Dept. of State: “Need to Know” to “Need to Share”

July 18, 2008

Speaker: Bruce Burton – Department of State

Topic: How to use social media innovations and web 2.0 tools to promote a knowledge-sharing culture among a widely dispersed organization


The Department of State certainly works in an environment dependent on knowledge. With 57,000+ employees across the world the organization has faced communication issues. Communication issues often stem from the highly autonomous business units (embassies and bureaus) and a communication structure that has not changed significantly since the era of Thomas Jefferson. In addition with the rise of the Cold War, a “need to know” mentality prevailed.

Bruce offered amazing insight into the Dept. Of State as he said the organization is moving from a culture of “need to know” to “need to share.” As a result of recent efforts over the past 4-5 years, the Dept. is successfully growing the adoption of tools such as Diplopedia, the internal wiki for the department.

Social Media is being implemented to help the organization achieve the following tasks:

  • Inform internal stakeholders
  • Manage information
  • Collaborate
  • Unite
  • Educate

User Adoption:

Bruce mentioned that The Department of State has approached everything in a viral way and will continue to do so. As a result hundreds of groups and pages of information have been formed.


Blog Software: Moveable Type
Internet address for information: http://www.state.gov/m/irm/c23839.htm


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