This is How I Launched an Official Channel Between the Government and the Tech Industry

Photo Credit: Zaheer Mohiuddin, Flickr CC

A year ago, in my role as Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s global dev communities manager, I invited 2 VIP representatives from GitHub for a full day conference with our developers. We managed to pull off an amazing event with awesome content covering open source and cutting-edge technology.

But,

I was frustrated that these 2 VIP representatives flew all the way from San-Francisco to Israel and I had no direct channel to inform the government about this visit, enabling relevant government officials to enjoy the company, knowledge and connections of these two unique guests.

From frustration to solution

I contacted a talented senior from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I told him this story and how wrong it is to have no official channel that can enable the industry to:

  1. Inform the government about VIP tech guests that visit Israel
  2. Share updates about important tech conferences that have global impact

I offered my help in building a new channel just for that — and, YAY, I got a green light!

So, here it is: “Tech and Innovation Forum: Ministry of Foreign Affairs”

The “Tech and Innovation Forum: Ministry of Foreign Affairs” launched a month and a half ago. For the first step in building this channel / community I decided to start with a simple text newsletter. The most plain-non-sophisticated newsletter you’ve ever seen, but, one with valuable updates. This is how it looks:

After just one Facebook status (calling people to join as well as to send me relevant updates) plus one simple Google docs form for registration — we were set to go!

Here’s what this tech-government forum already achieved:

  • Almost 400 people from companies and organization such as: Wix, Deloitte, Google, eBay, IBM, Cisco, Oracle, Microsoft along with army tech divisions, municipal innovation departments and universities entrepreneurship programs — have already signed as subscribers
  • I was invited to be a guest in Google’s official entrepreneurship podcast (!) to talk about the new forum
  • I got messages and updates from Israel foreign embassies from around the world as they are now following the forum (how exciting!)
  • 4 newsletters have already been sent covering more than 15 events, VIP guests visiting Israel and global entrepreneurship programs
  • Personal-professional connections were created between seniors and well-known global organizations because of this channel (YAY! real impact)
  • Members (subscribers) of the new forum will be invited to take part in a meeting that will be held in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ offices

Conclusion

From taking action and building up this kind of channel I managed to extract 3 main lessons (they are almost identical to the lessons I learned when I created Israel’s fire map with the Israeli Air Force)

  1. Be that someone who take an active part: I didn’t have this kind of communication with the government — so I built one
  2. No need for title: I have no official title in international relations or building industry updates forums or communication channels, but it did not stop me from launching this initiative
  3. The most important thing is value: The newsletter is not a fancy one. Just plain text. However, when you solve a real problem and deliver great value — it almost doesn’t matter.

Want to join & help?

Photo Credit: Zaheer Mohiuddin, Flickr CC