To a crowd of over 500 largely government web development managers and public relations professionals, panelist Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra, Macon Phillips, Special Assistant to the President and White House Director of New Media, and GSA Office of Citizen Services Associate Administrator David McClure, spoke to the GSA’s Web Developer Management University audience about the Open Government Directive.
For those who could not, did not, or were not eligible to attend, I must say, the information shared at this morning session was to me, so substantial in defining the current status of the OGD purpose that the discussion could very well have been videoed to be used in a public service announcement coming “from on high” as to what the Open Government Directive plan is designed to do. I would have to say that after hearing Vivek Kundra speak, there should no longer be a debate or defining moments spent giving definition to Web 2.0 and Gov 2.0. Vivek indeed took the mystery out of the definition for me, and his partnering panelists completed the discussions in complimentary fashion.
According to the words of Vivek Kundra, “the Open Government Directive is designed to demystify government, and to restore vital trust between the people, and the government.” Open Government issues a challenge from government to the people to solve problems”. Open Government, (paraphrasing here) democratizes data and exposes how agencies will begin to figure out solutions to problems.
Here is another yet consistent ring tone of the definition of Open Government shared by the panelist. (paraphrased) The Directive and the OGD plans developed by and for the agencies, are not much about data as the Directive is about content and presentation of content. According to the panelist, data becomes a public asset , if the content helps to demystify government for the public. Each panelist in their own way, highlighted practical open government strategies and the importance of agencies using governmentwide solutions. Associate Administrator David McClure emphasized building strategies for transparency and the use of new media tools.
So if we rewind to the Saturday Night Live Employee of the Year spoof commentary by Steve Raddick on Gov Loop that attracted a large number of replies to his posting, I would think that members of Web Development Manager University, and the engaged participants who learned over the past two days how to become more effective web managers in this new web 2.0 OGD environment, will take the Saturday Night Live spoof of the government worker dressed up like Precious and sounding not so engaged as a challenge. I believe that these 500 professionals gathered together for the past two days would look seriously at the troubling statistics indicating that 80% of the public according to last week’s Express News article, distrusts the government as an opportunity to change these perceptions. In fact, I foresee optimistically speaking, a revived government worker spirit from these past two days, serious about the new Executive Order to open, collaborate, and increase participation via the websites.
Very hopeful and exciting times, and boy are these the kind of times that we need Hope.
Keith D. Moore