In a post on the White House blog today, Aneesh Chopra, Federal Chief Technology Officer and the Associate Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, follows up on some of the questions that went unanswered during the FAQ on Tuesday: Answering Your Questions on the Open Government Directive
Russ Gaskin of Washington, DC commented: [W]ould like an example of what citizen participation might look like under this directive.
Russ, I expect citizen participation initiatives to build on the outburst of creativity and experimentation we’ve seen in this space in the first 10 months of this Administration.
For example, Open for Questions gave Americans across the nation a direct line to the Administration to ask exactly what they wanted to know about the Administration’s efforts to get the economy back on track. Openinternet.gov enriched the official record on net neutrality with more than 22,000 comments. Across the country and online, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has been seeking the best ideas for the next generation of school reform through his Listening and Learning Tour. A Health IT Online Forum is currently drawing on the expertise of stakeholders on the front lines of healthcare delivery to uncover new strategies to accelerate the adoption of Health IT. And, just yesterday, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy launched the Public Access Policy Forum to better understand how the Executive Branch might best enhance public access to peer reviewed papers arising from all federal science and technology agencies.
Of course, I would be remiss not to mention the unprecedented three-phase public consultation process (brainstorming, discussion, drafting) that shaped the Open Government Directive itself. You can learn more about the Open Government Initiative public consultation process and other innovations in participatory decision making in the Open Government Progress Report to the American People and in the White House Open Government Innovations Gallery.
At the same time, I hope that all of you will engage in the agency public consultation processes that will shape their Open Government plans. I know that Washington does not have a monopoly on the best ideas and want your ideas for how we can make participation opportunities more meaningful for citizens.
Earlier this year, a number of organizations in the participation field collaborated on several occasions to provide the White House with detailed input on exactly this question — how to make participation meaningful. The following two efforts were probably the most notable:
- The Public Engagement Principles (PEP) Project was launched in mid-February 2009 to create clarity in our field about what we consider to be the fundamental components of quality public engagement, and to support Barack Obama’s January 21st memorandum on transparency and open government. The following principles were developed collaboratively by members and leaders of NCDD, IAP2 (the International Association of Public Participation), the Co-Intelligence Institute, and many others. — PEP website, PDF download (1.6MB)
- Strengthening our Nations Democracy II. On August 2-4, 2009, “experts and advocates for strengthening our nation’s democracy” came together to create new momentum and plans for bringing together the emerging democracy reform movement behind a common set of priorities. At the second Strengthening Our Nation’s Democracy conference, participants shared what they have been learning from their work across the country, and rolled up their sleeves to create collective recommendations and action steps. — PDF download (1.1MB)
Unlike the eight Open Government Data Principles, a set of guidelines developed two years ago by the Open Government Working Group (see meeting notes) which are reflected in the Open Government Directive almost verbatim, the above mentioned recommendations on participation were not explicitly included in the Directive. It remains to be seen to what degree they’ll be found in the Open Government Plans that are now being crafted at the agency level.