Social networks for government officials: Govloop.com and Gosbook.ru
Social networks are not only time-killers, but useful working tools as well. For example, clones of western projects regarding electronic government actively developnowadays in Russia, and social network for government officials and experts is a freestanding niche. I’ve got in touch with managers of two the most outstanding projects — Steve Ressler, CEO of GovLoop andSergey Holkin, CEO of GosBook.
Russians and Americans: differences and similarities.
Both platforms have been launched based on similar purposes. GovLoop.com and GosBook are both the sites, where officials and experts can exchange opinions and share the best practices. All that will let them learn from each other and be more effective in their performance.
GovLoop assists officials who work on similar projects to join their efforts, whereas GosBook initially aimed to exchange information among members of Expert advisory group of Information society development council under the President of Russian Federation. However, today GosBook not only informs, but also creates intelligent data base with expert recommendations and successful cases; creates databases of experts in the fields, participates actively in expertise of developing projects.
As a result, initial Web-sites start bringing ‘offline profit’. For example, current issues are solved due to GovLoop prompter and more effective. They learn daily about innovations of other similar agencies, get responses for their highly specialized questions and build cooperative and interactive relationships. One of the GovLoop.com groups– Procurement 2.0 (Purchase 2.0; Initiation 2.0) – was so active that they started to organize personal events, launched a new thought provoking Better Buy Project site, and, interestingly, started to use WIKI and new technologies.
The words of Lincoln Chafee, the Governor of Rhode Island, became a compliment to this new web platform: “Using GovLoop, social network for officials, will help Rhode Island to learn from the experience of others in resolving similar issues and share the best practices of problem solving both intra- and extra- departments”.
Russian GosBook has also succeeded: for example, they initiated a discussion on “Plan of high-priority measures for resolving of transport issues of Moscow city” proposed by Moscow government. All the opinions were filed and the final analysis was sent to Moscow government.
Under realization of “Concept of creating of informational system in public health service for the period until 2020” GosBook together with ECG and ADMIT (Association of Development of Medical Info Technologies) gathers recommendations for realization of regional programs of health service modernization in terms of IT implementation. The best practices of solutions implementation in medical institutions of different regions,which may be useful for representatives of the executive authorities of the Russian Federation are gathered here. Solutions and work in progress are being announced on the pages of “Public healthcare and medical service development” network.
Do such projects have future? Creators of GovLoop assert that they do. This platform managed to join more than 38 000 participants all over the world, and has strong chances to expand. The global purpose of the project is conjoining the Government to improve its performance. GosBook is more moderate in its results, nevertheless, creators of the platform believe that it is necessary to develop this project with the experience of real cases and with tangible usefulness for solving of government management issues. However, electronic government will become more effective only when officials realize the necessity of such dialogue with the public.
GovLoop and GosBook are similar in their ideology and practice, but exposure audience of English-speaking project is wider. Thus, solutions concept became international, i.e. it considers positive experience and fails of the experts of many countries.
The question is: Is that enough for our project to have only Russian experience?