Over the course of a year, we write hundreds of stories covering myriad topics. And at year's end, we attempt to make sense of it all. We looked for trends that had a profound impact this year — and that are likely to be even more influential in the future. We think our choices fit that mold.

In this Web series, we'll look at social media, which is steadily reshaping how agencies deal with the public; big data, which holds new promise for improving government performance; BYOD, cloud computing and software as a service, all of which are challenging long-held assumptions for how agencies acquire and use technology; and the emergence of chief innovation officers, which hints at eventual challenges to traditional organizational structures themselves.

We expect these trends, which took root in 2012, to impact our work and world as we move into next year and beyond: