Friday, April 30, 2010

Australia Leading the World in Gov 2.0

Senator Kate Lundy (ACT) will be talking on Lessons from Down Under: How Australia is Leading the World in Gov 2.0 in Washington DC on 25-27 May 2010 at the Gov 2.0 Expo. Other speakers include Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Tim O'Reilly.

Title: Gov 2.0 in Australia: Building the foundations for open government

Abstract: Senator Kate Lundy will outline her recent “Public Spheres” initiative which takes government policy development online for more citizen involvement, transparency & better policy outcomes. She will also discuss the pillars of open government & some important technical principles to underpin Gov 2.0.

This presentation will showcase Senator Lundy’s experiences as a case study, and will lay down the policy and technical principles she has found to be most important for Gov 2.0. She will also briefly cover what is happening in Australia more broadly, the difference between Gov 2.0 for political offices and government administration (departments and agencies), and finally what she sees as the core opportunity this provides us as a society to design the government of tomorrow, together.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Obama Whitehouse on Energy and the Environment

The White House Office of Energy and Climate Change has issued an item on "Building a New Foundation for Energy and the Environment" (Anthony Russell, April 13, 2010):

In the last 15 months, President Obama and his Administration have made significant progress in changing the way America thinks about energy and the environment, making the vision of a 21st century clean energy economy a reality. From historic investments in clean energy infrastructure and technology; improved efficiency for buildings, appliances and automobiles; more diverse energy production from domestic and renewable sources; and reduced emissions that contribute to climate change – the President’s comprehensive strategy has put Americans back in control of their energy future, created new jobs and laid the foundation for long-term economic security, and led by example in exercising good stewardship of our environment.

To continue the progress, we need your help. President Obama believes, "...that change won’t come from Washington alone. It will come from Americans across the country who take steps in their own homes and their own communities to make that change happen." So today, in honor of the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, President Obama is challenging Americans to take action to change our nation’s energy and environmental future.

Download Video: mp4 (86MB) | mp3 (3MB)

Visit to learn more about what you can do in your homes, communities, schools and businesses to answer the President’s call-to-action to help lay a new foundation for energy and the environment.

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Social media in the Obama Whitehouse

Jonathan Greenblatt, former member of the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team, will talk on "Contemporary US Politics of Social Innovation", in Canberra 19 April and Sydney 20 April 2010.
The United States Studies Centre and
DEEWR’s Social Innovation and Social Policy Groups
invite you to a presentation by Jonathan Greenblatt on

Contemporary US Politics of Social Innovation
Jonathan Greenblatt
Former member of the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team

Seminar Abstract
President Obama and the White House administration are leveraging social media to accelerate social innovation. The President has also established a new Office for Social Innovation recognising that government alone can’t address the complex social issues that we face. Instead, organisations from the private, public and non-profit sectors need to collaborate to identify and implement potential solutions. The establishment of the new Office shows that the US federal government has a key role to play in promoting and facilitating social innovation.

Jonathan will draw on his experiences as a former White House official member of the Presidential Transition Team to examine how the Obama Administration is developing new models of innovation to change how government works. By leveraging insights from the fields of citizen journalism, social media and venture capital, the White House is changing Washington with its own unique brand of "social innovation."

When: Monday 19 April 2010
Time: 12:30 – 2.00pm
Location: Theatre, Australian War Memorial
RSVP: Places are limited, so please confirm your attendance by Thursday 15 April 2010 with Julie Ward via email: or phone: (02) 6240 9383

Biographical Information
Jonathan Greenblatt is the co-founder of Ethos Water, a former vice president of Starbucks Coffee Company, and an acknowledged thought leader on ethical branding, global development and social entrepreneurship. He is the founding president of All for Good and previously served as CEO of GOOD Worldwide. He also has served at the highest levels of government, including as an aide in the Clinton White House and, more recently, as a member of the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team. He teaches social entrepreneurship at the Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA and advises corporations, foundations and non-governmental organizations on the intersection between business and sustainability.

You can find a more detailed bio at:

Sponsored by the Social Policy Group with a view to building and sharing the evidence base for policy

Evidence driving policy: the DEEWR strategic policy and research seminar series

From: Presentation flyer, by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, and the United States Study Centre (University of Sydney).

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Monday, January 26, 2009

The Pentagon: A History

The Pentagon: A History by Steve VogelSteve Vogel's book "The Pentagon: A History" provides a fascinating insight into how military projects are funded and the changes which occur in the development of a project. Also the way the building was designed and constructed is of interest. Some of the history of the construction of the building was repeated in its refurbishment after the terrorist attack on 11 September 2001.

Some of the history I found of particular interest was that the pentagonal design of the building derived from the shape of the block of land it was originally planned to be built on. After the location was changed the design was retained, even though the original rationale for the shape was no longer there. The building was designed and constructed as five units. The plans for the units where partly reused on subsequent units.

The building was originally planned as a temporary headquarters during World war 2. To justify such a large and clearly non-temporary building, it was strengthened to be able to be used as the government archive after the war. The result was that the building was much stronger than needed for offices. This, and reinforcement installed shortly before 11 September, resulted in less damage and fewer casualties than would otherwise be the case. It is surprising that conspiracy theorists made nothing of the fact that the aircraft on September 11 struck the centre of the only wing of the building which had been strengthened against attack, that the work had only just been completed and the attack occurred before all the staff had moved back in.

RussellOne piece of trivia which Steve Vogel might like to put in a later edition is that Washington is not the only capital to have a pentagon shaped national military headquarters. The Defence Headquarters at Russell Offices, in Canberra, is made up of two five sided buildings (with central courtyards like the Pentagon). These are appropriately located just behind the Australian-American Memorial.

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Monday, December 04, 2006

IT Innovation Seminar, 6 December, Canberra

Innovation Seminar Series

The Challenges of Research in ICT: What can we learn from the Past – with a focus on the case of INRIA, France
Speaker: Professor Alain Bensoussan
Distinguished Research Professor of Operations Management, Director of the International Center for Decision and Risk Analysis (ICDRiA), University of Texas
Time/Date: 10:30 – 12:00 pm, Wednesday, 6 December, 2006
Location: The Australian National University, Theatre 1, Ground Floor, HW Arndt Bldg #25 (off Kingsley St), Canberra
Cost: No charge
RSVP: Dora Gava 02 6125 3664 Dora.gava(a)
Professor Alain Bensoussan (Fellow, IEEE) Distinguished Research Professor in Operations Management, School of Management, and Director of the International Center for Risk and Decision Analysis from 1969 to 2004, President of INRIA (National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control) from 1984 to 1996, President of CNES (the French Space Agency) from 1996 to 2003, and Chairman of Council of the European Space Agency from 1999 to 2002. He is a member of the French Academy of Sciences, the French Academy of Technology, the International Academy of Astronautics, and the Academia Europae. He has been awarded the NASA Public Service Medal, the Von Humboldt Prize, Legion d’Honneur of France, and Bundesverdienstkreuz of Germany.

Further information at: INRIA

This seminar is sponsored by:
National Centre for Information Systems Research
College of Business & Economics, ANU, Canberra
ps: Who said IT is not as hard as "rocket science? ;-)

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