What Would You Ask The Open Government Genie For? Win a Free Tix & Travel to OpenGovWest

Poof! It’s your lucky day you just rubbed some random object in your office and out popped a genie that will grant you one wish for Open Government. What are you wishing for?

– An awesome data site?

– A world class developer?

– An agency that really gets the Open Gov concept?

You can ask for anything your heart desires but ONLY ONE THING!

GovLoop staff will look back at the answers on Monday morning and whoever has the best one we’ll grant you a wish… well actually we’ll just give you tickets to Open Gov West 2011 which is on May 13 and 14th.

We have 3 tickets to give away plus one awesome $250 travel grant.

We realize that not everybody can go to that on late notice so preference will go to West Coasters BUT awesome answers from people who can’t make the conference might pick up some GovLoop swag.

Here’s some info about Open Gov West:

Open Gov West is a two day conference at the intersection of technology, civic engagement, and open government. From across North America, governments, nonprofits, technology companies, and civic organizations converge to hear from leaders who have launched innovative, cost-effective projects. Speakers like Tiago Piexoto, of World Bank, delve into emerging opportunities like participatory budgeting and innovative open government projects, some coming from small towns like Langley, Washington (using a Word Press site to build budget transparency) and Albany, Oregon (who has implemented award-winning technology), serve as valuable case studies for conference participants. OGW is unique because of the number, and quality, of speakers at the conference. Over 60 speakers on day 1, with many of them hosting discussions and training sessions on OGW’s day two. As an OGW participant, you have the opportunity to present on issues your government is wrestling with—and get valuable, free feedback from the experts who attend Open Gov West. Hosted in Portland, Oregon, on May 13th and 14th, at the Jupiter Hotel, OGW is the open government conference to gain valuable insight, develop new partnerships, and leverage other government’s lessons to open and modernize your government.

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Kathleen Ely

I would wish that my office would stop printing hard copies of the Administrative Rules of Montana. We already offer them online, in .pdf format as well as in a powerful database. This would encourage people to use the interactive database more, which would promote engagement and compliance. Ultimately those two things would contribute to a more open government.

Martha Garvey

Okay, while there are lots of things I would like the Open Gov genie to do, this is my obsession:

Open Gov genie, please figure out how to make animal shelters interoperable across regions. Some of this solution would be digital–basically, making Petfinder into a .gov that is wired to share amongst groups and agencies at a very fast level.

And some of this would be deeply human–changing laws and opening up communications.

And the bottom line would be that this sharing, both digital and human, would enable rich shelters to help less rich shelters, and more easily transport animals to another shelter. Fewer homeless pets, fewer sad stories.

Rex Castle

I would wish for the ability to access information quickly and easily from San Jose to Caribou and Roseau to Aransas Pass in a uniformed (and mashable) format.

Candace Riddle

Dear Gov Genie (I can’t make the conference), but how about an app that allows for quick, cross agency, or cross-state data mining of contracts? It would help to reduce fraud, improper payments, and yes may even increase revenue. Let’s look at an example of how it has been used in the past:

For example, one Midwest grocery chain used the data mining capacity of Oracle software to analyze local buying patterns. They discovered that when men bought diapers on Thursdays and Saturdays, they also tended to buy beer. Further analysis showed that these shoppers typically did their weekly grocery shopping on Saturdays. On Thursdays, however, they only bought a few items. The retailer concluded that they purchased the beer to have it available for the upcoming weekend. The grocery chain could use this newly discovered information in various ways to increase revenue. For example, they could move the beer display closer to the diaper display. And, they could make sure beer and diapers were sold at full price on Thursdays.

Now imagine if you had the power of all of that data in the palm of your hand. Would that not make the decision to award or not to award a contract a lot easier? We shouldn’t have to go to a million different websites to figure out if a vendor is debarred, or if the possibility to cooperate on a contract exists.

Michael Reid

Peace, Love and Understanding (hey, whats so funny? – it’s my wish).

Peace and Love don’t need any explanation – so I’ll expand on understanding.

Understand that there are many fine people in the .gov who want to make OpenGov work. However, we ALL have some “resource” issues – people, $$$, etc. so it’s going to take some time to get where we want to go.

I’m all for doing more with less; but it’s a fine line between: Doing More With Less and Doing Everything with Nothing (I heard that somewhere, but not sure where/who/what but it stuck in my head).

So have some understanding, and some patience and believe we will all be a little better off than we were before.

Anne Sherwood

Not sure if we qualify or not, but we’d still like to share our wish for open government!

The National Institute on Money in State Politics would love to see more governments working together with outside institutions to solve problems. Specifically, open the window to state-level campaign finance data so citizens can see who is getting access to decision-makers and deter corruption. The ultimate goal, and the one wish we have, is that states implement best practices for state campaign finance disclosure. Meaning their data is made public, it is complete, it is timely, it is accurate, and it is searchable.

This way, it is easier for citizens to follow the money in their state governments.

Tony Edwards

1. My first wish is an either/or, either reintroduce thumb drive useage or develop a Common Access Card (CAC Badge) with memory storage capabilities.

2. Allow for more cross agency colaboration and problem solving sharing.

3. Do away with NMCI, of course doing that may eliminate the need for the two previous wishes.

Terri Jones

I like the Peace, Love and Understanding wish but I guess my wish is that people would commit to the goal. I think the collective wisdom of the world’s public servants can figure out what we need to do, we just need people to truly be committed to Open Government.

John Conatore

Information sharing between States and the Federal Government that works and is readily accessible to those that need it.

Mark Dwyer

To get my grant funds on time — at the beginning of our program year, and not six or seven months into the PY. In other words, please: no Continuing Resolutions; decide on funding levels on time!

Gary Pollack

[quick disclaimer: I’m not eligible for this contest because I am employed by Knowledge As Power, the organization behind Open Gov West – definitely come find me if you are attending, and thanks for all of these great entries! Keep ’em coming!]

I’d like a lot of open gov-related things to magically appear, and sometimes they do – like http://wiki.civiccommons.org – but what I’d really like is for my MPA program to create/partner with ongoing workshops for faculty and students to understand and engage in the potential of the Internet (FB/Tw, GovLoop, SlideShare, blogging, etc.). I’ve already seen how great a simple discussion about social media can be within the City of Seattle, it’s time for educators to jump in, too.

Kendra Lebel

I would like for the genie to make a health records database appear that would serve military members.

This database would combine health records for military members, and combine database records from a military person’s record while they were fighting in theater, from records that where this person was treated at a military hospital/facility, behavioral health (mental health) clinic, etc, and then have the ability to transfer all that data when the military person transfers to their next duty location. In addition, it would be most helpful if this was integrated into an electronic provider interface that would make it easy for providers (of all kinds) to see the overall health record for their patient.

Sounds simple… but it’s not. There are numerous legacy databases in the military networks that do not talk with one another. For example, the behavioral health data is not necessarily included with the medical records. Makes it hard for a doctor to get a good overview of how the military member is doing when records are in multiple systems.