What is ePolicyWorks?
Launched by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), ePolicyWorks is a Web-based approach to policymaking that engages citizens and stakeholders in new and innovative ways. The initiative leverages the latest technology to address barriers to employment for people with disabilities and fosters real-time collaboration and communication around key issues.
Participants in the ePolicyWorks initiative benefit from a variety of online tools and features to help them stay informed, build relationships and partner on important policy developments. These include e-newsletters and Twitter feeds, online dialogues on key issues, and a collaborative workspace. All these features allow stakeholders to learn and contribute to the conversation about the intersection between employment, disability and other policy areas.
Over the last year, the ePolicyWorks initiative is pleased to be the host of an important series of online dialogues. Brought to you through the use of leading-edge crowdsourcing tools, these online dialogues are interactive platforms of collaboration. They enable ePolicyWorks to enlist the public's input on key policy and programmatic issues related to the employment of people with disabilities. The dialogues have focused on number of specific topics including the needs of our nation's wounded warriors, veterans, service members, and their families, as well as others, by channeling the brainpower of our federal partners, nonprofits, NGOs and other stakeholders. To learn more about past ePolicyWorks dialogues, visit http://www.epolicyworks.org/national_dialogues.html.
What is the difference between traditional feedback gathering and online crowdsourcing?
Traditional methods of gathering feedback involve limited participation. They tend to be "one and done" engagements that are purely data-driven. Crowdsourcing, on the other hand, entails interactive participation through online voting, idea submission and commenting. It is community driven and value driven, and it emphasizes results. The term was coined by journalist, Jeff Howe, in the 2006 Wired article, "The Rise of Crowdsourcing."
Crowdsourcing activities are commonly referred to as "online dialogues" or virtual town halls." The benefits of crowdsourcing include: connecting agencies to stakeholders or constituents, providing cost benefits and efficiencies, serving as an outreach and awareness tool.
How can you get involved?
Members of ePolicyWorks receive the latest news, events, reports, regulations and legislation related to disability and employment, as well as access to the initiative’s online collaboration tools. Federal agencies and national stakeholders interested in becoming ePolicyWorks members, participating in an online dialogue or building a collaborative workspace for their issue area are encouraged to contact: ePolicyWorks@dol.gov.