Gov 2.0 Hero: Scott Horvath

Scott Horvath

  • Public Affairs Specialist/Web Developer, U.S. Geological Survey
  • Twitter · LinkedIn

What was your path to Gov 2.0?

Fast and furious! Well maybe not quite that fast, or furious for that matter, but definitely a nice pace.

I’m a code monkey by trade, for almost 12 years now, but I have a B.A. in Communications. So everything I create is done from a communications perspective (not an IT one). Being able to combine the communications knowledge with web development experience has been very beneficial to where I’m at today … immersed in Gov 2.0.

I’m definitely an early adopter and always love being the guinea pig for new tools and technology. But I’m always looking for ways to use those tools to increase the productivity of myself, my job and my agency — U.S. Geological Survey. I’m fortunate to work for people who are willing to push the envelope and move in new directions to enhance the mission of the organization. Because of my willingness to help push that same envelope, and my organization’s support in open creativity, Web 2.0 just seemed like the right road to travel.

What area of government offers the biggest opportunity for improvement via Web 2.0 tools?

There’s a lot of opportunities in Government via Web 2.0. But I think the biggest is citizen engagement. Between the White House’s Open for Questions event and the growing number of Government accounts on Twitter, Govies have only scratched the surface of what’s possible. For a long time citizens have felt disconnected with their government representatives. Technology has gotten to the point where not only are the tools available to make that reconnection easier, but government is more open to listening. The needs of our citizens and the needs of our Government have finally reached a crossroad and we now have a unique opportunity to journey together down the same path.

What’s the killer app that will make Gov 2.0 the norm instead of the exception?

I don’t believe there is, or ever will be, a killer app to make Gov 2.0 the norm. Gov 2.0 is really an evolution of our society’s needs and government’s willingness to listen. Even if you took away all the technology Gov 2.0 would still exist. Gov 2.0 is really that crossroad, I mentioned, where people are talking and government is listening..and responding. The technology just happens to be the current vehicle to deliver those messages.

However, the technology does exist and it’s here to stay. The services and tools will change but the concepts will continue on. What will make Gov 2.0 the norm is a combination of all those apps and services. But it will take more than just the technology to make it a reality. We need changes to our 20th century policies to match a 21st century world. With people like Vivek Kundra and Aneesh Chopra (our Nation’s first CIO and CTO, respectively) that reality is closer now than it ever has been.

What part of Gov 2.0 most excites you?

Everything. The road to the Government 2.0 that many of us envision will certainly be an adventurous and exciting one. Without failure, we can’t find success. I think the idea of being part of something that can reshape the way people trust in their government just by doing something that I love to do is what excites me the most. Being a part of that group of people that have the ability to chart the future of citizen participation in government is certainly an honor. I work and interact with people across all levels of government and I can tell you that the passion these people have in their work, and the belief they have in their government, is fuel for the fire when it comes to Gov 2.0. We are certainly in for some exciting changes.

Luke Fretwell is the founder of the civic innovation and technology blog GovFresh. He advises civic leaders and businesses on how to best leverage digital strategies to create more effective, collaborative governments. He has written about government IT for Federal Computer Week, NextGov, FedScoop, StateScoop and FierceGovernment, and has been referenced by the Washington Post and Fast Company on civic technology issues. He has worked with a number of government-focused companies and media, including CivicActions, NuCivic and FedScoop and has been involved in broad-focused community efforts, such as GovPress, CityCamp, CivicMeet, Agile Government Leadership and Open Source for America. Connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Thank you

Every day I get to engage with entrepreneurs, public sector innovators and journalists on re-imagining and re-energizing how government works, what it means to be “civic,” and this year has been an incredible one for many friends and colleagues.

Funding government technology

I’m always inspired talking and working with entrepreneurs trying to solve big civic problems, especially those who realize much of the challenge lies within modernizing and empowering internal government operations, so it was great to finally meet with Govtech Fund Founder and Managing Partner Ron Bouganim this week.

Government and the ’empowered product owner’

The 18F Delivery team released a “Partnership Playbook” that aims to help federal agencies understand what to expect when working with 18F, and the gem within is play number two, “We work with an empowered product owner.”

Benchmarking for better government

Citizens simply glaze over when they are confronted by a sea of large numbers with many zeros. These figures need to be relatable to the person reading the data. Otherwise, open data is just more data that dies on the vine.

Why local government must go digital

The Welsh Government released a report of its findings on how local government in Wales can better leverage digital technologies and realize significant savings while still providing quality, scalable citizen services.

‘No ugly, old IT.’

“No ugly, old IT” jumped out at me when I first reviewed DataSF’s strategic plan, “Data in San Francisco: Meeting supply, spurring demand,” and it still sticks, mostly because someone inside government was so bold as to make this a priority and openly communicate it and also because this should be a mantra for everyone building civic technology.

Why is a big deal

Enabling internal government tech shops to quickly stand up applications in a secure testing environment is fundamental to quick prototyping, and 18F’s new is a major step in realizing ultimate IT flexibility.


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