What’s the most important Gov 2.0 or open government story of 2011? Why?

2011 is almost over and, with the promise of new year, it’s time to look back at the year that was. Here on Govloop, the community has already been discussing the issue of the year. So far, the threat of a government shutdown has led the list. A related issue –“austerity” — was the story that defined government in 2011 in Chris Dorobek’s poll.

Do you agree? Why or why not? What was the most undercovered story in the intersection of government, technology and society?

While I’ve asked the same question on Quora and Google+, I’m guessing the Govloop community will have plenty to say about what the most important Gov 2.0 or open government story of 2011 was — and why.

I’m all ears.

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Not a story but a theme…

-On the hype cycle or chasm, Gov 2.0/Open Gov is past the top of hype, potentially in doldrum or potentially climbing out to slope of enlightenment. I see this with a lot of items like apps contest in 2011 where in 2010 we thought it would change the world, at some point there was a pushback in trough of disillusionment, and now moving to slope of enlightenment where we get a more granular view of what value they deliver (as much the community than the apps) and how to run them well (difference between just doing a contest and doing it well)

Andrew Krzmarzick

While there is still a lot of adoption to go, I’d agree with Steve that we’ve crossed over the hump of both the hype and adoption cycles. It’s becoming more and more mainstream in many agencies – at least on the Federal level. But we’re also seeing significant adoption at local levels. States have pockets of brilliance.

But the biggest story of the year was Vivek Kundra and Beth Noveck leaving the White House. Those personnel changes really stalled momentum, generally speaking, on the Federal level. I respect their successors immensely, but I think they have an uphill climb as we head into an election year and resisters dig in their heels to wait it out and see if there is a change in Administration before they spend a lot of time and energy at this stage of the game.

Fortunately, the movement has enough of a ground swell that we’ll carry the torch forward regardless of leadership…but it sure helps to have strong champions.

Joe Flood

I think the most important story of the year was the 60 Minutes expose on insider trading in Congress. It demonstrated the power of data to illuminate connections that were hidden, showing how members of Congress made stock trades based upon their inside information on pending legislation. It showed what could be done with open data as well as why government transparency is so vital.

Steve Radick

Actually, I think the biggest story are the Open Government budget cuts. After all, these seemed to be the writing on the wall for Vivek’s departure, and forced everyone to re-think what, exactly, why open government was so important. It wasn’t just for the sake of becoming a more open government – open government needed to be about more than that. It needed to show real mission impact. I think these budget cuts and the subsequent realization of the Gov 2.0 community that Gov 2.0 efforts needed to be deeper than just retweets, friends, and fans was the biggest story of 2011.

Other stories I considered:

  • Vivek’s departure – but, as I mentioned above, I think this was secondary to the budget cuts
  • The CDC’s zombie preparedness kit – was (and still is) used as an example of how to use creative marketing to drive awareness of “serious” issues.
  • O’Reilly’s cancellation of the Gov 2.0 Summit/Expo – one of the big signs (to me anyway) that the “shine” was off of Gov 2.0 and sent the message that this wasn’t going to happen overnight and was going to require serious long-term commitment.
  • Obama’s State of the Union address that was live-streamed – created the template that future State of the Union addresses will have to use. That level of interactivity will become the norm, vice an innovation.
Molly Walker

Thanks for posing the question, Alex. For Gov 2.0, I think there was significant progress in the use of social media for emergency alerts/warnings and disaster response this year. It also shows agencies are letting this evolve beyond a broadcast medium and seeing the value of a feedback loop for mission-critical action.

Although it hasn’t really come to fruition yet, (it’s technically in the “operational” phase, although development and migration appear to still be in progress) I think the NARA’s electronic record archive has some positive implications for open government going forward. It’s something to watch for in 2012, but the fact that NARA tied up a lot of loose ends in 2011 was a big win.

The open government efforts in the EU are also worth noting. While there have been isolated initiatives in the U.S. and U.K. seeing a governing body such as the EU set new standards for openness could have a broader impact on how the rest of the world manages and shares public information.

Christopher Whitaker

This is the part where I’m normally plug Chicago’s awesome break-out in the OpenData scene and the Apps contest that followed, but I have to give it to Code For America. Huge things will emerge from the organization

Mary Arthur

I may sound biased, (since my husband created it), but I’m certain that the CDC Virtual Platform Initiative will be the future in government. Conferences, meetings, expos, job fairs, telework, educational training, outbreak surveillance, outbreak management, citizen healthcare record management…you name it, it can do it. See Andrew Krzmarzick’s blog post on it HERE.