I spoke with Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist.org, a bit last week about innovative Web 2.0 projects in the federal government and what projects have potential to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the workforce. I've written some about the Patent and Trademark Office's workforce shortages and its need to hire more examiners to address the increase in patent applications, so the PTO's Peer-to-Patent project, which connects the PTO to a collaborative network of technical experts to improve patent quality, came to mind.
"The Peer-to-Patent program is a big success," Newmark said. "We need more people involved because I've seen patents particularly ordered to software that had nothing really novel about them. The work that Beth [Noveck, deputy chief technology officer and head of the White House's open government project,] is doing hugely important. We're talking about big improvements in the way we run the country that will grow out of the work she's doing."
Peer-to-Patent celebrated its two-year-anniversary in June, and while it has been temporarily discontinued for budgetary reasons, many tout the project as a huge success. IBM recently released a report detailing the program's progress over the past two years, and the report notes the positive feedback on the project from patent examiners and reviewers.
PTO isn't the only federal agency facing workforce shortages or looming retirements. How is your agency leveraging technology to offset these shortages and encourage knowledge transfer?