Government, Society - Written by Steve Guengerich on Tuesday, January 19, 2010 10:14 - 1 Comment
The open government directive: Ready, set, engage!
Get ready, citizens, because in about two to three weeks, you are going to have an unprecedented opportunity to dialogue with the U.S. government about the future of transparency, collaboration, and participation. This dialogue is expected to play a significant role in shaping the future of citizen engagement with the U.S. federal agencies that implement policy affecting our daily lives.
It’s all part of the Open Government Directive mandated by the Office of Management and Budget, in a memo dated December 8, 2009. The Directive is a direct result of the work begun by the White House, under the auspices of an Open Government Initiative, in the early days of the Obama Administration. (We’re pleased, by the way, that Beth Noveck, a collaborator with Don and the Wikinomics team in recent years, has had such an important role leading the Initiative from inside the White House…congratulations Beth!)
I encourage you to read the Directive. It’s the antithesis of the kinds of 1,000-page government documents that get joked about on the late night TV programs. Instead, it is eleven pages long and has clear, unequivocal language such as “The three principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration form the cornerstone of an open government.”
So, what can you expect in two to three weeks? Well, the first deadline in the directive actually already passed last week. To wit: “Within 45 days, each agency shall identify and publish online in an open format at least three high-value data sets and register those data sets via Data.gov. These must be data sets not previously available online or in a downloadable format.” We discussed Data.gov and some of the terrific work going on in open source development of apps to tap into those rich data sets in my multi-part review of the inaugural O’Reilly Gov 2.0 Summit last year.
But, what you can expect by early February is that each agency will have created an “Open Government Webpage” to serve as its gateway for agency activities related to the Open Government Directive. This is the place where each agency will provide information about its plans and solicit and receive input about its future. For the solicitation of citizen input, expect an already well-tested web 2.0 tool, like Ideascale, to power the process.
We’ll provide more updates in the coming weeks. And, keep an eye on our partner website, The Collaboration Project, at the National Academy, for insightful policy updates on open government progress as well. But, in the meantime, get in there and make your voice heard!
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