Differences between Gov 2.0 and Open Gov

Home Forums Technology Differences between Gov 2.0 and Open Gov

This topic contains 29 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by  Tim Bonnemann 8 years, 4 months ago.

  • Author
  • #116241

    Lucas Cioffi
    I think we all sense that Gov 2.0 is not the same as open gov, but can anyone articulate why? I’m finding it difficult.
    The Feb ’09 “first day in office” OMB memo on open gov seems to indicate that Open Gov = Transparency + Open Data + Participation + Collaboration, with open data being a component of transparency.
    Working Definitions:
    • Gov 2.0 = the application of participatory, inter-operable, open source, or user-centric tech in government.
    • Open Gov = the application of transparency, participation, and collaboration to accomplish the mission of a public sector agency. (This is slightly different than the historical idea of open government which may be hundreds of years old.)

    1. So that leaves me to wonder, “What is covered by ‘Gov 2.0’ that isn’t already covered by ‘open gov’?” Gov 2.0 does seem to be a more memorable term, but the differences seem to run deeper than that.
    2. In regard to implementation of the Open Government Directive do you perceive that open data has had more attention and success than transparency/participation/collaboration?
    3. Is there anything included in open gov that is not included in Gov 2.0? UPDATE: the discussion below seems to indicate that indeed, not all open gov initiatives involve technology.

    Also, I can’t seem to find any blog posts about the difference between Gov 2.0 and Open Gov. Has anyone written about this yet? Is there a difference? Thanks in advance!

    UPDATE: As of January 2012, there are several other great discussions to check out:
  • #116299

    Tim Bonnemann

    The OMB memorandum from December 8, 2009 only mentions three:

    “The three principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration form the cornerstone of an open government. Transparency promotes accountability by providing the public with information about what the Government is doing. Participation allows members of the public to contribute ideas and expertise so that their government can make policies with the benefit of information that is widely dispersed in society. Collaboration improves the effectiveness of Government by encouraging partnerships and cooperation within the Federal Government, across levels of government, and between the Government and private institutions. ”

    Release of high-value data sets is mentioned but mostly as related to transparency.

  • #116297

    Tim Bonnemann

    In terms of definitions, I liked Justin Grimes’ recent tweet:

    @wmburke @Fireside21 in general i’d say #gov20 (gov use of 2.0 tech & soc med) & #opengov (old def = trans; obama def= trans, part, collab)

    Hey, who said it can’t be done in 140 characters or less? 😉

  • #116295

    Lucas Cioffi
  • #116293

    Tim Bonnemann

    Oh, and that was in reply to Wayne:

    @Fireside21 Interesting. I’d say #gov20 = tech in gov, #opengov = tranforming gov, with focus on trans, partic, collab – @justgrimes: input?

  • #116291

    Tim Bonnemann

    No. 😉

  • #116289

    Lucas Cioffi

    Interesting. I just added the link to the Feb ’09 “first full day in office” OMB memo above.

    I had never noticed until today that it does mention open data by stating in the transparency section that “Information maintained by the Federal Government is a national asset. My Administration will take appropriate action, consistent with law and policy, to disclose information rapidly in forms that the public can readily find and use.”

    It seems to me that open data has become the pillar of the Administration’s Open Gov Initiative that has made the most progress. In other words it seemed to grow from a small mention to a community of practice in the federal space that’s larger than transparency, participation, or collaboration (excluding communities of practice outside the federal government). I wonder whether other folks have the same perception about the relative energy behind open data, transparency, participation, and collaboration.

  • #116287

    Lucas Cioffi

    The one problem I have with “gov 2.0 = tech in gov” is that it seems to break the analogy with web 2.0, because web 1.0 was also all about tech– it’s a question of which kind of tech, yes?

    I think the definition needs at least one modifier such as “gov 2.0 = participatory, inter-operable, open source, or user-centric tech in gov“. Would that be an improvement?

  • #116285

    Lucas Cioffi

    Thanks to @JustinHerman and @digiphile for their responses via Twitter:

    athenabridge: What is the best way to describe the difference between #opengov and #gov2.0? Has anyone written about this yet? Thanks much!

    JustinHerman: The best way to describe difference between #Opengov and #gov20 @athenabridge is #OpenGov concept has been around for hundreds of years.

    JustinHerman: You can read about the history of #OpenGov here @athenabridge http://bit.ly/9XfYty (expand) – and #gov20 is shorthand for the current tech side of it

    JustinHerman: But with #OpenGov @athenabridge there’s something even both political parties agree on: gov transparency, public engagement & collaboration

    athenabridge: @JustinHerman Would you say that everything #gov20 fits within the circle of #opengov? Prob not, but I’m surprised no one has mapped it out.

    JustinHerman: I wouldnt fully group the two together @athenabridge because many things marketing popularly as #Gov20 are far, far from fulfilling #OpenGov

    JustinHerman: For instance, @athenabridge, I view #gov20 as merely a marketing term for techies, but useful shorthand for Twitter hashtags…. #OpenGov

    JustinHerman: However @athenabridge I also know a few very intelligent people who see #gov20 as more & I respect that. I just don’t ascribe to it #opengov

    JustinHerman: I tend to notice @athenabridge people who still hark on “Government 2.0” are either Silicon Valley connected or new to it. #OpenGov #gov20

    JustinHerman: @athenabridge but like I said, every has a different perspective & experience, and they exhibit that in different ways. #OpenGov #Gov20

    JustinHerman: No matter how you approach it @athenabridge – #gov20, #OpenGov, none will get far if it doesn’t deliver results. And thats what we work for.

    digiphile: @athenabridge On writing: read the #gov20 section of @radar http://oreil.ly/ebyb3p & @govfresh: http://bit.ly/anYRXr (expand) #opengov

    digiphile: @athenabridge #opengov is grounded both in the @WhiteHouse definition from @opengov & history. 3 pillars. Certainly part of #gov20 umbrella.

    digiphile: @athenabridge Check out this @GovLoop thread: http://bit.ly/fIuwC4 (expand) #Gov20 is often used as an umbrella term for #opengov #egov or #wegov.

    athenabridge: @digiphile Reworded: if #gov20 is the umbrella for #opengov, what does it cover that is not also covered by transparency, part. & collab?

    govwiki: RT @athenabridge @digiphile Reworded: if #gov20 is the umbrella for #opengov, what does it cover that is n… http://bit.ly/hpFBOq (expand) #ogov

    digiphile: @athenabridge DIO movement isn’t classic #opengov; #opendata & “gov as a platform” (GPS/NOAA data) isn’t either, tho embraced by WH. #gov20

    digiphile: @athenabridge Consider CFPB “startup agency” & big data analysis :http://j.mp/9dax74 Certainly #Gov20 there; #opengov in projected aspects.

  • #116283


    I think there were different roots perhaps, but they are certainly beginning to merge. I’ve tried to capture the essence of that merger via my OpenGov 2.0 Facebook fan site, Twitter site and OpenGov West presentation.

    Here is the link to the .ppt for reference:


    Is anyone else having trouble with SlideShare? I can’t see the thumbnails, what is up with SlideShare lately?

  • #116281

    Tim Bonnemann

    The goal is transparency. Open government data is certainly one important building block on the way to achieving a more transparent government, but it’s not the be all end all.

    At the federal level, there seem to be far more opportunities to open up data than there are to invite meaningful public participation. In addition, open data has a vocal lobby (O’Reilly, Sunlight and others), and they’ve done great work. As a result, it’s not really surprising that open data has gotten the most attention over the past two years.

  • #116279

    Tim Bonnemann

    The idea of “Government 2.0” is pretty well defined:

    According to Tim O’Reilly, Government 2.0 is the “idea of the government as platform: how can government design programs to be generative, […] building frameworks that enable people to build new services of their own?”)

    In this Forbes column (August 2009), he phrase this as “the opportunities inherent in harnessing a highly motivated and diverse population not just to help [politicians] get elected, but to help them do a better job.”

    And: “Citizens are connected like never before and have the skill sets and passion to solve problems affecting them locally as well as nationally. Government information and services can be provided to citizens where and when they need it. Citizens are empowered to spark the innovation that will result in an improved approach to governance.”

    And: “In this model, government is a convener and an enabler–ultimately, it is a vehicle for coordinating the collective action of citizens.”

    And: “This is the right way to frame the question of “Government 2.0.” How does government itself become an open platform that allows people inside and outside government to innovate? How do you design a system in which all of the outcomes aren’t specified beforehand, but instead evolve through interactions between the technology provider and its user community?”

    That pretty much outlines the core concepts behind Government 2.0.

    Gov 2.0 is by no means a prerequisite to achieving a government that is transparent, participatory and collaborative (though there is overlap, obviously). You can still achieve Open Government without buying into the idea of “government as platform”.

  • #116277

    Sebastian Haselbeck

    Here’s what I posted as a reply over at intellitics.com:

    I think the whole discussion is a little misguided and comes as a surprise to me. But at the same time I am not surprised as such terms are a matter of fashion and trend, rather than precise ex-ante definition.

    I think it’s without doubt that “open government” is a broader, deeper, term, that means exactly what it says, namely a more open government. Transparency issues, accountability issues, anti-corruption, open data, etc, all that plays into open government as much as modern technologies to do enable that.

    “Government 2.0” is government with 2.0 technologies. However you want to define the basket of technologies that are “web 2.0” (e.g. cloud computing most definitely is not web 2.0, even though many web 2.0 services that we are familiar with are cloud-based services. Meaning the type of hosting has itself not much to do with the application. What if Google Docs, which most people consider a cloud service, was hosted on your regular webspace?), this makes government workflow, services, citizen-orientation more participative, collaborative – and open. Government 2.0 therefore can be a central part in “open government”, but it doesn’t have to. In fact, I consider “open government” a tech-neutral term, that could fit any pro-government-transparency initiative in 1776 just as well as a demonstration in front of the pentagon in 2011. Open Government has more legal, political and cultural dimensions that “government 2.0” has.

    To conclude, I think the distinction needs to be made in where the two terms differ, and making the distinction between the two terms, would help the discourse greatly as we slowly move toward something of a post-2.0 world. My main gripe with “government 2.0” as a term is, that whenever something changes, do we have to count up? When does government 3.0 start? Do we have a 2.8 already and nobody noticed? Part of the reason “government 2.0” is such a prominent term is the obsession with social media by many of the evangelists… I find “government 2.0” to be a not very sustainable long-term concept. Open Government is.

    I wrote about this also here: http://www.sebastian-haselbeck.de/government-2-0-are-rumors-of-its-death-premature/

    thanks for reading

  • #116275

    Bill Brantley

    I see Open Gov as another name for the third stage of Democracy as described by Keane in his book, The Life and Death of Democracy. The third stage is called Monitory Democracy and essentially means the spreading of democratic ideals and practices to monitor decision makers whether they are elected or unelected and in both governmental and nongovernmental areas. An example of this are nonprofit groups that monitor corporate boards to ensure that shareholder rights and the greater good of society are being upheld.
    This stage is different from the first two stages (Assembly and Representative) because democracy only operated in the limited sphere of government.

    Thus Gov 2.0 is separate from Open Gov because Gov 2.0 deals with the new Internet technologies that enable more effective distribution of information and communication. Gov 2.0 is closely allied with Open Gov because it better enables Open Gov but Open Gov (in the form of Monitory Democracy) has been developing since 1945. Gov 2.0 technologies have been a great boon to Open Gov but Open Gov would still exist even if the Internet and social networking technologies did not exist.

  • #116273

    Patrick Stingley

    Gov 2.0 is a portmanteau word created by combining Web 2.0 and government. Web 2.0 is differentiated from Web 1.0 in that the latter is a one-way dissemination of value; the publish and forget model. Open Government falls into the Web 1.0 category. Web 2.0, has a different use case, wherein the consumer (i.e.; the citizenry) take the content from the provider (in this case the government), create something of value and contribute it back. Although such efforts as Data.gov have put in place the infrastructure needed to deliver the content to the consumers, there remain limited capabilities for consumers who are also producers (called Pro-Sumers by Tapscott in Wikinomics) to contribute value back. Thus far, the few entities that have been able to contribute back and complete the Web.2.0 value feedback loop have primarily been watchdog groups who have taken the data from the government, done something with it, and sent it back to the government.

  • #116271

    Bernhard Krabina

    Here is my view:
    If you look at Obama’s Open Government Initiative, I think it is not enough to quote participation, transparency collaboration (and open data). He is talking about accountability effectiveness and coherence as well (at least implicitly).

    So basically, Open Government is something very similar to Good Governance (or Public Governance) – see here EUROPEAN GOVERNANCE

    The five principles of Good Governance are: “openness, participation, accountability, effectiveness and coherence”. So Open Government is a concept of 2009, it takes the concept of Good Governance (of 2001) and puts slightly different emphasis: “Transparency” vs. “Openness” – I think basically it is the same, maybe the difference is American vs. European culture? Open Government is more about collaboration. Both concepts have participation included, but collaboration is more than that, simply because the revolution here happened after 2001.

    Joern von Lucke writes that Open Government is a collective term for concepts that have to do with opening government like: Openness, Government 2.0, Transparency 2.0, Participation 2.0, Collaboration 2.0, Open Innovation, Opening of society, Popper’s Open Society, Open Data/Linked Data, Open Standards, Open Interfaces/Interoperability, Open Source and Open communication systems

    But I think Government 2.0 should not only be seen as technology in government, because Web 2.0 is not only about technology. Don Tapscott writes about 4 forces: “A technology revolution – Web 2.0″, a demographic revolution – the Net Generation”, “a social revolution – Social Networking”, an “economic revolution – Wikinomics”.

    So to my understanding, Government 2.0 is a new form of government taking into consideration the technology, demographic, social and economic changes. As the term has an “end date” (because wenn does Government 3.0 come up?), maybe we can see it as the same as Open Government (in the broad sense of von Lucke) after all?

  • #116269

    Steve Ressler

    Hmmm…In my mind Gov 2.0 doesn’t have to equal open source. It is a sub-characteristic of Gov 2.0 that is big but I’m not sure it is a definitive characteristics.

    To me, Gov 2.0 is about the next generation of government problem solving. That can be internally with agencies or participatory developments with citizens. But it is doing it in a new way with a different mind-set, different tools.

  • #116267

    Tim Evans

    >2. In regard to implementation of the Open Government Directive do you perceive that open data has had >more attention and success than transparency/participation/collaboration?

    Of course, throwing data up against the ‘data.gov’ wall is the easiest part of all this.

  • #116265

    Bernhard Krabina

    Sorry, my quote of von Lucke is wrong. He is not talking about “Government 2.0” at all. So we have to cross it out in the list above.

  • #116263

    Lucas Cioffi

    Agreed- the definition at the top just mentioned that if a project is open source that alone may but not necessarily qualify it as Gov 2.0.

    It’s great to see this discussion here– I’ve learned a bunch.

  • #116261

    Wayne Moses Burke

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure Tim O’Reilly defined all of this well after the term had taken hold in DC.

    I know the groundwork for Gov2.0Camp was laid in December of 2008 [link] by Maxine Teller, and other posts on her blog show use of the term Government 2.0 as far back as July of that year.

  • #116259

    Tim Bonnemann

    William Eggers even wrote a book in 2005 that had “Government 2.0” in the title.

  • #116257

    So here’s where I stand on this issue:

    – I used to advocate for a definition of Gov 2.0 that transcended technology
    – I wanted an articulation of the concept that included the reality of a broader paradigm shift in how we think about government – that government is not just “for”, but “by” and “of” the people
    – But I think this forum shows that Gov 2.0 is now primarily about technology and open data
    – Open Government seems to better express the notion of paradigm shift or culture change with 2 of the 3 pillars in the OMB memo casting a vision for a more collaborative (“of”) and participatory (“by”) government
    – Transparency includes raw open data – which still feels like a “for” the people situation if we’re talking about the average citizens (who are not really manipulating data, but most likely viewing it only…if that!)
    – Open data that is transformed by industry seems like something a bit different…like it’s more about private/public partnerships or multi-sector government…which seems less organic to me.
    – Given these thoughts, I am seeing Open Government as the umbrella that encompasses all facets of an overarching paradigm shift, with Gov 2.0 (technology/open data) as a driver and enabler


  • #116255

    Patrick Stingley

    Andrew, you bring up some good points. I don’t think that Open Government or Gov 2.0 are primarily tied to technology. They can be done without technology. In regard to Open Government, the government’s been publishing its proceedings for hundreds of years. It used to do that primarily with books (which are technology, I will admit), but now it has added a new publishing medium, which is the computer. The publish and forget method of disseminating information is essentially unchanged, only the mechanisms are new.

    So far as Gov 2.0, the feedback loop where the customer also provides value and contributes it back to the government also can be done without any particular attachment to technology. Voting is one of the ways people contribute to the government and as I said, the watchdog groups have been sending value back to the government since long before the Internet was invented.

    Since both open government and Gov 2.0 are merely electronic incarnations of processes that pre-dated the Internet by centuries, I’m not sure it qualifies as a paradigm shift. Zeitgeist would be my word for it.

    All the best,

    Pat Stingley

  • #116253

    Bernhard Krabina

    I would vote for
    Government 2.0 describes a new form of government taking into consideration the technological, demographic, social and economic changes. (as described by Don Tapscott in http://21gov.net/ ).

    Open Government is a modern understanding of Public Governance including Open Data.

  • #116251

    Joseph Porcelli

    Steve, you are right on. What’s significant and sustainable is the new mind set and tools.

    The new tools allow us to connect, communicate, and collaborate without the constraints of time and geography. The new mindset is shifting government culture to support and facilitate innovation, efficiency, participation, transparency, and collaboration.

    A question for future consideration is how do we envision the future citizen engagement? Will it be merely participatory as in “do this” or will we begin to consider citizens as co-creators and co-organizers?

  • #116249

    Andrea Schneider

    I recently started a group on Gov Loop called Gov 2.0 ≠ Open Gov. It is closely related to this discussion Lucas has started.

    I am convinced we need to re-work some already existing systems using these “new” paradigms. The program I’m developing is an “Open Government Grant System”,, which would utilize all parts of the initiative from conception to implementation. When the template is tight enough, it could be easily replicated in state and local grant-making, as well as in philanthropy.

    It’s obvious there are a number of ways to see Open Gov and it’s relationship to Gov 2.0. My big picture involves re-designing current organizational systems to implement the principles of practice of the OGD.

    The goal is to take each part and weave a complete picture with each part interconnected to the other. Not doing the same thing, but working in harmony for common organizational and systems change. None of this re-design would effect the program focus of each grant initiative, but it would effect how the funded program is designed.

    While it will seem simple, the back end is complex and involves re-thinking how we conduct the entire grant-making process, once the allocation’s leaves Congress. Or, if it is already a running grant program, introducing new guidelines/expectations, which will increase results, reduce redundancy and waste of tax payer dollars.

    Using the myriad ways to involve technology and social media is only one of the challenges, however, when integrated into a system that makes sense, it will be utilized more because of its relationship to the entire project.

    I expect to have something ready for feedback quite soon. So far, I’ve been very encouraged by the key stakeholders I have spoken with. My obvious next step is a solid write-up and proposal. I’m thinking of a demonstration project with some teeth might be a good way to start, test, evolve in a responsible and ultimately sustainable way.

  • #116247

    Ari Herzog

    The fact each person can’t answer the question in 140 or less characters proves the difficulty of the terms.

  • #116245

    Lucas Cioffi

    The latest on defining OpenGov and Gov 2.0 from Alex Howard: http://gov20.govfresh.com/social-media-fastfwd-defining-gov-2-0-and-open-government-in-2011/

    It’s good to see the conversation continue. I also think that to nailing down these definitions would require a half dozen people taking all these articles and synthesizing them. Perhaps if designed well, an online collaboration like that could produce some great definitions and diagrams in about 1.5 or 2 hours.

    This definitely isn’t a top priority, but it would be worthwhile. If there’s anyone interested in designing a way for a significant number of members from the opengov community to nail down these definitions through synchronous online collaboration, please drop me a note and we can plan something.

  • #116243

    Lucas Cioffi

    Definitions: If Gov2.0 = “tech in gov”, then Gov2.0 = tech-related open gov programs + things like cloud computing, telecommuting, etc

    Note: I’m thinking social media is already included in open gov so it would not need to be listed separately. Or can there be use of social media that is not at least a bit transparent, participatory, or collaborative (at least one of the three)?

    Conclusion: By those definitions, open gov would be the majority of Gov2.0. And it indicates that there could be open gov programs that have nothing to do with tech and therefore have nothing to do with Gov2.0. I think that was the exact insight I was looking for. Am I off-base?

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.