project that generates lots of commentary in the media and policy circles.
As a real-time case study Change.gov may turn out to be a richer learning experience than an entire bookshelf of dotcom era books on change management projects, e-government transformation and e-policy ecosystems. Who will write the case study for Harvard Business School MBAs and Harvard Kennedy School policymakers? Will the Obama Administration license David Bowie‘s “Changes” as the site’s theme music?
A side-benefit of Change.gov is some really insightful media commentary about the games that new political appointees must play to thrive in the Beltway. Exhibit One: The New Republic‘s Noam Scheiber explains how Tim Geitner cultivates a keen political awareness for institutional buy-in and is a frontrunner for the US Treasury Secretary. Geitner’s insights are useful for change agents or anyone who wants to navigate organisational politics.