Thursday, September 3, 2009

Blogging about the National Civic Summit

Minneapolis, Minnesota

After attending the National Civic Summit in Minneapolis, July 16-17, I intended to organize the two days of presentations and conversations and blog about them in report and commentary form. Since then, I have put off the reporting because of its volume. Over time, I will incorporate commentary into other writing.

The reporting aspect, however, has been solved through technology: videos were made of the presentations and have become available online. I commend all of them to anyone for whom sleep does not come easily at night, or who find themselves at loose ends over a holiday weekend. Two presentations, in particular, are worth a look.

Nate Garvis opened the summit with remarks about "Uncivil Discourse." Garvis is Vice President of Government Affairs & Senior Public Affairs Officer at Target. He was introduced by Sean Kershaw, executive director of the Citizens League. His remarks extend for 35 minutes and are followed by Q&A.

Outtakes from his talk: Referring to the "merchants of venom," Bill Maher and Rush Limbaugh, Garvis said "We have become the media. Our representatives reflect what we are as we self identify into philosophical ghettos. ... No one does good business in a bad neighborhood. Bad communities become good communities on purpose. ... Dogma is a tool we use to stop learning. ... We can't afford more government. ... We need people who aren't interested in being successful, but in adding value. ... The game has changed. It's not about control, it's about influence."

Later in the summit, Garvis introduced Aneesh Chopra who spoke on "The Innovation Imperative: Delivering on the Promise of Open Government." Chopra is U.S. Chief Technology Officer & Associate Director for Technology, White House Office of Science & Technology Policy. His remarks extend just over 50 minutes, including questions.

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