When the Open Government Dialog began on May 21st, we were waiting to see what kind of discussion would be fostered by the brainstorming process. As it turned out, almost 2,500 ideas were submitted and hundreds of thousands of votes were cast. There is even a transparency map that visually portrays the interconnection and complexity of the ideas submitted, which was made by the OSTP team. OMB Watch has released an in-depth analysis of the ideas as well, based on the categories of openness highlighted in the 21st Century Right to Know report. The results of the brainstorm are relatively predictable; the open government community and the public both want accessible, usable government data and have submitted ideas for increasing citizen participation in government. Many of these ideas are overarching and theoretical, so now it’s time to get to the nitty gritty of real, actionable ideas and principles for opening the government.
The second phase of the Open Government Initiative will be a discussion around the ideas distilled from the brainstorm and comments from agencies and other groups. Moving away from one-way idea brainstorming (from the public and agencies and directed to the Open Government team) to a more two-way discussion is a key part to keeping this process collaborative and participatory as we “dig deeper” into the most promising and complex ideas; the first post up for discussion will be the principles for government transparency.
The discussion will include conversation with the Open Government team, a key component to actually starting a public dialog around this issue. An interactive discussion of ideas will build on the brainstorm ideas in a much more concrete and helpful way than simply voting on ideas submitted. Even the organizers of the brainstorm process said in their final analysis that they were not lending a great deal of weight to the vote counts. There’s already a healthy number of comments, given that it has been up only a few hours, so head over and join the discussion.