It’s been over a year, and, the evolution of Open Government is in full swing, including the definition of what Open Government is. We all pretty much agree that that OG is about transparency, participation and collaboration, but, what seems to be missing is context. Transparent to who? Participate in what? Collaborate to solve? So far, most of the efforts of the OG community have been focused on raw data sets and dashboards to answer for transparency, feedback collection sites to cover participation and various forms of social media to foster collaboration. Not a bad start, so long as we don’t allow the OG community to claim victory and quit looking for more creative innovations (or definitions of what OG could/should be).
To this point, I’d like to present a very different perspective on participation. As mentioned, generally, when participation is discussed with regards to OG, people are thinking about ways to gather feedback from or start a dialog with the public (or some subset of), typically focused on some government initiative or policy decision. Of course, this is generally a good thing, but, isn’t this an obvious use case for open government? So, let’s think outside the box for a minute and consider a whole different perspective, namely, finding ways to engage people directly with the mission of a particular agency. Still participation, right? Would this still be Open Government at work as well? I believe the answer is yes.