What Open Government is About: Suggested Intermediate Goals and Guidance for Gov 2.0

There has been a lot of buzz in the last eight months around the concept of Open Government. Last week, the Gov 2.0 community met for an energizing Gov 2.0 Expo and Gov 2.0 Summit, sponsored by TechWeb and O’Reilly Media, which brought together thought leaders, practitioners and federal executives around the ideas of transparency, collaboration and participation. Speakers illustrated success stories, emerging applications, agency specific tools, and an open source vision for today and the future. Gov 2.0 bloggers have been posting summaries and outstanding questions since. September 15, OMB and GSA announced the launch of Apps.gov, a storefront for approved cloud computing applications.

Needless to say, there is a lot of activity in the Gov 2.0 world, but it seems that the content of the conference, recent discussions, and recent initiatives have fallen in to two primary categories: technology and vision.

1. The Gov 2.0 event was highly focused on the technology aspects of Open Government.
However, Open Government is not ONLY about technology.
2. The Gov 2.0 event also featured plentiful discussion about the desired to-be open source state for government operations.
However, there must be intermediate, manageable steps that lead to that to-be state.

While I agree with Tim O’Reilly’s statement that “government as a platform” should be an overall goal of Open Government, I also believe that in order to achieve meaningful results from Open Government efforts in the near to medium term, Federal practitioners must have intermediate goals that drive their efforts as well.

To build upon the Gov 2.0 community’s conversation through this new lens, I have compiled the following series of blog postings explaining what I think Open Government is about. These thoughts will hopefully help to focus practitioners on some of the intermediate goals that may assist their Open Government efforts and kick-start the conversation to bridge the gap between the high-level “to-be” state discussions, and the implementation issues at the tool level. Thus, I start by suggesting that Open Government is about…

1. Technology, Policy, and Culture
2. Leadership, Strategy and Teaming
3. Public Private Partnerships and Innovation
4. Realizing Economies of Scale through Standardization
5. Eliminating the Digital Divide

I welcome your comments and additions.