Between the daily borage of controversial headlines around misappropriated spending, workforce reorganization, and federal pay cuts, we often miss hearing the good news about innovation and progress occurring within the government workforce. Well, the 2012 Next Generation of Government Summit in Washington D.C., which brought together more than 600 Generation X and Y public sector workers, didn’t miss a beat sharing information about how many federal workers are taking steps to move government work forward. The summit was chock full of sessions on everything government employees are doing right. It’s time to share these stories.

For two days, attendees learned how their peers were driving change, creating innovation, and leveraging social media tools to improve government.

  • Carmen Medina, former CIA Director of Intelligence and author of the series “Corporate Rebel,” gave attendees a “pep talk” about how to be a “good” corporate rebel. “Optimism is the greatest act of rebellion,” she told the audience. “Nobody likes a pessimistic change agent.” Medina gave the young government leaders several key tips to drive change: start small, don’t avoid conflict, and when opportunity opens up, run through the hole as quickly as possible.
  • Todd Park, the chief technology officer of the United States, discussed lessons learned about “innovation in government.” To create innovation in government, public sector employees must “embrace we-gov (open innovation)” and remember “that most of the smartest people in the world work for someone else.” Park is part of the recently announced series of Open Data Initiatives in energy, health care, public safety, and education to spark new private-sector consumer-facing and business-oriented tools, products, and services—such as mobile apps and websites—all while rigorously protecting personal, proprietary, and national security information.
  • During the keynote on “How to Drive Big Change in Government,” Lena Trudeau—associate commissioner  in the Office of Strategic Innovations for the General Services Administration—challenged the audience to take a risk. “With crisis comes opportunity,” says Trudeau. “Sometimes you need to show the risk inherent with maintaining the status quo.”

In other exciting news, I’d like to introduce you to Paula Ketter, the new Editor of The Public Manager, ASTD’s journal dedicated to supporting government managers. While Paula is new to the role of Editor for the The Public Manager, she is certainly no-newbie. Paula is the Editor of ASTD periodicals, and has overseen the publication of ASTD’s flagship monthly magazine T+D (Training + Development) for five years. She has also served as the Managing Editor of The Public Manager for three years. Paula is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience writing and editing for newspapers and magazines.



Carrie Blustin
Director, Government Sector
Publisher, The Public Manager