Open Gov Directive Hits the Streets (in an oh so ironic way)

So the White House released the long-awaited Open Government Directive this morning, appropriately accompanied by a live videostream at both the White House site and on FaceBook with Federal CTO Aneesh Chopra, Federal CIO Vivek Kundra and new media director Macon Phillips.

With only time for a quick glance through the directive (it wasn’t made available prior to the announcement), if there’s one certainty it’s that the next four months are sure to bring additional change and increased activity in the Gov 2.0 space as agencies look to comply with the directive’s various deadlines which include:

  • Within 45 days each agency must ID and publish a minimum of three “high-value data sets” and register those sets with
  • OMB, the Federal CIO and CTO will create a government-wide working group in 45 days to focus on transparency, accountability, participatoin and collaboration throughout the federal government.
  • Within 60 days, each agency must create an “Open Government webpage (to include a public feedback mechanism), and a government-wide dashboard will be created by the Federal CIO at this time to track/rate agency progress against the directive and its deadlines
  • Within 90 days, OMB will issue guidance on how “agencies can use challenges, prizes, and other incentive-backed strategies to find innovative or cost-effective solutions” to improve open government.
  • Within 120 days, agencies must create an “Open Government Plan” to describe how it will improve its transparencyand integrate public participation/collaboration into its activities

It will be interesting to see what key themes, issues and challenges emerge after folks have time for a more in-depth look at the directive (which is an unfunded mandate, by the way). An example of just how hard driving this new mix of cultural and technological change could be comes from the directive itself. Part 1-b of the new directive states that agencies “to the extent practicable…should publish information online in an open format that can be retrieved, downloaded, indexed, and searched by commonly used web search applications.” It a bit of unintentional irony, The White House chose to issue the directive as a PDF.

View the directive here, and also the White House Blog post on the directive.

If you’d like to extend the discussion, I’ve started a topic up.

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Anne Steppe

How many people are really going to understand what is being posted? How useful or reflective will that information be anyway? After all, we can use “challenges and prizes and other incentives” to encourage people to share their ideas. Will the adjudication of this process work better than the government’s employee suggestion program? Let’s hope. Will public suggestions be handled similarly to letters to Congress or the President in which the intended person never actually sees the letter much less answers it? Has anyone thought about the millions of bloggers and tweeters that will be making their voices heard through yet another feedback portal? Who is going to sift through all the postings? Will anyone actually care about the feedback or suggestions received or do we just think we do? Will we merely point to this newest intiative as “proof” of how the government is working for the people by the people? There are already so many new government web sites and portals to send information to the White House now and new onespop up daily (or so it seems). Does anyone see any great benefit to this newest initiative? Please enlighten me, if you can. Just trying to keep it real.