MOC: Dorris explains split at GSA's Office of Citizen Services

Monday - 5/24/2010, 11:08am EDT

Martha Dorris, Deputy Associate Administrator, Office of Citizen Services, GSA

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By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor
FederalNewsRadio.com

Federal News Radio has told you there are a number of changes afoot at the General Services Administration.

Martha Dorris told the Federal Drive "it's a great time to be at GSA and in the new Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technology." She'd know. As Deputy Associate Administrator of the Office of Citizen Services she's directly affected.

Dorris has been part of the office since it was created in 2002, "and it's been a great ride for all of us," she said. Now, the office will reportedly be split in two, with one side focusing on citizen services and other on innovation.

Dorris explained from the Management of Change Conference in Philadelphia "our new administrator, Martha Johnson, wants a lot of new and innovative things in the Office of Communications. We are doing a lot in the innovation area around technology ourselves and have a lot of the new e-gov initiatives so she felt that it would be a good move to make us stand-alone organizations."

One of the changes include a redesign of USA.gov including mobile applications "so that we're taking the technology to wherever the public wants it... on their own terms basically."

Also in the works, said Dorris, is a "dashboard which will highlight the major services that the public gets from the government, and then the measures on how many days does it take to get a certain service from the government. So we're really looking at bringing transparency and spotlighting service delivery across the government so that we can work with agencies to help improve that delivery."

Dorris said GSA is also in the process of "creating a platform with a couple of tools that are open source that are going to be made available to agencies, and we have tested them a little bit with GSA to run some of our own dialogues and engagements and contests."

Contests have been a heavily emphasized tool to increase engagement and for transparency across the federal government, both internally and externally.

Externally, Dorris said a recent contest for a public service ad video for USA.gov offered a prize of $2,500 and yielded 30 videos that "live on forever out on the web."

The next contest is internal. Dorris said it involves a picture of David McClure, the Associate Administrator for GSA's Office of Citizen Services and Communications.

We created a challenge platform through WordPress. We're doing Flat Dave! So Dave McClure... people in our office are actually going to take Dave down to our new building.... We wanted to encourage people to go visit the new neighborhood and take pictures and submit them. So that we're testing our technology, testing the platform, and encouraging people to visit the new building location (and) at the same time, have a little bit of fun with it.