recommended reading


Creating a Rosetta Stone is the Key to Successful Public-Private Partnerships

August 15, 2017

Nong Mars/

Praduman Jain is CEO of Vibrent Health.

Public-private partnerships, used by a variety of state, local and federal governments for decades, have gained popularity in recent years as an effective approach to managing large government projects while mitigating financial risk, increasing innovation and delivering long-term value.

A healthy, functional government-industry partnership can be an excellent solution for addressing the unique challenges of government agencies that are constantly pushed to do more with less. But executing a successful public-private partnership is a complex and demanding process—in part because it often feels like the key stakeholders are speaking different languages.

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Establishing effective partnerships requires common ground: a framework that brings together the disparate languages of industry and government and puts stakeholders on the same page. If this critical step is overlooked, the partnership is likely doomed before it even begins.

The first step to forming a successful partnership is to come equipped with the right frame of mind. Partners need to understand each other’s values and interests in order to build a solid foundation for working together, and transition their individual missions and goals...

How Government Agencies Can Protect Their Social Media Accounts—And Employees

By Jaime Stein // August 14, 2017


Jaime Stein is the industry principal for government at Hootsuite.

Government employees are facing an interesting dilemma. They're trying to meet citizen demands for more personal forms of engagement with government. Yet, when they adopt social media channels to do this, they open themselves up to public feedback and criticism.

As a public official, do they have the right to block users who insult them or post scathing comments publicly? Apparently not. In July, the American Civil Liberties Union asked Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin to stop blocking people from following his social media accounts; Michigan state government accounts were reported to have blocked more than 800 Twitter handles, including @POTUS; and the El Paso Police Department's public affairs staff blocked users from the department’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.

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This culminated recently when a federal court judge ruled against a Virginia official who banned a user from accessing her Facebook page. The results of this case pose serious consequences that could reach as far as the White House—a similar suit has been filed against President Donald Trump with regards to his...

How Apple iPhone Updates Add Value to Mail

By Gary Reblin // August 11, 2017


Gary Reblin is product innovation vice president for the U.S. Postal Service.

Apple’s update of the technological capability of the iPhone with the coming iOS release will allow the U.S. Postal Service to expand the opportunities and capabilities that can be provided to mailers.

There are three main additional capabilities that may help elevate the impact of Postal Service products: the iPhone camera can read QR codes; the ARKit allows for augmented reality creation, and the iPhone’s near field communications capability has expanded beyond Apple Pay. All three features can make it easier for customers to both create and interact with mail piece features.

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The QR code reader update removes the need for an additional application to read such codes. This removes the inconvenience of downloading a third-party QR reader application and streamlines the process of interacting with mail that features a QR code. For mailers, this may increase the value of leveraging QR codes to offer promotions in a mail piece and allows for a larger audience to be reached and positively affected.

The ARKit is a useful feature...

BlackBerry's New Phone Reminds You How Great Hardware Keyboards Can Be

By John Breeden II // August 8, 2017

BlackBerry/TCL Communication

John Breeden II is an award-winning journalist and reviewer with over 20 years of experience covering technology. He is the CEO of the Tech Writers Bureau, a group that creates technological thought leadership content for organizations of all sizes. Twitter: @LabGuys.

Back when cellphones were first becoming popular, the secure models of BlackBerry phones and texting devices earned the company a near monopoly within the federal government.

But they stopped evolving and had limited app stores compared to Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android phones. Over time, both Android and iOS devices also began to concentrate more on security, and Microsoft got into the act by introducing Windows phones that were closely tied to their desktop counterparts.

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By the time President Barack Obama famously began carrying around his heavily modified BlackBerry on world trips, the market within government for the company had just about collapsed.

It’s been a few years since a new BlackBerry device was released and looking at the KEYone, it’s clear the company is attempting to recapture some of the notable features that made their devices so popular...

Artificial Intelligence Can Make Voice Technology Less Frustrating

By Tom Romeo // August 7, 2017

Sergey Nivens/

Tom Romeo is general manager of U.S. Federal Services at MAXIMUS.

At a recent event, Chris Liddell, assistant to the president and director of strategic initiatives, spoke about the White House Office of American Innovation’s focus on improving federal customer service, with the ultimate goal of providing citizens with “the same experience as they [receive] in the private sector.”

As noted by Liddell and other senior officials, modernizing the government’s outdated legacy systems will be an important part of this process. But this effort can also include incorporating more AI and machine learning-driven technologies into the systems that directly handle an enormous amount of citizen requests: engagement and contact centers. 

The Citizen Service Challenge

Today, and in the near future, voice is expected to remain the most prominent channel for citizens to interact with the government. Yet, while interactive voice response (IVR) technology has advanced over the years, it still lacks the capabilities necessary to meet citizens’ expectations and government demands. Simply put, IVRs have not proven to be a desirable self-service capability and continue to rank as one of the most frustrating aspects of the citizen journey. 

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