OMB wants to bring expert help to agencies

Monday - 12/20/2010, 5:50pm EST

By Jason Miller
Executive Editor
Federal News Radio

The Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Science and Technology Policy want to bring the experience and knowledge of experts to agencies.

OMB's Performance team, with help from the General Services Administration, and the Chief Technology Officer's Office want to launch an Expert Networking (Expert-net) tool to let agencies use crowd sourcing and social media to find help in solving mission critical issues.

To that end, OMB issued a request for information earlier this month seeking industry advice for developing a governmentwide platform and process around this new tool.

"The proposed concept is intended to be complementary to two of the ways the federal government currently obtains expertise to inform decision-making, namely by convening Federal Advisory Committees and announcing public comment opportunities in the Federal Register," wrote Aneesh Chopra, federal CTO, and Shelley Metzenbaum, OMB's associate director, Performance and Personnel Management, on a recent blog post.

OMB and OSTP set up a wiki and a discussion board to obtain input on the Expert-net approach and test out the eventual process.

OMB and OSTP will accept comments on the RFI through Jan. 7. Interested parties also can comment by e-mail: expertnet@ostp.gov.

"We are eager to see if this kind of technology helps us receive meaningful, manageable feedback in response to a written policy proposal like the draft concept for ExpertNet," Chopra and Metzenbaum wrote.

Expert-net could be similar to what OMB and GSA did around the Challenge.gov platform. One possible difference is that Challenge.gov is trying to solve a specific problem, while Expert-net likely will look at larger issues where there could be several solutions to problems.

"Because we anticipate that a citizen consultation tool could be broadly used to pose questions to the public to elicit relevant and manageable feedback, we offer a specific example in the design concept on how the Expert-net process could work to help the hypothetical Department of Innovation's Adult Learners Division better achieve its stated goal of improving adult reading, writing, and mathematical performance," Chopra and Metzenbaum wrote.

Another similar platform is the Patent and Trademark Office's Peer-to-Patent platform to help speed up the issuance of patents.

(Copyright 2010 by FederalNewsRadio.com. All Rights Reserved.)