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Champions of Participation: Full Report of Proceedings

Thirty-four managers from 23 different federal agencies and departments came together on March 30-31, 2009, to develop recommendations for President Obama’s Open Government Directive. Participants in the working session shared a deep commitment to empowering the public and transforming the relationship between the American people and their government. Together, they brought to the discussion a wealth of experience in public participation, collaborative problem solving and conflict resolution. This 51-page report (2009) compiles the ideas and recommendations generated during the event.

At the working meeting participants discussed their hopes and concerns for the President’s Open Government Directive and developed key indicators for evaluating the Directive’s progress. They identified opportunities that the Directive should leverage and barriers that it must address to be successful. Participants developed recommendations for creating a more open government, as well as identified structures through which the Directive should be implemented and pilot projects that may be launched. This report reflects the views of almost three-dozen federal managers as well as about 10 outside experts from the field of public engagement. Though there were many points of agreement, this document also reflects the rich range of different experiences and perspectives brought by participants.

“Champions of Participation” was convened by AmericaSpeaks, Demos, Everyday Democracy, and the Ash Institute of Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. The working session was made possible by a generous grant from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

Key recommendations and implementation strategies outlined in the report:

  1. Develop high-level, inter-agency governance structure for implementing the Open Government Directive
  2. Establish systems that will support government-wide adoption of participation and collaboration practices
  3. Demonstrate the value of public participation through highly visible Presidential initiatives
  4. Respond to the barrier that public and stakeholder participation are not valued inside agencies
  5. Ensure that participation and collaboration activities are adequately funded
  6. Address institutional barriers that reward the status quo
  7. Address existing rules and regulations that impede participation and collaboration

Resource Link: http://americaspeaks.org/wp-content/_data/n_0001/resources/live/Champions%20Report%20of%20Proceedings%20final.pdf

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