Open Government is about Leadership, Strategy, and Teaming (Part 2 of 5 of Series)

Putting together a well-balanced leadership and implementation team is essential and should start from the beginning of Open Government efforts. The Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) and the Office of Public Affairs (OPA) should co-lead the effort with executive sponsorship from the highest levels of the organization. While the OPA manages most of the branding and communications for the Agency, the OCIO is uniquely situated, in most cases, at the center of technology, policy and culture issues and thus should be part of the core leadership team.

Several other parties should be engaged in Agency-wide Gov 2.0 efforts, including: the General Counsel’s Office (OGC), Chief Technology Officers (CTO), Chief Information Security Officers (CISO), Privacy Officers, Human Resources (HR), and project managers (PMs). These parties must be at the table to ensure all legal, policy, technical, organizational and business factors are addressed when devising an Open Government strategy. Without an Agency-wide effort, programs will utilize social media and Open Government tools on an ad-hoc basis, driving up redundancy, cost, and the instances of inconsistent policies. By embracing the strategy phase upfront, Agencies have the opportunity to ensure that Open Government programs and tools comprehensively:

(1) Enhance the Agency’s mission and make service provision more efficient for the government and useful for the public
(2) Channel public energy to partner with the government to innovate productively and;
(3) Align with IT standards, federal policies, and Agency strategy.

Teaming doesn’t stop at the strategy level however, it continues all the way down to program development and management. We are all familiar with the teaming required to stand up and operate a tool or program; it’s the strategy leadership—with the exception of the White House and OMB—that has been lacking. Agencies leadership teams should focus on a current “openness” assessment, strategy development, planning, tool selection and then program development and management, in that order, to ensure Open Government adds real value to mission provision.