First let me explain what I mean when I invoke the term "barn raising." I first heard it at a wiki workshop at NRCAN. They have a team of people there who provide the support needed by other units and/or divisions to use their wiki. They do all the support work; they set up the scaffolds (wiki-speak for templates).
They effectively raise the barn and then leave the group to manage how exactly to use it.
I think the idea of “barn raising” has huge potential outside of the narrow use outlined above. What if people have expertise they want to share that isn’t necessarily part of his or her official duties? It doesn't make his or her expertise less valuable, just harder to access. So, why not make it easier?
For example, I personally have what I think is a good amount of experience leading a youth group and representing that group to senior managers. The combination of my unofficial work as a youth organizer and my official duties within ADM's office uniquely positioned me to offer some rather unique advice to who?. But how do people get it? Well, someone I met along the way simply asked me to come speak to her fledgling youth group (which I did happily, and from which I received positive feedback). But if she didn't already know me, she likely wouldn't have known where to turn and even more likely wouldn’t have known to turn to me.
Social media behind the government firewall could easily step up and fill the void. In the absence of a full-fledged facebook.gc.ca or linkedin.gc.ca we can easily turn to our GCPEDIA profiles or even GCPEDIA itself. I would encourage you all to set up a subheading in your profile that lists what other expertise (e.g. those not related to your official duties) you have and are willing to share. In short, what barns you can help to raise.
My GCPEDIA profile now includes barns a subheading that references barns that I think I can help raise. I also created a central hub for barn raisers across the Government of Canada. Please add to it and share your expertise. I've already included a couple of categories but feel free to add to and expand them as you see fit. Or if you think the page should be organized along different lines please feel free to re-construct it in a manner that you think makes the most sense.
Please understand that by adding your information you are inviting others to contact you and partake in your expertise.
GCPEDIA provides us the space and the structure to allow us to build this database of expertise but it is also up to us to start shifting the culture towards one that encourages us all to share in this way.
Ps - we thank you very much for the two conversations that this blog has seen via the comments in the last week or so. We always welcome your feedback and participation.
In case you missed the link above, CLICK HERE to raise a barn!