Sunday, February 28, 2010

New Diplomatic Cadet program - new Facebook page

Last week the Training Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs opened a new Cadet training program.

On the second day of the program the cadets opened a fan page on Facebook - another evidence that this generation of diplomats are digital natives.

In 7 days, they already have more than 300 fans, and say they are going to tell us about what they study, and also answer questions of those who are interested in a diplomatic career. They also promise to answer questions in English, French and Russian.

Visit here:!/pages/Jerusalem-Israel/Israeli-Diplomatic-Cadet-Course-2010-qwrs-wrym-mzwr-k/10150096924860381?ref=nf

Friday, February 19, 2010

Gov 2.0 International: Global Innovation Meeting Local Challenges

At this Gov 2.0 Online Conference, you'll hear about open government efforts in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Israel. The speakers will share stories and lessons learned, and answer your questions.

I was invited by the organizers to present the Israeli experience in Gov 2.o.

I invite everybody to join the conference - register now:

Monday, February 15, 2010

Government social networks - comparative analysis

In the last two years we've seen an uprecedented growth of Gov2.0. One of the most vivid expressions of the collaboration and sharing by governments through the tools of Web 2.0 were social networks of government employees and communities. I am talking about special type of government network that are open for all Internet-users, and in principle, anyone who is interested in Government 2.0 can join these networks.

Today there are 3 networks of the national governments:
American government community Govloop,

Australian public servants and community OZloop,

and Israel public sector social network Ovdeimedina.

Probably, there are more such networks, and if you happen to know them, let me know. But in this post I will relate only to the above-mentioned networks.


It was the first soical network of any national government. It was created in 2008, and since then succeded to become a real phenomenon of Gov2.0 in the US and abroad. It created a lot of excitement in the web 2.0 community, and served as an inspiration for other such networks.

Today there are more than 24.000 members in Govloop and 670 different groups. The groups represented on this network are agency or interest-based. The biggest and the most active group is "Government 2.0 Club", with more than 1300 members. Among other active groups with membership of 400 members and more are: Communication Best Practices, Acquisition 2.0, Twitterati, Knowledge Management in Government and many others. Agency-based groups are in general less active, and among the leading groups are State Department, Homeland Security and Department of Defense.

Another interesting thing about Govloop, is that it encouraged government employees from other countries to open national groups on the network. That's why we have there Government 2.0 Australian, Govloop Canada, Brazilian Government 2.0, Government of Israel 2.0 groups.

Govloop is based on Ning platform like other two networks I discuss.


Australian public servants social network was created on August 2009. It has 140 members and 17 groups. The most active group is Australian Public Service with 20 members. The territory based groups are still to be expanded.


Israel Public Sector social network, was created also in August 201o. It has very decent membership numbers - 127 people, and 12 groups. The most active groups are agency based: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Israel Police. Another active group is dealing with Public Diplomacy.

Network creators - great minds think alike...

Govloop was created by Steve Ressler who worked for the US Department of Homeland Security. OZloop was created by Steve Davies from the Australian Taxation Office. I created Israeli network with my good friend Alex Gafni from Israel Police.

When I discovered the Australian network, I was surprised to see that it was created at the same time as Israel's... So may be not all of us are great minds, but Gov2.0 is definitely in the air!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Training Departments as pioneers of Gov2.0

From my experience in the Training department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the last two years, I learned that Training Departments could become agents of change regarding Gov2.0 revolution. They can literally push the organizations towards the adoption of the Web 2.0 tools, even without the high-level desicion on such policies. This adoption will have its limits. However, the input of the Training Departments can comletely change the dynamic of the pace of Gov 2.0 within the Government.

So, why the Training Department can bring about this change? First, the role of training in modern organizations, government or private sector, is widely acknowledged. In today's world of beta state, of on-going transformation and renewal, training also became beta-state. The technologies change, so does the working environment, and if we want to be up to all these challenges - we should train, all the time.

Our first step was to open a new course "Digital Diplomacy in the age of Social Media". The course was open to all the employees of the Ministry, kind of enriching training program. Because social networks and blogs are very popular toplics these days, the registration for the course was much over the expectations. We've opened the course with more than 30 people - twice the number we planned originally.

It was important to make the course as interesting and impressive as possible (you can see the program of the course here: Another goal of the program was to highlight the potential of Web 2.0 for diplomatic work. And last, not least, we wanted to encourage discussion among the participants about the best ways for adoption the web 2.0 in the ministry.

Did it work? The course ended on January 26. On February 1 we already started another program - for the Media Department of the Ministry. On February 25 we'll organize the social media workshop for the Center of International Cooperation of the Ministry. We are scheduling the same program for the European Department. And many other employees asked to put their names on the waiting list for the next program.

In addition to the training programs, we also suggested our involvement in different recruitment projects. For example, we helped the Legal Department of the Ministry to recruit candidates through the social networks. Our purpose was to show how web 2.0 can be a useful tool in different areas of Ministry's work. You can read about this experience in a previous post.
We also proposed our program as a model for Training Departments in other ministries.

However, this dynamic has its limits. Our training program focuses on two topics: why Gov2.0 is so important and how we can use tools of social media. With all due respect to "How", it's also important to teach and train about the "what". Defining the "whats" of any organization belongs to the hegh-level management. Therefore, in order to successfully and fully adopt Gov 2.0 in any organization, there must be an executive decision. But this decision is more plausible after some of the high-ranking officials participated in the training programs...