Government 2.0 Club is an informal organization focused on convening the tribe of technologists and thinkers focused on applying social technologies to the governments worldwide.
Getting Around Closed Local Gov.
January 25, 2010 at 4:59 pm #90054
Our company has a product that allows local governments to capture and archive their public meeting video. HOWEVER, in the process of reaching out to various townships (etc), not everyone wants to be transparent and open. Some are closed off to the idea.
How do you suggest changing the way local governments think about open government (and in general, public involvement)?
January 25, 2010 at 5:08 pm #90066
First – It’s always the What’s in it For Me?
Second – I think it takes time..Open gov’t is a movement that we all need to push and will take years not months
Three – They have to see the citizen demand…
January 25, 2010 at 5:12 pm #90064
Is it that they are closed off to filming the public meeting? Is it that they are closed off from making the video available on the internet? Is it that they are closed off from using your specific product offering? I guess I’m wondering what happens that makes you reach the conclusion that they don’t want to be transparent and open?
January 25, 2010 at 5:20 pm #90062
One specific example is when someone from our company spoke briefly with a secretary at a township who pretty much said that they (the commissioners) didn’t want to have a trail of information that could come back to bite them.
It seems that some places just want to be as closed to the public as possible. Some places are open to the idea of video-capturing their meetings, but others are seem set against the concept behind it.
January 25, 2010 at 5:25 pm #90060
I guess its going to be tricky to convince politicians that a more open government can still have benefits for themselves as well… they can know what their constituents are thinking, can show that they are actively working for the people, and what progress they are making.
February 4, 2010 at 7:52 pm #90058
Another possibility is that they are afraid of change, losing control and technology. And when you put the three together, watch out because road blocks go up. I’m not certain if this is the same where you are operating but in the area that I live many of the Councilors/Board Members/Commissioners are retired, do not use technology much and are used to micro-managing in order to maintain control. When we open government up and put it on the web some view it as a loss of control within a medium that they don’t understand or utilize.
One way that I have seen to overcome these issues is by having a senior manager(s) who can be champion for this change. This person has to be someone that both the Councilors and staff respect.
Where I work we initially faced a great reluctance to going digital (e.g., online agendas) and providing more information on our website (we’re still working on Social Media, haven’t won that battle yet). However, our Head Administrator and another Sr. Manager have acted as a champions for change for our web projects. Over time with the reminders that local government must be both transparent and responsible and that many other local governments that they respect are utilizing similar technology, many that were skeptics have changed their tune. It just takes time and quiet perseverance.
Our next steps are to work on utilizing social media for citizen engagement. Now that we have had some wins with our Councilors or next challenge is to convince our in-house IT person and IT Security contractor that what we want to do poses little risk to our organization’s IT infrastructure. Does anyone have any ideas on this?
February 4, 2010 at 8:25 pm #90056
Thanks for the response. How did those senior managers who were champions for change take charge? What motivated them to do so?
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