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Thursday, December 11, 2008


Reducing "anti-Americanism" with "what-if" planning

Count on the American government to think that technology is the solution:
The State Department last year spent $357 million on diplomacy programs designed to create a positive image of the United States in other parts of the world. These include summer camp programs for kids in the Middle East, the American Corners information libraries at various U.S. embassies, and speaking engagements by American celebrities.

But in 2006, the OMB gave the State Department a poor rating on its ability to measure the effectiveness of those diplomacy programs.

The division's first step was to reduce its number of performance measures from an unmanageable 898 down to 15, and to develop six outcome measurements. One of those six is "Initiation of positive change to local communities"; another is "Reduced anti-Americanism."

So the division created a Public Diplomacy Impact dashboard accessible on the State Department's intranet, based on Business Objects Xcelsius data-visualization software. The dashboard provides State Department executives with budget details, plus how far it's come in achieving its six outcome measures based on survey data.

The results of that work will later appear under a tab on the Public Diplomacy Impact dashboard call What-If Analysis, or what the State Department could do if it received even more funding for diplomacy efforts.
Gee, "what-if" the United States would stop invading other countries and terrorizing the people of the world? And just think, instead of costing hundreds of millions of dollars, that form of "diplomacy" would actually save money. Not hundreds of millions. Not billions. Trillions of it.

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