How can we strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness by making government more transparent, participatory, and collaborative?

June 26, 2009

The Open Government Dialogue is now closed. Because of your participation, this dialogue has generated a rich collection of ideas that will shape the President’s commitment to making our government more transparent, participatory, and collaborative.

This dialogue represented the first of a three-phase process that is soliciting public input in crafting recommendations on open government. Summaries of the brainstorming that has occurred here, and of subsequent phases in the process, can be found on the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Blog.

Visit the White House Open Government Initiative website for more information.

The National Academy of Public Administration

On January 21st, the President issued the Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government, calling for an unprecedented level of openness in government. In the memorandum, the President outlined three principles for promoting a transparent and open government: transparency, participation, and collaboration. Now, the President is calling on you to help shape how that commitment is fulfilled. This online brainstorming session, open from May 21st to 28th, 2009, will enable the White House to hear your most important ideas relating to open government.

This platform allows you to submit ideas, discuss and refine others' ideas, and vote the best ones to the top. We are seeking innovative approaches to policy, specific project suggestions, government-wide or agency-specific instructions, and any relevant examples and stories relating to law, policy, technology, culture, or practice. The National Academy of Public Administration, a Congressionally chartered, non-profit, non-partisan institution, is hosting this brainstorming session on behalf of the White House.

The most important themes and ideas to emerge will provide the basis for two more stages of interaction: A Discussion Phase, when we will deepen the conversation about compelling topics raised during the brainstorming, and a Drafting Phase, when we will ask you to use a wiki to draft language for recommendations collaboratively.

Some questions to consider in formulating ideas include:

  • How might the operations of government be made more transparent and accountable?
  • How might federal advisory committees, rulemaking or electronic rulemaking be better used to drive greater expertise into decisionmaking?
  • What alternative models exist to improve the quality of decisionmaking and increase opportunities for citizen participation?
  • What strategies might be employed to adopt greater use of Web 2.0 in agencies?
  • What policy impediments to innovation in government currently exist?
  • What is the best way to change the culture of government to embrace collaboration?
  • What changes in training or hiring of personnel would enhance innovation?
  • What performance measures are necessary to determine the effectiveness of open government policies?

Please note: On Saturday morning, we made a small change to this site. Posting, commenting and voting on ideas now requires users to log in. This change was made in response to concerns that settings that allowed anonymous posting may also have allowed users to vote more than once on the same idea. Our privacy and moderation policies can be accessed here.

Getting Started

Here is a discussion question to get you started:

While you're here:

  • Search for Ideas to make sure that your idea or area of interest hasn't already been covered.
  • Vote, Vote, Vote! Your votes are critical to ensuring that the best ideas "bubble up" to the top.
  • Add Your Idea by clicking on the "New Idea" button to the left.
  • Spread the Word! E-mail a link to this website to your network, and invite them to get involved.

New Strategies and Techniques

Depression, Bipolar Disorder, and other mental illnesses can be cured naturally

Dear Barack: I am a person that, by my own efforts, overcame bipolar disorder via natural means in the late 1990's. In doing so, I learned how to properly treat both depression and bipolar disorder in most persons that are so afflicted. (My knowedge in these two regards is "world leading", and it has been world leading for over nine years.) In 2004, I taught my (then thirteen year old) son Willy how to cure himself... more »

Voting

-20 votes
Active
(@nsha1973)

Uncategorized

Immigration

Review the current interview process for immigrants abroad. Currently the decision to grant or deny a visa rests solely with the immigration officer conducting the interview. The denial is often times based on opinion not fact. This leaves the applicant and the beneficiary very little options on how to defend the denial if they don't have a specific reason for the denial.

Voting

1 vote
Active

Do-It-Yourself Government

Hold Agencies Accountable for Implementing the Open Government Directive

Leadership and oversight at the highest levels of the federal government will be necessary for the Open Government Directive to succeed. The President’s Management Council, which is made up of the Deputy Secretaries of all major agencies, should oversee the implementation of the directive to ensure that the entire federal government is working together to manage the implementation of the directive. All agencies should... more »

Voting

292 votes
Active

Making Data More Accessible

Open source America's "operating system"

Carl Malamud has been working for years to make government publications accessible to everyone. (I don't know Carl personally in any way but his efforts at public.resource.org speak for themselves.) You need to hire Carl Malamud into the Government Printing Office so he can use the internal tools that already exist in government to keep our laws open and easily accessible.

Voting

47 votes
Active

Between Federal, State, and Local Governments

Encourage State and Local Governments to Become More Open and Inclusive

President Obama’s historic commitment to open government has inspired people across the country with a renewed belief that government can and should be transparent, participatory and collaborative. In Seattle, WA, the City Council has formed an Open Government Committee to explore and recommend ways to improve citizens’ access to public documents and seek more diverse community input on issues affecting the city in advance... more »

Voting

469 votes
Active

New Strategies and Techniques

4. Convene the American Public in National Discussions of One Million People or More on the Issues of Highest Public Concern

A healthy democracy needs the capacity to involve its citizens in key decisions. Government cannot be left to leaders, experts, and pundits with the public only weighing in on election day. People from all walks of life should be encouraged to wrestle with tough questions, seek common ground, and develop and articulate their views. President Obama should call for regular national discussions of one million Americans... more »

Voting

144 votes
Active

New Tools and Technologies

Social Media and the Government

In order to foster better dialogue between government agencies and the individuals they serve, encourage and foster the use of Social Media. Reduce the restrictions currently placed on government employees in accessing various social media sites, and allow departments and individuals to extend the voice of the government to the people through various new media outlets. For those agencies dealing with public health messaging... more »

Voting

14 votes
Active

Performance Appraisal

3. Create Incentives and a Recognition Program to Promote Participation, Collaboration and Transparency Among Federal Agencies

The Federal Government should celebrate those agencies and federal managers who demonstrate a strong commitment to open government and develop new innovations for working with the public. An annual award should honor excellence in open government. The award should contain criteria requiring broad-based collaboration and community involvement, innovation, and promotion of best practices that result in outcomes that advance... more »

Voting

135 votes
Active

Making Government Operations More Open

Florida's Open Government Model

Gov. Charlie Crist created the Office of Open Goverment on his first day as Gov. The Office’s primary functions are to assure full and expeditious compliance with Florida’s open government and public records laws, and to provide training to all executive agencies under the Gov.'s purview on transparency and accountability. Each agency was directed to designate a person at the agency who will act as the agency’s public... more »

Voting

1 vote
Active

Uncategorized

Establish the President’s Management Council as the key oversight structure for creating a more open government

Establish the President’s Management Council as the key oversight structure for creating a more open government. The President’s Management Council can effectively engage Deputy Secretaries of the cabinet-level departments and agencies, providing top-level management support for open government. As the key Executive Branch official, the Chief Performance Officer should take responsibility for directing the overall Open... more »

Voting

-6 votes
Active
(@ndickover)

Making Data More Accessible

Use CRADA agreements to allow Open Source Community to help make govt data transparent

The government allows "Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADA) to bring together government and public researchers to work on joint projects in which no money changes hands. CRADA agreements allow both parties to share in the resultant research. CRADA agreements should be used to allow developers in the open source community and elsewhere to come in and aid Federal Agencies in making their data transparent.... more »

Voting

16 votes
Active

New Tools and Technologies

Centralize petitions to Congress and the President

I worked as an intern in the House of Representatives and what astonished me the most was the outdated system we use for alerting representatives to the problems faced by the American people. Every day, each member of Congress receives hundreds of letters, some through e-mail, some handwritten, asking for a response to a very small number of issues. Most of these issues demand collaboration between many members of Congress.... more »

Voting

238 votes
Active

Training and Development

Establish a federal institute for public engagement

Establish a federal institute for public engagement, similar to the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution, to gather research on best practices, training and development; develop a knowledge-base; and institute the community of practice. This institute can track collaboration at every stage, including intergovernmental, cross-jurisdictional and within individual agencies.

Voting

33 votes
Active
(@shaaslyons)

Strategic Planning and Budgeting

Fully fund participation and collaboration activities

Agencies generally do not adequately plan for or budget to integrate public participation or collaborative processes into their programmatic work. To undertake small and large-scale public participation or collaborative efforts, agencies often have to re-program personnel and dollars or look to other program sources, effectively “robbing Peter to pay Paul.” Additionally, many public participation and collaborative efforts... more »

Voting

180 votes
Active

Hiring & Recruitment

2. Integrate Participation and Collaboration into All Major Systems of Federal Agencies

Creating a more open government will require most federal agencies to fundamentally shift how they interact with the public. Within 180 days, agencies should produce a plan to integrate public involvement and collaboration into all relevant systems, including: • Hiring, recruiting and promotion • Performance agreements and appraisal • Award and incentive systems • Rotations and special assignments • Program assessment... more »

Voting

141 votes
Active