From Briefing Notes to Govblogging

Friday, January 28, 2011
I've said before that:

Never before has technology allowed us to paint such a clear picture of what is informing decision-making, policy, and program delivery. Embracing a more open ethos and grabbing hold of enabling technology will do more for our public services than we could possibly imagine. It starts with a simple switch: connecting what we used to write in the margins of our paper based notebooks on the web.

I’ve been going over this in my head for days, and I simply cannot reconcile why we are still so deeply embedded in the briefing note culture. I find the resilience of the briefing note in the face of more open alternatives – like blogging – disconcerting. Briefing notes are far too limited and linear. They are only seen by a select few on the way to their final destination. What I find confusing is that there is a significant amount of concern within the public service about losing our corporate memory as more and more public servants retire, yet those of us in knowledge management fail to come up with effective strategies for knowledge retention. I can’t help but feel that part of the problem is rooted in how we move information up the chain of command (briefing notes).

As a knowledge worker myself, I feel that my blog is one of my strongest assets: it helps me contextualize my thinking, forms a narrative, is searchable, can hyperlink to other sources, and allows for comments and debate. When was the last time a briefing note did all that?

The truth of the matter is that briefing notes are simply blog posts looking for a place to happen. Why we haven’t endeavoured to connect them more explicitly surprises me.

Maybe it’s time we all started Govblogging.

If she can get on the bus (the party bus) so can you.