Learn how to defeat Government 2.0 'villains'

Monday - 7/19/2010, 6:38pm EDT

Steve Radick, lead associate, Booz Allen Hamilton

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The transition to government 2.0 creates challenges for everyone as agencies look for ways to improve performance and transparency.

Earlier, DorobekInsider interviewed Luke Fretwell about his idea to designate June 15 as Government 2.0 Hero Day to "recognize citizens doing great work both inside and outside of government."

But every superhero has an arch enemy, and government heroes are no exception.

Steve Radick is lead associate at Booz Allen Hamilton and recently blogged about government 2.0 villains, how to spot them, and how to thwart them.

Radick says he was looking for a fun post idea and was inspired by Todd Heims' blog about the same topic.

"I thought, 'What a great idea! Why don't I do one around Gov 2.0? I've always been a super hero guy, interested in anything to do with super heroes and super villains'," he says.

While these descriptions are especially applicable to agencies transitioning to Gov 2.0, Radick says the villains exist in every company, regardless of size or function.

Radick's first villain, Dr. Closed Mind, has "The ability to make even the most new and innovative ideas seem like frivolous wastes of time," says Radick.

This is the colleague who resists change solely because it is change, preferring instead to maintain the status quo while making his stagnation appear to be focused hard work.

He adds Dr. Close Minded is best defeated with transparency. He says pointing out Dr. Close Minded's inefficient methods to more people will eventually spur change.

The Downer is the second villain Radick says to watch for. He seems to support the general idea of innovation but tends to look at potential roadblocks, often other villains, and decided the extra work isn't worth the effort.

Radick says The Downer is often motivated by fear and intimidation which are best overcome by highlighting positive changes.

The third villain on Radick's list is the Money Monger, the federal equivalent of the "sleazy, marketing, infomercial, get-rich-quick guy".

"He focuses on generating buzz and twitter followers rather than improving agency performance. Radick says defeating the Money Monger requires asking for a measure of success that is rooted in hard data, not hype.

The fourth villain, Cap't Conservative, "wants to do the right thing but gets bogged down in seeking justification and approval." Captain Conservative would never act first then ask for forgiveness; he always asks for permission.

Radick says "by securing the approval of people located above Captain Conservative on the organizational chart, you can mitigate his fear of doing something wrong and getting in trouble for it."

Silos are the fifth type of villain, and Raddick ranks them among the most powerful.

Because they consider their team unique, Silos refuse to cooperate out of an almost paranoid fear that everyone else has the worst intentions in mind. Radick says operating on open platforms, which limits opportunities to restrict information, is the best way to handle Silos.

Radick's sixth villain is the Information Sucker, the individual who steals ideas from Gov 2.0 heroes only to introduce the concepts elsewhere as his own creations. Radick says fear of Information Suckers can often give rise to Silos.

The key to discrediting Suckers is probing questions, "Because their "expertise" has been gained from a few white papers and PowerPoint presentations, their outer shell can be penetrated with follow-up questions," says Radick.

Though they didn't make his list of six, Radick also says agencies must be on the lookout for sideline sitters. While he's not concerned about people who don't actively push innovation, Radick says "the real danger comes when they sign up for new technologies but never come back and use it . . . there is so much content you can use if you just spend some time researching."

Meg Beasley is an intern with Federal News Radio.