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

Upcoming Events

Free Webcast

Using Social Learning to Mentor Agency Professionals

August 29 | 2:00 p.m.

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Government Workforce Conference

October 24, Washington, D.C.

What are the most successful leaders in government learning doing now?

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Become a Champion of Change for Your Agency

November 28, Washington, D.C.
No cost to attend!

With a focus on the unique needs of government agencies, speakers will present ASTD's model for change.

Limited seating. Preference given to government employees.

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Can a Government-Wide Mentorship Program Work?
By Allison Primack, Andrew Krzmarzick, and Kathy Wentworth Drahosz

In 2011 GovLoop, a social network for government workers, launched a new virtual, mentoring program that not only reaches out across the varying levels of government (federal, state, and local), but also bridges the expanse between agencies, experience, and geographical distance? Here’s a look at its design, development, and delivery. Read the full article

Interested in more information on mentoring programs? Register for the free webcast


Leadership Is Everybody's Business
By Ilyse Veron
Interview with Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner

Kouzes and Posner are researchers, award-winning writers, and highly sought after teachers in the field of leadership. Their groundbreaking studies led them to create a model of leadership that has been embraced by more than 2 million people around the world. Their book, The Leadership Challenge, is coming out this year in a fifth edition. The Public Manager asked them about the challenges that face leaders today, the tools leaders can use to spread the vision among their employees, and the best way to lead a virtual staff. Here’s what they had to say. Read the full article


GAO Report Finds Methods to Compare Federal and Private-Sector Pay Ambiguous

By Ryann Ellis

A careful consideration of federal pay is an essential part of fiscal stewardship and is necessary to support the recruitment and retention of a competent, successful workforce. The results from a GAO study released in July 2012 provides a comprehensive explanation of the legal and practical reality of the federal pay system and why comparisons to the private sector vary in their conclusions about the pay gap. Read the full article


A Journey Through the Design of a Virtual Learning Environment
By Elizabeth Porter, Janet Weisenford, Robert Smith

Virtual worlds are increasingly heralded as a low-cost, simulated environment that can be used for a variety of purposes, including training. In this promising technology, course designers set the stage much like a theatrical production. Learning events become the story that unfolds and avatar-actors carry out tasks in support of a goal. Read the full article

NEW EVENT: Become a Champion of Change for Your Agency

November 28, 2012 | Washington, D.C.
Complimentary Event for Government

Is your agency going through change? Anticipating budget cuts? Facing a policy agenda change? Are you looking for ideas about how to implement a successful change effort in your organization? Join Elaine Biech and Will Brown as they present ASTD’s model for change, and share valuable tips, tools, and tactics to help you champion your change effort. You will have the opportunity to network with colleagues and experience hands-on activities to use when you return to your agency.

There is no registration fee, but seating is limited at this event. Preference will be given to government employees. Hurry and secure your spot today!

Register Now

ASTD 2012 Government Workforce: Learning Innovations Conference

October 24, 2012 | Washington, D.C.
Early Bird Registration Ends September 28

Along with other government learning leaders, you will explore

  • Budgets: Demonstrate a business case that allows your agency to see learning as an investment.
  • Transition: Create a roadmap during an administration transition to keep the agency agenda on track.
  • Strategic Planning: Apply methods for developing, promoting, executing, and marketing a strategic learning plan.

Learn more about Government Workforce at