Measuring Gov 2.0 Performance

If you can not measure it, you can not improve it.”

– Lord Kelvin

There is a lot of exciting news lately coming from state and local governments about innovative new uses for social networking and Gov 2.0 tools. Even the smallest burgs and hamlets in our fair nation are on Twitter, and even the lowliest first-term legislator has a Facebook page – sometimes before they have an office assignment.

But before governments go too far down the road of building Gov 2.0 tools into their business processes, it may be worth exploring if conventional performance measures are adequate to measure if (and by how much) Gov 2.0 tools are improving the job being done by governments. As Lord Kelvin said – “To measure is to know.”

In the late 90’s and early 2000’s many governments implemented new e-Government services for their citizens, and reorganized service delivery around Internet-based functionality. Government performance measures were infused with terms like unique hits, click-troughs and the like to more adequately track performance through this new channel.

Does the advent of Gov 2.0 and the increased use of social networking tools warrant a re-examination of the ways that governments evaluate how good a job they are doing? How do you measure customer satisfaction when a government interacts with a citizen via Twitter, or leaves a comment on a blog or Facebook page?

More importantly, how do government measure (and capture) the cost savings that may be brought about by using social networking tools, and approaches like “Wiki-Government“?

Some things to think about as Gov 2.0 gets more mature, and more widely used.

2 comments

  1. Mark Headd · June 9, 2009

    This is what I’m talking about:

    “Our rush to use technology as an improvement effort throws the performance management cycle out of whack. By skipping measurement and goal setting and going straight to improvement, we fail to improve the right things, the right way.”

    http://www.govtech.com/gt/articles/693984

    Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  2. Scott Burns · June 18, 2009

    I love the quote. Metrics are critical. I put up this post regarding CDC posting its metrics for the public to see: http://bit.ly/RsjO3

    However, conspicuously absent are details regarding Twitter followership / @replies / Facebook group membership, etc. I’m not saying those are the perfect measures, but you got to start somewhere.

    -Scott Burns
    @smburns

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