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Doubling down on digital diplomacy

As the State Department adjusts to tightening budgets and “uncertainty about future commitments,” agency officials are interested in expanding collaboration with the private sector, according to a recent request for information.

The department’s Office of Global partnerships is looking for an online platform and tool kit that will help it incorporate innovation into its diplomacy initiatives, as it moves from relying solely on government assets to working with a number of partners in a more collaborative environment.

State envisions a web-based resource center that would help embassies and regional bureaus with limited budgets advance diplomacy through partnerships and innovative services. The departmentwide platform and toolkit, as well as feedback and metrics, is intended to guide offices through the process of creating and deploying innovative practices such as hackathons, crowdsourcing, prizes and challenges as well as round tables and knowledge forums.

As ideas mature, State also envisions a Diplomacy Lab that crowdsources academic resources for foreign policy challenges in addition to business accelerators and incubators.

According to the RFI, the proposed innovation platform and toolkit will leverage innovation platforms have a proven record of spurring innovation and enabling federal agencies to pay only for success, to increase the likelihood of novel approaches from out-of-discipline partners and maximize the return on taxpayer dollars.

More information is available here.

About the Author

Susan Miller is executive editor at GCN.

Over a career spent in tech media, Miller has worked in editorial, print production and online, starting on the copy desk at IDG’s ComputerWorld, moving to print production for Federal Computer Week and later helping launch websites and email newsletter delivery for FCW. After a turn at Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology, where she worked to promote technology-based economic development, she rejoined what was to become 1105 Media in 2004, eventually managing content and production for all the company's government-focused websites. Miller shifted back to editorial in 2012, when she began working with GCN.

Miller has a BA and MA from West Chester University and did Ph.D. work in English at the University of Delaware.

Connect with Susan at [email protected] or @sjaymiller.

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