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GeoData2014 Post-Mortem

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The workshop theme and community output notes may be of high interest. The focus was more on how Federal Geodata “Operations” / Assets can improve and help Geoscientists through improved interagency coordination. 
There are excellent breakout notes on roadblocks, geoscience perspective, concrete steps, etc. across the following topics on the following URL (Google Docs under “notes” links): http://tw.rpi.edu/web/Workshop/Community/GeoData2014/Agenda
Topics:
Day 1 Breakouts (Culture/Management)
Governmental open data 
Interagency coordination of geodata – progress and challenges
Feedback from the academic and commercial sectors
Collaborating environment and culture building
Day 2 Breakouts (Tech)
Data lifecycle
data citation and data integration frameworks – technical progress
Experience and best practices on data interoperability 
Connections among distributed data repositories – looking forward
Raw Notes:
The workshop has some fruits coming out of it. 
  • About 50 people. NOAA and USGS on Fed side primarily. 
  • Pushing forward on agenda to see if we have progressed on ideation pragmatism since Geodata2011.
  • Focus is on Cultural and Financial issues limiting inter-agency connection. 
  • Term agile government came up often… with some laughs, but some defenders (Relates to our smartleangovernment.com efforts with ACT-IAC)
  • Scientists hear Architecture as Big IT contracts and IT infrastructure, not process improvement, data integration, goal/mission alignment, etc., so there is clear vernacular issues.
  • FGDC and tons of other standards/organizing bodies seen as competing and confusing
  • data.gov and open data policy hot topic (Seen as good steps, low quality data) – “geoplatform” mentioned exactly “zero” times (doh!)
  • geo data lifecycle primarily on the latter end of cycle (citations, discovery, publication for reusability, credit) but not much on the project coordination, data acq coordination, no marketplace chatter, little on coordinating sensor investment
  • General questions on how scientists were interested on how intel groups can be reached 
  • Big push on ESIP
  • Concrete steps suggested were best practices to agencies and professors
  • Data Management is not taught, so what do we expect? You get what you pay for.
  • Finally, big push on how to tie grassroots efforts and top-down efforts together – grassroots agreed we need to showcase more, earlier, and get into the communities top-down folks are looking at.
  • Not high Federal representation there, and agreed with limited Government travel budgets, we need to bring these concepts to them and meet on their meetings, agendas, conferences, circuits, and push these concepts and needs.

Again, lots of great notes from breakouts on roadblocks, geoscience perspective, concrete steps, etc. across the following topics on the following URL (Google Docs under “notes” links): 

http://tw.rpi.edu/web/Workshop/Community/GeoData2014/Agenda

Questions we posed in general sessions:
  • Of Performance, Portfolio, Architecture, Evangelism, Policy, or other what is more important to the GeoScientist that needs to be addressed in order to improve inter-agency coordination
  • You noted you want to truly disrupt or re-invent the motivation and other aspects in the culture, what was discussed related to doing such – inter-agency wiki commons a la intelipedia? Gamification and how incents resource Management MMORPGs – i.e. transparent and fun way to incentivize data maturity? Crowdsourcing a la mechanical turk to help in cross-agency knowledge-sharing? Hackathon/TC Disrupt Competitions to help in showcase? Combindation – i.e. Gamify metadata lifecycle with crowd model?
  • After registering data, metadata, good citations, and doing all the data lifecycle management, and if we are to “assume internet”, who is responsible for the SEO Rank to help people find scientific data in the internet – who assures/enhances schema.org registrations? who aligns signals to help with keywords, and thousands of other potential signals? especially in response to events needing geoscience data? who helps push data.gov and domain catalogs to be harvested by others?

Support Intercambio and the Culture Jam June 21st 2014

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edited by
Matt Tricomi

This February 2014, Xentity lost an important member to its family – Consuelo Arias.

She is the Founder’s Grandmother. She came to the U.S. from Mexico in the World War II era. She believed education was fundamental and that it opened so many opportunities, and you had to earn it. She learned English early and perfectly (not even allowing the Three Stooges to be shown on TV in her house). She soon trained as a nurse and later as a nurse practitioner, spending her career working at Boston area Hospitals such as Mass General. She raised four children on her own, stressing the pursuit of learning and the power of education. She adored her grandchildren and always welcomed a spontaneous visit.  Although she loved to travel, she never drove a car.  She was devoted to professionally helping others and that frequently spilled over to family and friends. Her dry sense of humor, brilliance, and caring ways were her hallmarks. 

At Xentity, she supported our early work in the private sector, learning about our impact, and she became our biggest fan. She would check in, scan and send newspaper clippings. Admittedly, she did chuckle initially in 2003 when we got into Government transformation, but as she saw our impact, she cheered us on. When Matt asked in 2008 whether to pursue 8(a) or not, and sought guidance from ‘AyAy’, she said “If you can make more of an impact this way, then do it.” She supported the process of getting 8(a), eventually processed in 2010. 

During her latter years, instead of receiving gifts or flowers, she instead insisted on donating time, money, etc. to charities such as in cancer research, animal protection, and education.

You can see a brief video that was played at Culture Jam clicking here or on the photo.

In Memory of ‘AyAy’, Xentity is sponsoring a fundraising event supporting intercambio.

http://www.intercambioweb.org/

The Non-profit, founded in 2000, Intercambio is bridging our communities divide – helping everyone communicate, and starting with language. They educate parents, families, kids, workers. They promote and sponsor ESOL (English as a Second Language) courses to adult immigrants as well as workshops in life skills, culture training, and citizenship. To date Intercambio has helped 9,000 immigrants and trained 4,400 volunteers.

Culture-Jam-2014---Tickets---For-Intercambio-Website

They also reach out to the established community to help connect the immigrant community. Events like “Culture Jam” is just one of the those events. It celebrates the rich diversity in our community. It is a fun event with world renowned music with a mix that just cant be labeled – salsa, hiphop, cumbia, funk, merengue, etc. 

Celebrating the rich cultural diversity in our community, Left Hand Brewing Company is proud to host Culture Jam for its second year! Three time Grammy-Award winning Ozomatli will return to the Longmont stage, bringing Colorado together for a family-friendly evening of world class music, dancing and the arts to benefit Intercambio Uniting Communities and Longmont YMCA.

More info is at InterCambio web site.

Go Code Colorado recognized with a StateScoop 50 award

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Wiki Admin

Colorado has done something quite innovative and has been recognized with a StateScoop 50 award for State Innovation of the Year. 

And Xentity was glad to be a part of it.
Colorado’s Office of the Secretary of State invented and delivered Go Code Colorado, an app development competition for using public data to address challenges identified by the business community.  Three teams built winning apps and business plans and will have their technology licensed by the state for a year.  These teams have formed businesses; some are in discussions with investors and some have left their day jobs to focus on building their new venture.
Here’s the genius of Go Code Colorado: the State took funds from the filing fees that businesses pay to register their businesses and GAVE IT BACK to the business community through Go Code Colorado… AND incubated three new promising businesses in the process.
Plans are to build on this first year and run Go Code Colorado for a second year… on a larger scale and improving on many aspects based on lessons learned from year one.
Xentity had the pleasure of participating in Go Code Colorado as the State’s data management provider — sourcing, curating, improving and publishing 38 datasets from state agencies from Higher Ed to Labor and Employment.
You can see more about Go Code and Xentity’s support in our April Blog Entry: Go Code Colorado Open Data Effort is going into its final weeks . Also, check out the photo gallery of the final event.

What if there was a way to improve the game of football and reduce concussive injuries at the same time without losing the games appeal

Blog post
edited by
Matt Tricomi

We are always interested in transformational projects for data. Or data that can help drive transformational projects. Transformation – which we admit a word they is likely overused, but nonetheless – may be due a adopting new cultural norms, a new business practice, or due to a technological evolution. It may impact how a program runs, how a products is made or distributed, or workforce efficiency or asset acquisition. 

It could also be how a policy change impacts its community, its constituents, or its workforce as a whole. 

Given the Super Bowl season we are in here in the U.S., lets take a look at how professional football has adopted – or not – major rule changes that have impacted its game play, its fans, its players, safety, and entertainment value.

It has been a long time since American Football has rethought its approach to scoring.

It has dabbled around the edges with two point conversions but not fundamentally addressed this aspect of the game since 1912 or introduced a truly transformational offensive rule change since 1933 when emphasizing the forward pass.  

What if there was a way to improve scoring and hence offensive strategy of the game of American Football, reduce injuries while at the same time increasing the games scoring options, its unpredictability and hence fan appeal? What would this game look like?

By challenging some of the basic unspoken assumptions underlying the game, football can be refactored to draw out exciting and unpredictable aspects of a team’s offensive potential, turn the offensive side of the field into a point generation sweepstake and reduce the probability of injuries.

At the heart of this new design are principles that challenge footballs current assumptions that have determined its scoring system for the last hundred years and hence offensive strategies for the last half century.  These new principles are:

  1. Any play that generates points cannot have an excessively high rate of predictability for success, i.e. the current Point after Touchdown (PAT),
  2. The points from successful scoring plays, field goals or touchdowns from scrimmage, should be directly correlated to the yards gained during the scoring play,
  3. Increase the risk and reward opportunities for the offense whenever and wherever possible without slowing the game down,
  4. Develop incentives to maximize the scope of the fields scoring geography,
  5. Incentivize select types of plays and skills to reduce excessive injury causing collisions.

When these principles are applied to the offensive scoring events/plays like field goals, extra points and touchdowns from scrimmage, they open the door to the development of dramatically different offensive and by implication defensive strategies.  These new principles and designs will incentivize the types of play calling that will mitigate the chances of injuries by moving play downfield. Additionally, it can create opportunities for completely new and different emphasis on underrepresented skill positions like place kicking or rare long distance scoring from scrimmage. Lastly, it places a richer strategy dynamic for the fans who know 95% of the time what the next type of play will be called. It is the exception to be fooled.

Before we get into the details, we need to introduce a couple of borrowed and proven concepts from other sports that support the principles articulated above. These concepts will enable the offensive drive new approaches to football strategy. The concepts are defined as follows:

Degree of Difficulty (DoD) – a rating which reflects the difficulty of the maneuver or action an athlete is attempting to perform in sports such as gymnastics and diving, and which is factored into the final score. In the new approach to football we define the DoD as follows:

DoD for field goals and point after touchdowns is the equivalent to the reduction of the width of the goals posts by 0, 25 or 50 or 75. Table 1 describes the goal post distance and the allowed scoring methods.

Table 1 – Degree of Difficulty – Goal width and Scoring Method

DoD

Goal Post Width

Used for

Field Goal

Used for

Point after Touchdown

0

18’ 6”

Yes

No

25%

13’ 7.5”

Yes

No

50%

9’ 3”

Yes

Yes

75%

4’ 8.5”

Yes

Yes

Borrowing a the idea from the three point play in basketball that the further you are from the goal the more valuable the shot should be, the DoD for football is the distance from the line of scrimmage to the end zone. For simplicity of audience understanding and visualization on television, we introduce the idea of Point Zones on the field. 

Point Zones which are predefined areas of the field that determine the possible points on a scoring play based on the distance from the ball to goal posts or goal line.

Offensive Scoring

So what do these concepts look like on the field.  We will now describe how these ideas affect the offenses 3 main scoring methods and where the approach should not be applied.

Notable Changes

1898: A touchdown was changed from four points to five.

1904: A field: goal was changed from five points to four.

1906: The forward pass was legalized. The first authenticated pass completion in a pro game came on October 27, when George (Peggy) Parratt of Massillon threw a completion to Dan (Bullet) Riley in a victory over a combined Benwood-Moundsville team.

1909: A field goal dropped from four points to three.

1912: A touchdown was increased from five points to six.

1933: The NFL, which long had followed the rules of college football, made a number of significant changes from the college game for the first time and began to develop rules serving its needs and the style of play it preferred. The innovations from the 1932 championship game-inbounds line or hashmarks and goal posts on the goal lines-were adopted. Also the forward pass was legalized from anywhere behind the line of scrimmage.

1960: The AFL adopted the two-point option on points after touchdown

1994: There is now a 2 point conversion following touchdowns (teams now have the option of passing or running for two points or kicking for one after a TD);

Field Goals

Let’s talk field goal!  In Figure 1, we introduce the combined Point Zone and DoD for field goals that support the principles listed above and show them in the context of the field of play.    

Figure 1 – Field Goal – Point Zones and Degree of Difficulty

For example, if the offensive team chooses to kick a field goal from the 23 yard line, in effect kicking a 40 yard field goal, they would have been situated in Point Zone 3. If they chose a DoD of 50%, 25% or 0%, they would have the opportunity to score 5, 4 and 3 points respectively.  A coach’s decision would obviously need to take into consideration, the current score of the game, environmental conditions and the skill of the kicker and the supporting special team.  In effect this opens up the field and offensive strategy dramatically for teams positioned with talented kicking operations or provides alternative approaches as the game clock winds down at the half or end of game. This creates a “moment” where the fans at the stadium or watching on TV no longer have a high degree of certainty of what is going to happen next – hence increased attention. It also will lead to fundamental redesign of offensive strategies.  For the players, the model provides opportunities to score more points from more areas of the field without having to “grind” out the drives risking injuries as the field shortens.

The recommended Point Zones take into account the current statistical kicking performance.  In 2014, there were no misses in the NFL statistics 0-20 range (in effect the 3 yard line) with five attempts.  This practice, in effect violates principles #1, 2 and 3.  In the recommended model, the Point Zone scoring system acts as a disincentive to taking the chip shot by only granting 1 point up to 27 yards or requires the team to change the DoD and increase risk to achieve up to 3 points or go for the touchdown.  This stimulates a change in risk reward thinking, possibly moving teams to take more shots at the end zone while in zone 1.  It certainly provides more options for the fans to think and speculate about what could happen by removing the predictable decisions. More fans would sit and watch what would have been the “gimmes”.

As the Point Zones move away from the goal posts/line, the risk and reward calculus changes. The field goal now has the potential to nearly rival the touchdown as a primary objective for the offense. The field goals maximum value is 6 points if kicked beyond the 62 yard distance with the maximum DoD of 50%.  This may seem like an unlikely event, nearly equivalent to the current record of 63 yards, but we believe with reintroduction of tees and the greater point incentive, the distance will be conquered with increased investment in kicking skills and techniques.  Most importantly, it gives the offense numerous options to exercise and keep the fans guessing and supports all of the principles.

Point Zone 3 is where the value of the field goal in the new and old models converges.  The field goal kicker can score 3 points with no change in the degree of difficulty while kicking between 42 and 62 yards.  In 2014 through week 12 they were hitting 75/102 attempts successfully or roughly a 25% failure rate. No guarantees. It is here, the model provides an incentive for the team with a greater reward for riskier behavior.  An accurate kicker can realize up to 5 points for a successful attempt with a DoD of 50% within Point Zone 3. How many of the 75 successful field goals could have earned 1 or 2 more points and as a result made a difference in the game’s outcome. Once again, the situational context of the game will be a key to the decision process and provide a means to capture the audience with new strategies.  Not all fans want to see just hard hitting.

Touchdown from Scrimmage

In the new model, touchdowns from the line of scrimmage are also subject to the similar risk reward calculus as the field goal.  For a play from the line of scrimmage, the DoD is the yardage required to score. Figure 2, shows the Point Zones and the associated additional points that would be added to the six points when a touchdown is scored.  Once again, the idea is to incentivize the offense to attempt more tries to score over longer distance by increasing the number of points that can be gained.  The incentives would encourage teams to open up the offensive strategy and introduce plays to spread the field and reduce the number direct collisions occurring at the line of scrimmage.

The rushing offense style strategy seems to lead to most injuries.  “Offensive lineman (center, offensive guard, and offensive tackle) sustained the most injuries (18.3%) of all positions; however running back had the highest percentage of injury for any one position (16.3%)”. (3)

Spreading the offense can mitigate “the leading mechanism of injury is football’s full-contact nature, with player-player contact accounting for 64% of all injuries and 13.4% of injuries attributed to player-surface contact. More specifically, being tackled (24.4%) and tackling (21.8%) accounted for a majority of the injuries.

In the spirit of reducing injuries, the DoD points would not be used to incentivize kickoff and punt returns.

Figure 2 – Point Zones for Plays from Scrimmage

Point after Touchdown (PAT)

The point after touchdown is straight forward.  By default, the goal post will be set to DoD of .50 for a 1 point kick (See Figure 3). The team will have the option to set the DoD to .75 and go for two points.  Passing or running for two points will no longer be an option to minimize injuries.

Figure 3 – DoD and Points after Touchdown

Tying it back to transformation in our world

Professional Football has been around several decades now and has adapted and adopted to changing norms. There are more norms for it to address – social responsibilities, players safety, impact on youth, simplifying rules, financial access, organization non-profit status, etc.. The tale though shows how a major program/entity such as this, with so much on the line can choose to adapt and adopt, with some fall off, turbulence, and alienation, but ultimately thrive with its constituents. Its easy to throw mud at the largest professional sports league in the U.S., and there is a lot to throw. While at the same time, there are always lots of good takeaways from leading organizations as well that show how adapting, adopting, adjusting minor and major rules through varying time tables can actually happen when leadership can stand behind a change.

Is Federal Enterprise Architecture dead as we know it – yes

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edited by
Matt Tricomi

In short, yes! And it was not a humane end. It lived on way too long. As we noted in our Blog What do current disruptive technologies mean to the roles of the Federal CIO office:

Traditionally, the operating model and funding approach for IT has been based on the Brooks Act of 1965 and only added minor portfolio integration concepts based on the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996. These acts were focused on internal IT cost-based centers, management information systems, mission control systems, and enterprise resource planning systems. These systems were all either internal mission or data processing systems used to run business. Since 1996, a lot has happened in the IT based. It has moved from cost center to profit center in the private sector and in the government space to service or profit center as well (i.e. profit for IRS in efiling). As normally is the case when shifting positions of an asset to the executive level, this also means the investment models change and shift as it is now a critical part of executing transactions and interactions direct with the public, yet our policies are now 20-50 years old.

How Enterprise System and Conceptual Solution Architecture Approaches changed in 10 years

is still the same “original concepts of governance gates between major decision points/steps, step at-a-glance view, work product based methods” 

“but you can see the appropriate gravitational move less from system architecting to portfolio designing to roadmapping”

For instance, in MBT and FSAM, Step 4 “Analyze the IT and Develop the Target Conceptual Solution Architecture” took 70 days. Now in CPM its a very high-level set of boxes for executives with risks done in less than a couple weeks with a series of transition plan notes to do it closer to implementation and investment budgetting time.

In MBT and FSAM, Step 4 was nearly identical. Here, its gone.

My assumption is three-fold:

  • by the time the team goes to invest, doing conceptual target solution architecture has already aged 6-18 months
  • target solution architecture depends highly on the progression of other enterprise services – what if the cloud contract gets delayed or re-scoped, what if that enterprise workflow component is done differently, what happens to your architecture?
  • service principles are becoming more best practices and standards like building guidelines which are less project specific, and more the project needs to choose at the right time what is required to apply.

The con could be to this the investment learns to late after budget season the true CAPEX (capital costs) and projects get further delayed. But, that is not all bad, as many time, the original CAPEX outlay is wrong anyhow, even with a good conceptual solution architecture due to the notes above.

Does this mean Architecture should not be done at the Enterprise any more?

Dont we wish that could be true. That the tech developed in one group would integrate naturally with another. The data would perfectly interface. The security worked seamlessly. The protocols were hidden. Redunandancies and sunsets were robotically self-realized. OK, the last was too much tongue in cheek. But, no, systems must interface and be interoperable, accessible, and all the other architecture “ility” words.

So EA policy was constructed made for internal systems and local data centers. Now we are in utility hardware running software for the untrained user or trained user with very little time alotted. This is just a natural program as noted in IT Footprint Progression in the Federal Government… and the role of Architecture

All that being said, losing architecture is a reality in the planning. Disruptions are moving too fast. The best way we have found is making sure the agile development efforts are build on solids plans (per the above) and make sure the architecture principles, component selection is guided by an excellent architecture runway – either via governance or an enterprise agile framework.

We have more adopted a three-pronged approach

  • Strategically building collaborative relationships with our clients using Smart Lean Government concepts of building communities, integrating life events across organization types, and working towards a standing Service Integration Model
  • Tactically, doing the Step 4 work products when needed
  • Timing the tactical work products by implementing Agile with Architecture in concepts driven by Scaled Agile Framework