Was the Open Government Memorandum Needed?

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Steve Ressler 5 years, 10 months ago.

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  • #152657

    Patrick Fiorenza
    Participant

    Wanted to get a pulse on what people thought about the impact of the Open Government Memorandum by President Obama.

    I think a lot of the initiatives that came out of the Executive Order likely would have happen with or without the memorandum. Do you agree? I see this especially in terms of social media – look at the trends for social media usage, government would have gotten on board with or without the executive order (in my opinion). I think the more interesting topics would be along lines of data, transparency and open data – I wonder what the impact would have been.

    So in the end, did the order give everyone an extra push? Absolutely. Did it sent a precedent and an overall theme for the administration? Of course. But it is interesting to ponder – what would have happen if no executive order was ever made? How would have agencies adapted without the order?

    Part of the Executive Order was absolutely a political move on Obama’s part – he can point to certain initiatives that came out his leadership and the direction set by the Executive Order. It’s a smart play. Even though he has some critics on how transparent, open and collaborative he has actually been – he can easily argue how difficult it is change a culture and no other President has been as aggressive in his transparency efforts.

    So my question is – what do you think would have happen without the Executive Order? Do you think we still would have seen government trying to become more participatory, transparent and collaborative?

    Thanks for your insights.

  • #152667

    Steve Ressler
    Keymaster

    I think you can look at other countries like Canada to see what might have happened if there was no Executive Order. In Canada, change has still occurred over time but perhaps took a little longer. But at same time, Canada is starting to get more attention at top levels on these issues now so maybe slow & steady win the race

  • #152665

    Scott Primeau
    Participant

    One of the more noticeable impacts is the trickle-down to the local level. The federal open government memorandum has served as a model for city and county governments to develop their own initiatives. Specifically, the federal memorandum was the basis for creating the Model Local Open Government Directive, http://opengovernmentinitiative.org/, which any city, county, or other jurisdiction could adapt to meet the jurisdiction’s needs.

    The model directive helped support efforts in Cook County, IL, San Francisco, and Raleigh, NC.

    Also, Austin, TX recently passed an open government resolution.

    Would these efforts have happened without the federal memorandum? Maybe. But, there does seem to be some correlation between the federal effort and these local efforts.

    While the question is thought-provoking, I think looking at what is happening is still more interesting.

  • #152663

    Patrick Fiorenza
    Participant

    Hey Scott – the trickle-down effect is a great point, for sure one of the benefits. Still feel like there is something to understanding what was driving the innovation – guess I can re-frame my question to more like “what’s driving federal/local gov to gov 2.0 technology,” the memorandum would be one small component. Thanks for the comment.

  • #152661

    Noel Dickover
    Participant

    I think the memorandum the President released the day after he got in office was a seminal event for the open government community in DC. This definitely kicked the train into high gear in way that had ripple effects both at the local level around the country and internationally. The memo was an organizing event that Sunlight pointed to in holding their first TransparencyCamp, as well for the various open government conferences later in the year. Without this, there wouldn’t have been nearly the excitement or interest early on in this process. That said, I think the later Open Government Directive probably missed the mark of what was needed. Most seem to have taken this as “yet another unfunded OMB mandate” type thing that will pass as soon as the administration does.

  • #152659

    Daniel Bevarly
    Participant

    Rather than measuring the impact of the OG memo content, is deciphering the message and fact that the two key positions (WH CTO and CIO) to help fulfill this initiative still remain vacant.

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