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More Great Posts by NCDDers on Open Gov't Dialogue

More great posts by NCDDers!  If you like these ideas, please support them by voting for them on the Open Government Dialogue site

John Spady of the Forum Foundation has a post up on the Open Government Dialogue site titled “A Citizen Councilor Network: scaleable, manageable, measurable” at http://opengov.ideascale.com/akira/dtd/2895-4049.

John Kelly has also added a post titled “Evoke the Wisdom of Crowds by Co-Creating Compelling Alternative Visions of the Future” at http://opengov.ideascale.com/akira/dtd/3279-4049.

Also, Stephen Buckley added four posts; I’ll list them with the short descriptions he shared with the NCDD network below…

1. “MyGov.gov” –> Customized to What Affects YOU – http://opengov.ideascale.com/akira/dtd/2929-40492

The government should be trying to engage YOU (not vice-versa). For example, an email-notice can reach out and engage you, but an obscure website does not. “MyGov.gov” would let you fill out a profile, so that you will get email-notices ONLY about those things that affect YOU. (This is how USAjobs.gov already works.)

2. Make It Safe for Govt. Workers to Innovate to Save Money – http://opengov.ideascale.com/akira/dtd/2481-40493

I’m a former federal employee who worked at five different agencies, and I know from experience that the only way for to make it safe for government workers to talk about saving money with innovative ideas (or simply pointing out waste) is to have an online system that allows them to raise the idea BUT hides their true identity. (FYI: The existing Inspector-General system does NOT do this.)

3. Give Citizens a Simple Checklist for Rating “Public Engagement” – http://opengov.ideascale.com/akira/dtd/2789-40494

Citizens should have a simple checklist that they can take when they attend a public meeting so that they can rate how “open” the meeting was (i.e., with respect to Transparency, Participation, and Collaboration).  This simple checklist could be the standard tool for citizens to provide feedback to government agencies about the quality of their public engagement activities. In fact, the requirement for federal department and agencies to “solicit public feedback” about their public engagement is mentioned three (3) times in President Obama’s Memorandum on Transparent and Open Government. (BTW: The League of Women Voters has something similar to this.)

4. Let’s Be Clear on the Terminology about “Public Engagement” – http://opengov.ideascale.com/akira/dtd/2693-4049

We need to better define the terms that we are using in order to have a better discussion about how we achieve Open Government. For example: If a “town-hall meeting” can be a political speech followed by couple questions, then does that qualify as “public engagement” (or is it just a photo-op)? If we all have different ideas about what is (and is not) “public engagement” or “transparency” or (insert buzzword here), then we will have a very hard time reaching consensus about how to go forward. (This, of course, is one lesson from “The Tower of Babel”).

Stephen also mentioned this for those who might be interested…

PHASE TWO: On June 3rd, the White House will begin Phase Two of the “Open Government Iniatitive” in which there will be an online discussion to “dig deeper on the ideas and challenges identified during the Brainstorm phase.” However, there is an ongoing (unofficial) discussion about the “Open Government Directive” that anyone can join by going to http://groups.google.com/group/opengovernmentdirective.

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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