What makes a good open government plan? Specifics. As I noted in a guest blog post at GovFresh, many open government plans are short on details outside the sections dealing with their flagship initiatives - those projects slated to be started immediately. Missing from many plans are, well, plans - what agencies will be doing over the next year, the next five years, or ten years to follow through on promises to become more open. There are aspirational promises of openness, but hoping and wishing will not make it so. Agencies need to have a well-developed plan for how they will increase transparency, participation, and collaboration in the next few years in order to enable their success and the success of the White House Open Government Initiative.
While most Open Government Plans lacked the specifics that allow implementation, some plans were exceptional both in content and detail. For example, after reading the NASA plan, I was excited and energized by the level of care that had been put into each section, and felt that NASA had the tools to implement their plan. Instead of promising to “explore” using social media or the ways that people could participate, NASA outlined the structure and operations planned for their Participatory Exploration Office, intended to make NASA missions more participatory and collaborative. Granted, this office dates back to the 2008 NASA Reauthorization Act, but it is still an ambitious and well-developed plan for engaging the public in NASA’s mission and includes new projects.
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