(September 14th, 2011)

Open Government Communities Survey; Be Counted

Posted by Deborah Bryant in Communities.

If you’re involved in Open Government, I encourage you to participate in this first informal open government communities survey. The objective of the short survey is to create a view of the broad community of constituents that comprise the open government movement, with a special interest in understanding the interplay and influence of open source software and the open source community in forwarding their objectives.

The first set of responses collected by September 18th will travel to Northern Ireland for my presentation at the OpenGov Conference in Belfast on September 22nd, 2011. Results of the survey will be shared this fall on the Government Open Source Conference web site (goscon.org). Any questions? email me.

Thanks in advance or your participation!

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(September 13th, 2011)

GOSCON 2011 Shakes Up Government IT

Posted by Deborah Bryant in Events, GOSCON, National Government.

This year’s theme for the Innovation Nation Forum, which was co-located with GOSCON, was “Shake It Up,” and things were shaken up indeed. While we were a little sad that this year’s conference wrapped up early due the East Coast earthquake, we’re all pleased that no one was harmed. Plus, we did get to shake up all things government IT and open source before the lunch hour, presenting two panels on “Cost Take Out” and “Building Outside the Box.”

You can read more from the panels in the GOSCON and GOSCON DC Tweet streams. My colleague Gunnar Hellekson from RedHat has penned an excellent post on opensource.com summarizing the Cost Take Out panel. Alex Howard from O’Relly Media moderated that panel plus did a great writeup of the event entitled “Government IT’s Quiet Open Source Evolution”.

The good folks at MeriTalk, producers of Innovation Nation, have shared a video of the luncheon exec panel which was underway when the quake hit.  More materials from the conference are forthcoming; promise they’ll be exciting in less seismic ways.

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(August 9th, 2011)

Government Open Source Conference D.C. Program set for August 23

Posted by Deborah Bryant in Events, GOSCON, Local Government, National Government, Open Source Health IT, State Government, Technology.

GOSCON_DC2 SqPlease join me on August 23 at the Washington Convention Center for our Seventh Annual GOSCON, this year collocated with Innovation Nation Forum.  I’m very excited we’re partnering with MeriTalk for the event which takes this year’s burning government IT issues head-on.

Our program this month includes a great lineup of all agency leadership – from the FCC to the White House, the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, NASA, DHS and more.  A full program schedule, registration  and other details can be found at Innovation Nation, or you can check out the GOSCON site for speaker details.  Registration is complementary to government, one registration provides access to all Innovation Nation keynotes and sessions.

GOSCON Track details:
Cost Take Out: Where are the Savings in Open Source?

  • Greg Elin, Chief Data Officer, Federal Communications Commission
  • Tiffany Smith Licciardi, eDiplomacy, U.S. Department of State
  • Dr. David A. Wheeler, Research Staff Member, Institute for Defense Analyses
  • Alexander B. Howard, Gov 2.0 Correspondent, O’Reilly Media [Moderator]

Building Outside the Box: Leading Federal Agency Innovators

  • Matthew Burton, Office of the CIO, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • Scott Goodwin, Chief Information Officer for Space Operations, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • Dr. Douglas Maughan, Director, Cyber Security Division, Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology Directorate
  • Wayne Moses Burke, Executive Director, Open Forum Foundation [Moderator]

Open Source Lessons Learned: What the Feds can Learn from State and Local Gov

  • Carolyn Lawson, Chief Information Officer, Oregon Health Authority
  • Bryan Sivak, Chief Innovation Office, State of Maryland
  • Chris Vein, Executive Officer of the President
  • Deborah Bryant, Public Sector Communities Manager, Oregon State University Open Source Lab [moderator]

About GOSCON: The Government Open Source Conference (GOSCON) program is produced by Oregon State University Open Source Lab as part of its mission to educate and build community. Since 2005, GOSCON has helped fuel the adoption of open source technology in the public sector by attracting information technology leaders worldwide to its annual event. Ongoing conference content includes lessons learned in the development and integration of open source solutions into agency environments, exposure to projects and existing software applications and services, and opportunities to establish and foster relationships for collaboration around shared interests.

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(May 19th, 2011)

DoD Releases Open Technology Development: Lessons Learned by the Military

Posted by Deborah Bryant in GOSCON, National Government, Resource Materials.

It’s been about five years since the DoD-commissioned Open Technology Development Road Map was published, considered the definitive primer for smart government agencies and their personnel diving in to Open Source development, acquisition and operational policy-making.  The next anxiously-awaited (well, not anxious but very much looked-forward to) installment  – entitled “Open Technology Development: Lessons Learned and Best Practices for Military Software”  is now available in a PDF format.OTD_Lessons

You can down the new publication here: OTD-lessons-learned-military-FinalV1

If you’re interested in the 2006 Open Technology Road Map document, it’s still a great resource.  You can download it here: OTDRoadmap_v3_Final

If you’re interesting in watching the OTD’s author-on-point John Scott present the original OTD Road Map at GOSCON 2006, here’s the link to the video: http://www.youtube.com/user/osuosl#p/u/24/QOEFSygla5s

If you’d like to read Karl Fogel’s gushing review of the doc for Civic Commons, it’s here: http://civiccommons.org/2011/05/dod-open-technology-guide/

Finally, you can visit the Mil-OSS community at http://mil-oss.org/

A document I am very pleased to be associated with; thanks John Scott for the opportunity and congratulations on hitting another one out of the park.

Enjoy! and share with a friend.

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(January 13th, 2011)

US Federal Report Card on Open Source, Technology Released

Posted by Deborah Bryant in National Government, Projects.

osfa_logo2

Following the first year of implementation of the Open Government Directive, a number of valuable reports have addressed the openness and transparency progress made by federal agencies. Today’s Open Source for America (OSFA) report card digs a little deeper into its own domain – Open Source, Open Technology in use in their report on Federal Agencies.  Although the US White House Open Government Directive isn’t explicitly about underlying technology to “get to open”, it’s not gone without notice that open source software drives much of the infrastructure that makes the process work.  I like to think of it as a kind of  Swiss Army knife for open data and transparency.

But read the report, it’s all in there. Read the press release.

OSFA has also made the entire table available for download. Download the report.

According to the release…

The Federal Open Technology Report Card evaluated key indicators of open government and open technologies developed through online crowd sourcing and refined metrics outlined by the OSFA leadership committee. These included questions regarding public budgets, use of social media, and open source technology practices. 2010 marked the first year federal government agencies were operating under the Directive and Open Government Plans, and the results are promising. Many of the agencies scored well, while others have room for improvement. The Report Card assigned a percentage grade to the 15 Cabinet-level departments and agencies use of open source technologies, open formats, and technology tools for citizen engagement.

A few of the agencies graded in the report include:

  • Department of Defense (82 percent)
  • Department of Energy (72 percent)
  • Department of Health and Human Services (55 percent)
  • Department of Homeland Security (55 percent)
  • Department of Transportation (53 percent)

Open Source for America is one of the projects I enjoy working with.  It’s an all volunteer organization, so any time we can beg borrow and borrow our community members’ time to produce a report, it’s something to celebrate.


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(January 8th, 2011)

US Gov Memo Spells Out Open Source Inclusion in Federal Acquisition

Posted by Deborah Bryant in National Government, People, Resource Materials, policy.

First the musings: Because I’ve been involved with open source adoption in Government nearly since Al Gore invented the Internet, I get a lot of questions about what the White House is thinking about Open Source.  Joking aside, this has been present on people’s minds since the new administration took office.  For those familiar with some of the appointees’ backgrounds, there was a hope that open source software would play larger role in Federal IT.*  People got very excited when the White House web site moved to Drupal.  I thought it cool too, and accepted that as a sign of more flexible thinking.  At the same time, having run a technology policy office (at the state level) earlier in my career,  I understood that moving a web site to an open source Content Management System did not constitute a major break-through in a complex IT acquisition environment where the greatest savings and efficiencies remain in larger investments in software development for systems unique (if not common within) government.

On to the news: Yesterday’s United States Office of Management and Budget (OMB)  memo entitled “Technology Neutrality” and signed by the US Chief Information Officer Viveck Kundra is a balanced and inclusive expression of options the feds should consider when procuring information technology.

“…agencies should analyze alternatives that include proprietary, open source, and mixed source technologies. This allows the Government to pursue the best strategy to meet its particular needs.”

Even with its quiet Friday release, it has been reasonably well-covered by the press, along with a bit of speculation about “why now”.  You can check out some of the coverage at NextGov TechInsider, GovFresh, and FedRadio. Classically, the new media folks touched on implications for open source while Fed Radio’s take on the memo was “a reminder not to use brand names in their procurements.”

I’ll just take this as a win for a more balanced view, now institutionalized as advice to Federal CIOs.

What’s next?  I want to hear more about how the GSA may use use an open source cloud solution for that new forge.gov project.  We all have our wish lists, that one is high on mine.

* Viveck Kundra and Aneesh Chopra had extensive experience with open source in their respective roles prior to joining the Obama administration.  See Kundra’s GOSCON 2008 Keynote presentation “Open Source as a way of Life”.

GOSCON 2008 Keynote Slides

Click to Download 2008 GOSCON Keynote Presso


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(October 3rd, 2010)

The Year of Open Government: Who’s Making it So?

Posted by Deborah Bryant in Events, GOSCON, Local Government, National Government, Standards, State Government.

goscon_notsite_300I’m going to GOSCON 2010 – the Government Open Source Conference – of course, and as conference chair I hope I’ll see you there too.

We’re back in Portland Oregon this fall.  Visit the web site for news, conference program, speaker line up, and registration.

So you ask me, what’s hot this year?  One thing for certain; following the Obama Administration’s Open Government Directive, state and local governments have turned to the Swiss Army knife of open technology tools to crack open up government data for the sake of transparency and to unleash innovation in some of the most unexpected ways.

We’re gathering an amazing group of city, state, county and federal leadership to sharing their stories and successes, expose and debate the challenges. Great break-out sessions on what government is doing, and most exciting, the growing civic engagement movements in government IT like Civic Commons and others.  Deep discussions in the hallways.  Interactive panels. Lively debates in the after hours of Portland’s great pubs and eateries.

We’re partnering with the Seattle non-profit  Knowledge As Power  and the OpenGovWest folks this year and hosting an Open Data Summit.

We’re launching a first ever IgniteGov event smack in the middle of GOSCON, to gather the public service/civic advocacy/transparency/community crowd for a fast-paced and fun exchange of ideas.

And much more.  Check out the web site, and help us spread the word.  Here’s the Digest version:

Event: The Government Open Source Conference (GOSCON 2010)
Web Site: http://goscon.org
Dates: October 26, Open Data Summit, October 27-28, GOSCON
Topics: Role of open source software and collaboration enabling leading Open Government and Transparency initiatives throughout the US. Open technology strategy, policy, acquisitions, operations, organizational readiness, exemplary projects and use case are covered in breakout sessions.  Executive Open Data Round table includes state, city and federal leadership. Open Data Summit on gathers government, civic, and technology interests to collaborate on standards issue.
Intended Audience: Pubic Sector CIOs, IT Directors, Infrastructure and Development Mangers, Contract Managers, Data Managers, Enterprise Architects, IT Policy Advisers, Public Information Officers, Public Administrators with responsibility for information technology strategy.  Internal gov2.0 evangelists will also benefit from the program.

Location: The Nines Hotel, 525 SW Morrison, Portland, Oregon 97204

Registration:    Government and non-profits, $195 until October 18, $250 thereafter, Corporate $295 until October 18, $375 thereafter (includes all sessions, exhibits, conference meals, and materials.

Conference Organizers: Oregon State University Open Source Lab osuosl.org

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(October 2nd, 2010)

I’m Going to GOSCON, You Can Too.

Posted by Deborah Bryant in Events, GOSCON, Notes from the Editor.

goscon_attendingTomorrow I’ll tell you why I’m so excited about this month’s 2010 Government Open Source Conference, but I haven’t been blogging some much recently (@debbryant has been busier) and I didn’t want you all thinking I was doing something else this October!

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(May 4th, 2010)

Open Source and the NextGen Health Care IT Community

Posted by Deborah Bryant in Events, Local Government, Open Source Health IT.

govlooplogoAs Featured on GovLoop

I spend a fair amount of time at Open Source conferences. I arrive with a government bias plus some of the great ideas that open source enables like transparency and open government. Although most panels/sessions/talks/round tables will eventually get around to the idea of education and work force training, I rarely see anyone responsible for actually delivering or receiving that training at these events.

posscon_logo_transI recently participated in POSSCON, the 3rd annual Palmetto Open Source Software Convention, hosted in South Carolina capitol city of Columbia. My experience with this community was inspiring and I think it can serve as a lesson for many.

During an executive panel discussion the moderator, Matt Asay, asked me to give an example of a government open source project. I described (in layman’s terms) the information challenge in health care, the increasing use of open-standards and open source, and its potential to improve interoperability in health care systems. I also cited the U.S. Health and Human Services’ CONNECT project as a great example of using the open source development and community methodology.

Afterward I was approached by several people who told me “We really couldn’t get what the panel was talking about until you started talking about open source and Health IT as a real example – then we got it.” Open source had little tangible value to this group until it was described in context. What is the impact to a patient when their health care records are incomplete? When their information is scattered between physicians, pharmacies, immediate care centers, rest homes, dentists offices, and hospital emergency rooms? When those systems are not designed to work together? When they understand how open source can help solve these problems, they “get it.”

Twenty students from the South Carolina Rehabilitation Center were there. Their stories were impressive. One student’s career as an LVN had ended with an accident so she was retraining in health information technology. I introduced her to a medical clinic open source entrepreneur from Atlanta that was going to need subject matter expert. Another student’s goal was to open a shelter for homeless vets. We talked about Virginia’s Veteran’s Affairs open-API community portal work – where the community of veterans help an understaffed VA get through paperwork and identify resources for returning vets. She’s now interested in doing the same thing in South Carolina. A third student with a degree in Health Informatics learned about HHS’ electronic health record project, CONNECT. Every discussion included opportunities to leverage open source, and a great desire to improve people’s lives.

The opportunity for open source in health IT is immediately apparent in every niche of that industry. I recently learned my own dentist used open source software to run his clinic! In government, we see this opportunity in the Health and Human Services’ national health information network architecture, in the National Cancer Institute’s research, the way the Social Security Administration handles sensitive health records, and the way the Veteran’s Administration runs hospitals. In a clinical setting, state and local government can expect citizens to be better served through Electronic Health Records services and improved patient care — particularly for under-served communities. The most exciting development is with Personal Health Records, consumer-based patient-centric information that will empower individuals to master their own health care (a topic for another post).

Back to the event itself; interdisciplinary and cross-industry events can be tricky to make successful but can be super-conductors for innovation. The challenge is that different audiences have varying interests and attention spans. Blended audiences, especially Columbia’s with representation from education, business, government and technology, need facilitation if interaction is the goal. POSSCON organizers did a great job of building a strong program that had something for everyone and in a format designed to converge everyone’s interests. POSSCON was a great example of how valuable face-to-face events such as this can be, even though collaboration can be happening every day virtually. Having everyone in a room is critical to inspiring, coalescing, creating and sustaining motion.

I once read that the complexity of today’s problems can only be solved by teams of people who do not naturally work together. Open source software and the kind of thinking and collaboration used to create it provides a framework to solve some of the thorniest and most interesting problems around. I think POSSCON is a wonderful example of this in bringing industry, government and education together under one well-pitched big tent.

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(March 16th, 2010)

Open Source Lab Inside Story at OSBC March 18th

Posted by Deborah Bryant in Communities, Events, People.

OSBC_bannerMy executive hero and Oregon State University Open Source Lab (OSU OSL) visionary Curt Pederson will be doing a talk about the OSL at this week’s Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco.  If you’re going to be at OSBC drop by and thank Curt for his critical role in making the case for the creation of the OSL six years ago.  The dedicated staff and students at the OSL have created a world-class home for dozens of important open source communites like the Linux Foundation, Apache Foundation, Drupal, Gentoo Foundation, Debian Linux and many more.

Curt is a fantastic supporter of open Collaboration and loves to share the inside story of the Lab. He’ll be speaking Thursday March 18th at 4 p.m., here’s the abstract:

Inside the Open Source Lab
Curt Pederson, Vice Provost and CIO, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon

Oregon State University has emerged as one or the global leaders in the expanding “open source” movement and an integral part of a growing Oregon movement in support of community based innovation and collaboration. From Oregon resident Linus Torvalds and Governor Kulongoski to the student employees working in the Open Source Lab (OSL), we have a very unique open climate for doing leading edge research, teaching and business in Oregon and beyond.

Curt Pederson will describe Oregon State University’s role in today’s emerging “open ecosystem” and how the OSL has gone from being a spectator to having one of the largest host sites of open source applications and community Linux releases in the world. Curt will also discuss the overall ROI that OSU has obtained by using open source tools versus other commercial solutions.

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