Walled-Garden Wikis and Candlepower

Fact: Last night the U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) announced it has “moved its C2Pedia Registry to the unclassified network enabling more potential users to access and edit the site, hoping it will ultimately improve the quality of data.”  C2Pedia is a MediaWiki-driven online knowledge base of information about Command and Control (C2), with specific information about more than 200 C2 systems used across the Department of Defense and the armed services.

Analysis: The profusion of wikis in official government circles is an interesting expression of the value of social media for enterprise knowledge management, but for the most part inside agency or network firewalls, denying access to the public at large and therefore incorporating only the wisdom of “the inside crowd.” The State Department’s Diplopedia sits on their intranet (ironically called “OpenNet”), as the New York Times pointed out in a story a few weeks ago (“An Internal Wiki that’s Not Classified“), implying a distinction (without a difference to my mind) between Diplopedia and the IC’s Intellipedia, which has an unclassified version as well – but it also sits on a firewalled network!

Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, testified to Congress recently about the value of wikis and social media within enterprises, and pointed out the distinction between “within-the-agency” verticalized information sharing, a la Diplopedia, and horizontal sharing across organizations as exemplified by the IC’s Intellipedia, which as I mentioned has a firewalled unclassified version as well as its classified-network versions, all accessible from any of the intelligence community’s sixteen agencies and beyond.

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Using Web 2.0 to Track a Political Crisis

My gut tells me that the latest round in the Georgian-Russian crisis is going to get ugly.

CNN’s “Russian Tanks Rolling into Georgian Breakaway” shows one thing: our old friend Vladimir Putin feels free to call the shots.

Twitter alerts can only get you so far, in following a crisis.  Check out these first attempts: this Twitter search or this one, or this Live News feed.  You can RSS any of these by the way.

I’m working on several Popfly-designed orchestrations of alerts and newsfeeds to keep me updated on the latest news from South Ossetia, incorporating crowd-sourced information as much as I can. 

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CIA 2.0: The Agency’s CIO and Change

Fact: CIO magazine is running a big story on the CIA’s Chief Information Officer Al Tarasiuk and his IT operation, and their online site is breaking it up into a four-part series running this week.  Below I analyze the series.

Analysis: By the halfway mark in the series, the magazine’s reporter Thomas Wailgum had only accomplished a fairly rote recounting of what CIA is, what its CIO does, and how both those factors have changed since the good ol’ spy days amid the challenges of a post-9/11 world.

Part Onedescribed “a business-IT alignment project like few others,” although it mainly served to introduce CIO magazine’s broad readership to the unfamiliar world of a walled-off intelligence agency, waxing on about the hyper-security at Langley.  Part Two similarly was background on the bureaucratic culture of the agency and its relegation of IT to backwater status – until 9/11 came along.

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“Legally Blonde 2.0″ – SoCal Spook at Harvard

Shout out to Chris Rasmussen, a former colleague in the intell biz who emails that he’ll be speaking on uses of Web 2.0 approaches in the Intelligence Community at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in June…. as he put it in his email, “I’m pretty sure Danish dudes from southern California have been legallyblonde2.jpgblacklisted from Harvard for hundreds of years. Well the times are changing.”

Chris has been involved in social-networking and other 2.0 efforts in the IC, both at the enterprise level and in grass-roots form — accomplishing the latter and encouraging the former (strongly).  The Kennedy School program, “Web 2.0: Taking Action in Government”  is advertised as “examining the lessons learned from first movers in both business and government and distilling what actions government leaders must now take to harness the power of these new tools and business models.”  (more info here

I especially like that the conference is being organized with the help of Don Tapscott, co-author of  an excellent book: Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything.

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The Future of Enterprise Computing – and Social Computing

I wrote the other day about how highly ranked the University of Virginia’s undergrad business school is (a close second in BusinessWeek’s annual ranking), and mentioned that one reason is the creative research and programs they sponsor.

In fact, thanks to UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce, I enjoyed a great day recently exploring some of my favorite topics with leading experts.  I was an invited speaker at their one-day conference on The Future of Enterprise Computing on March 14th, presented by McIntire’s Center for the Management of Information Technology (CMIT).  It was a fascinating day….

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Using Web 2.0 in a top-secret environment

Network World magazine has just posted a podcast interview which I recorded with editor Paul Desmond about a month ago, just after speaking at their “IT Roadmap” conference in December. The interview topic is “Using Web 2.0 tech in a top secret world,” and we discuss the DIA and Intelligence Community experience with social networks, wikis, and blogs.  We also discuss cloud computing, enterprise IT, SOA, IARPA, and the challenges of deploying secure software. Representative quote: “Intelligence analysts are much like ‘knowledge workers’ on Wall Street or in the media, they know what’s going on on the Internet, they know what they want, they know what they need, and it’s in the IT side’s interest to try and service them.”

At the end Paul was gracious enough to ask about my new role with Microsoft’s Institute for Advanced Technology in Governments. If your daily life has a 17-minute hole which you need to fill, then dim the lights, crank up the speakers, and mellow out to the Quiet Storm (I was using my NPR voice)….

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