Monday, April 19, 2010

OpenGovRadio 4/20/10: Beth Noveck Takes Your OpenGov Questions

Here's what we'll discuss on this weeks's OpenGovRadio show (Tues., April 20th, 2:00 pm ET):

"Beth Noveck Takes Your OpenGov Questions"

Joining me, your host Stephen Buckley, will be Beth Noveck,  the White House's Deputy Chief Technology Officer.  Ms. Noveck's primary responsbility has been President Obama's Open Government Initiative. 

(From Wikipedia:)  Based at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, she is an expert on technology and institutional innovation. Previously, Noveck directed the Institute for Information Law & Policy and the Democracy Design Workshop at New York Law School where she is on-leave as a professor. She is founder of the "Do Tank," and the State of Play Conferences, and launched the first of its kind Peer-to-Patent community patent review project in collaboration with the United States Patent and Trade Office. She has taught in the areas of intellectual property, innovation, and constitutional law, as well as courses on electronic democracy and electronic government. She is the author of the book Wiki Government, about how technology can make government better, democracy stronger, and citizens more powerful.

The Open Government Initiative began on President Obama's first full day in office when he signed the Presidential Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government, followed last December with issuance of the Open Government Directive to federal agencies and, on April 7th, the release of Open Government Plans by every federal agency on how they plan to be more "transparent, participatory, and collaborative."

After some discussion about Ms. Noveck's perspective on the progress made thus far, we will turn to take your questions and comments, especially from those people in the federal agencies who are responsible for implementing their agency's "OpenGov" Plan. 

OpenGovRadio's host Stephen Buckley invites you to listen on your computer and, if you wish, add to the discussion with your comments and questions.  However, because the listeners' response to this topic may be greater than usual, there are three options to participate:

A.  Post it, now, as a "Comment" at the end of this posting (scroll down to "green box").  It must be concise, and focused on the Open Government Initiative (or else it will not appear).  Commentors do not need to identify themselves.  They may also choose to ...

B.  Email a comment/question confidentially to your host Stephen Buckley, who fully understands the risk of raising unwelcome questions within the government.  Mr. Buckley can ask the question for you, but if you want to "call in", then he needs your phone number in order to see your incoming call.

C.  Call-in "live" to (917) 388-4210 with your comment/question.  However, first preference will be given to callers who have already provided their question/comment, AND who haved provided a phone number with which to identify their incoming call.

Links for following the discussion:

1.  Listing of Federal Agencies' OpenGov Plans (then click on an agency's name)

2.  GovLoop's Chart of the OpenGov Plans

3.  "What Government Plans Are Missing" by Andrea Di Maio, The Gartner Group (4/1/10)

4.  How We Will Measure the Success of Open Government at HHS

5.  " and [their] partners will be using [the Open Government Directive] to evaluate the Open Government Plans, and grade them on whether they live up to both the letter, and the spirit, of the [OGD] requirements."

6.  A Test of Leadership by Brian Friel (Government Executive magazine, 3/17/10)

7.  Transparent Leadership by Roger Schwarz (Government Executive magazine, 4/7/10)
Excerpt: "When you are transparent, you create better results and relationships because others understand your thinking. People always are trying to find the meaning of actions, especially leaders' behaviors. When you fail to be transparent, you increase the chance that others will come up with their own theories about your intentions and motives - theories that often will differ from yours.

8. compendium of the previos week's OpenGov links (w/ survey question at bottom)

9. is a consists of user-generated information about participatory methods and organizations (e.g., NCDD, IAP2, etc.) throughout the world.

10. -- April 17th & 18th (Sat./Sun.) in D.C.

11.  Open Government Directive Workshop (#4 in Series) -- Wednesday, April 28th in D.C. (@USDA)

12.  President's Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government (1/21/09)

13.  White House's Open Government Directive (12/8/09)

14. is a group that is promoting civil discourse for an "Age of Participation".

15.  Open Government Directive google-group is an "opt-in/opt-out" moderated email-group (137 members) about OGD news & discussion.

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Tim Bonnemann said...

Would be nice to learn more about the general Open Government roadmap (six months, one year, two years out). What do they plan to do next now that another important milestone has been reached?

Sandy Heierbacher said...

Beth - you have been involved in the public engagement field for many years and you now have an insider's view on what's happening in federal government. What do you think the public engagement/public participation field should be doing that it's not (or doing more of) to benefit from and contribute to this new era of open government? I'd love to hear your opinion on this!

Sandy Heierbacher
Director, National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD)

julianna padgett said...

it's a big step to create federal open government. is there any discussion to require states or organizations which receive federal dollars to involve the public in developing proposals and transparency in how those federal dollars are spent? ie any impact on state and local government?

Stephen Buckley said...

I picked up this open question from Lucas Cioffi (he is primary organizer of the Open Government Directive Workshop series; next one is April 28th in D.C. at USDA.)

He points to a book: "Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead" by Charlene Li

Excerpt: "Leaders who are unable to let go in this new world of social media will eventually find themselves at the head of a sorry band of unimaginative time-servers."

On GovLoop, Lucas asks: "How do we implement Open Leadership?"

P.S. Lucas is GovLoop "Member of the Week" (among 30,000 members).

John Spady said...

Ms. Noveck - thank you for being present with us today.

1) What is your opinion of the current state of the physical processes and technology available today to engage ALL Americans who wish to participate in a face-to-face and/or online dialogue about critical national issues? Can we literally engage millions of people in the process even if we wanted to? We do this for voting... but how about at an earlier stage for decentralized national engagement?

2) I appreciate how busy you all are... but has this administration given serious thought to the creation of even a nascent national dialogue infrastructure being established during the President's first term? or (hopefully) in his second?

John Spady
Countywide Community Forums of King County
(in Washington State)

Anonymous said...

Beth: To quote William Eggers, "The budget is a tangible demonstration of government's intentions and priorities--it's where policy is made and tax dollars are divvied up." From this premise, to move the Open Government Initiative forward as a legitimate Presidential priority, would you recommend President Obama to include in the next federal 2012 OMB budget substantial federal dollars for each agency to execute open government public services? If not, what do you see as the barriers?
Respectfully, Alex Moll
Facilitator, Open Gov Directive Workshop Series
Ph. 202.667.4077 (dial in #)

Unknown said...

What role does public meetings on video and online play in the OGI?

Anonymous said...


Great that you'll be live on OpenGov Radio. Would love to get your latest thinking on the challenge of culture change among the Federal Agencies, as they begin to grapple w/ the new dynamics of public participation. As background framing, here's a link to my recent post on this, where I cited you (WikiGovernment) and Eggers/O'Leary (Man on the Moon)

Topics I'm tracking: leadership and the challenge of 'old habits die hard'.

As always, looking forward -

Chris Jones
Consulting Principal w/ SourcePOV
Cary, NC

Pete Peterson said...

A July 2009 article in the American Prospect described the White House Office of Public Engagement this way: "OPE is the prototypical example of the White House’s expectations strategy: The name switch earned the administration symbolic credit for making change but brings no specific new inclusiveness with it. Indeed, progressive groups seem to interpret "engagement" as simply the chance to gain an audience with the president’s team."

Question: Was it appropriate to utilize the accepted term "public engagement" for an office that only seeks opinions from one side of the political spectrum?

Anonymous said...

What steps will the Administration take to "institutionalize" this initiative. By "institutionalize" we mean what steps will be taken to make components of open government documented and funded/resourced operating procedures of the agencies. A cynic may possibly point to similar efforts under the National Performance Review of the Clinton Administration and suggest they they did not get fully accomplished because they were just good ideas championed by people that did not stick around and who did not understand what it took to leave a legacy that would last beyond the next party of well meaning people with good ideas.

Anonymous said...

OMB is analyzing individual Open Government plans and will be issuing an analysis on whether the Agencies have complied with the requirements for the plans laid out in the directive (due to Agencies May 1).

Could you speak to what you have seen so far? And OMB’s approach?

How specific will the guidance be? How long will Agencies be given to respond and provide updates?

Matt Leighninger said...

Within the White House, what is the relationship between the Office of Public Engagement (arranges "town hall meetings", etc. for the President) and the other offices (like OSTP, OMB) responsible for improving "public engagement" under the Open Government Initiative?

Can you give an example of how your office advises them (or vice-versa)?

Matt Leighninger, Director
Deliberative Democracy Consortium

John Kamensky said...

From John Kamensky (whose computer is "down"; transcribed by Stephen Buckley):

What role, if any, is (or will) the Open Government Initiative play in national discussions on issues such as economic reform and the national deficit?