Jack Mason, IBM Strategic Communications, HealthNex Producer
Since the "Blogposium" idea I floated in an early post has gotten some positive feedback, I wanted to sketch out the idea further today.
The gist of the plan is this: to bring the growing community of healthcare IT blogs comes together for a three-day, blog-based event that focuses us all on a particular policy challenge or issue in ehealth. In other words, temporarily convert our circle of blogs from disparate journals of commentary into an actual working group.
The end result of the process would be a tangible report, brief or plan that would make an actual contribution to the progress of networking healthcare.
I don't know if a group of blogs has ever tried to collaborate on such an open policy development project (I found one example in a search on "blogposium"), but the idea of pooling our brain- and blogpower on such a concrete objective strikes me as natural extension of this medium. (It's also right in line with IBM's aggressive goal to be an innovation partner and catalyst wherever it can, and healthcare is one area of strategic focus.)
In thinking through the logistics of a Blogposium, the three-day structure seemed to make immediate sense. Here's how the work might break down:
Day One (Thesis): All participating bloggers would tackle an issue (for illustration purposes, let's say that focus would be on establishing priorities for advancing e-prescriptions) and propose different strategies, ideas or analysis in a post. Everyone reads and comments on what each of us has contributed, and steers the wider audience to review all participants' posts.
Day Two (Anti-Thesis): Blogposium participants produce new posts based on what they've learned from each other, and suggest the outline and key findings for the final product or position paper. Comments from reader/observers should also focus on reacting to everything they've learned across the confederated blogs.
Day Three (Synthesis): Here's where the work all comes together. One or two editorial leaders of the project distribute the outline for the final paper, and assign pieces of it to each Blogposium participants.
The semifinal draft is assembled and published on all participating blogs(or perhaps a wiki that all can point to) for final public comments, suggestions or contributions.
That's at least one way this process might unfold. But because this is at its core a collaborative innovation, people who are interested in shaping this experiment should chime in with their ideas on how best to organize such an effort.
Should the process be longer? Shorter? Should reader/commentators have a bigger or different role to play, perhaps as a voting audience? What is the most suitable problem for this Blogposium approach to take on? Should the final product be produced on a public wiki, which might be a better platform for group editing?
In any case, I hope you will begin to spread the word on this germ of a project, and take an active role in helping it become a new model for how blogs and public discourse can become a more powerful tool for constructive work.