“Open Government” Wins Gold

If “most used phrase since 2009” was an Olympic event then “open government” would surely dominate.

Olympic spirit and jokes aside, I wanted to pass along an excellent read from the Open Government Partnerships blog. In it, IdeaScale’s Jessica Day (and my awesome colleague) does a great job highlighting the tangible progress of open government, stating that 86% of agencies are now in compliance with almost 60% of all agencies in full compliance across all categories.


She concludes by asking the question: what will open government look like as time goes on? What new initiatives will we see? How will we continue to engage as we move into the future?

So what do you think?

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Stephen Buckley

I posted the following as a comment to Jessica’s posting on the OpenGovPartnership blog, but thought I’d share it here, too. Your feedback is appreciated. — SB


“The proof is in the pudding.”

I know that you (and many others) are relatively new to the area of “compliance”, so I’d like to see if I can explain a distinction that most people miss, i.e., that there TWO types of “compliance”. (If it’s not clear, please give me feedback.)

For example: In making a tasty pudding for my dinner guests, I can “comply” with (i.e., follow each instruction in) a recipe but, as you probably know, this does not always result a product that complies with my ultimate goal: a tasty pudding.

The President’s OpenGov Memorandum did recognize the distinction between compliance with goals that are Intermediate (“recipe”) and that which are Ultimate (“tasty”).

Eleven months later, the White House issued the OpenGov Directive (OGD) that was supposed to provide more detailed instructions for federal agencies to move forward.

Unfortunately, the drafters of the OGD only included directions for complying with their “recipe”, and not about how to measure citizen feedback about the final “pudding” (i.e., Transparency, Participation, and Collaboration).

Finally, three and a half years later, are the people in charge of OpenGov realizing the missed step of establishing some standard metrics (i.e., more than website “hits”) for measuring what it considers progress in its Open Government program.

If interested in joining a still-nascent (and moderated) discussion about development of #OpenGovMetrics, you can join the google-group linked at the top of the twitter page at http://www.twitter.com/opengovmetrics

P.S. The international effort, i.e., OpenGov Partnership (OGP), is also recognizing the weakness in this lack of generally-accepted metrics.

However, it will be harder for OGP since their 4 ultimate goals (i.e., “principles”) are not exactly the same as the U.S., are not as clearly defined, and also do not mention the use of citizen satisfaction as an indicator. See the 3 ultimate goals in the U.S. President’s OpenGov Memorandum issued on his first full day in office (21 January 2009):

Eric Koch

Interesting post and good comment Stephen. It does appear to have come a long way, but obviously change does not happen overnight. What are your thoughts on the DATA Act in support of transparency? Do you think this will make it through the Senate?