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Top 5 Excuses for not doing Open Gov

GovLoop’s Top 5 categories can often get people responding enthusiastically. I recall that the top places to have a Government Job fired up personal responses.

Recently some of us have been thinking of the reasons that people cite for not starting or buying into Open Government. So we thought that sharing some Top 5 Excuses for not doing Open Gov might provide some interesting insights. Here are our current top 5.

1. It is not my job.

2. This is just latest management fad/buzzword and is not relevant (or “this too shall pass”.

3. Openness will just bring “problems”.

4. We don’t know how to do this.

5. No time/resources to do it (or buy-in from those who control resources).

Are this a good list and familiar or have you heard “better” excused.

Bonus – we’re working on a Guide to help people through barriers so maybe your ideas will be included.

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Michael Lennon

My favorite reason for why we are not doing open gov, is the misbelief that “We are already doing open gov” When in fact all that is happening is Broadcasting information, not interacting externally around the information.

Gary Berg-Cross

Sterling Whitehead asked if there are ” Top 5 Counterarguments to Not Doing Open Gov”?

Others may have passionate responses here, but a start may be the argument that it is just a fad or we don’t know how to do it well or have the resources to master it.

Henry Brown

Fear of a perceived loss of power. Not sure that this is NOT the “real” reason behind a significant percentage of the excuses reasons that people cite for not getting with the program

Gary Berg-Cross

Fear of real or even perceived loss of power/face can be an important factor especially if there are not many other virtues/value to someone’s work such as an opportunity to master a field, autonomy etc.

And one may feel that unilateral openness might put one at a disadvantage when the rest of an agency isn’t open with the to stakeholders etc.

In some circumstances the fear of going to openness may be because it is not yet appreciated by one’s bosses of that Congress is not interested and sees it as distracting from the main tasks.,

Another fear I’ve heard is that releasing particular data will get “us” into trouble. This can be because the data have not been verified, are not well organized, or easily understood by outsiders etc. All legitimate possibilities.

David Tallan

#1 “It’s too risky. We are a very risk-averse organization.” (It = whatever is being proposed)
#2 “We’re not ready for that yet.”

Matthew Bergevin

I’ve recently been getting the “I’m afraid of loosing my job” excuse. The idea that what takes weeks to do can be done in less than a day is scary to some folks who wonder what will become of them if they can’t properly fill out their work week. I try to reassure them that their newly freed time will be spent helping the others on his/her team so there will still be plenty of work. After all, all of us working together is what Gov 2.0 is all about!

Michael Lennon

Thanks Tracy.

I am fascinated by Matthew Begevin’s remark. I have always heard this in the private sector when folks face change. But is Matt’s comment about the public employee? Or the contractor serving the public agency?

Gary Berg-Cross

On the point that “what takes weeks to do can be done in less than a day is scary to some folks who wonder what will become of them if they can’t properly fill out their work week.”
I can imagine that for some, but for others they may feel that there is a loss in quality of the work done, perhaps adquate reviews, governance, etc. And there could be some truth to this if relevant work practices aren’s adjusted. If something takes a week they maybe in that inefficient process everyone knows something about what is going on, if only by talking over coffee and they fear that they will caught off guard in work isn’t socialzed in the old fashion way.