Obama Memorandum - Transparency and Open Government: Collaborate!

MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIESSUBJECT: Transparency and Open Government...Government should be collaborative.
Written by Oliver Marks, Contributor


SUBJECT: Transparency and Open Government

...Government should be collaborative. Collaboration actively engages Americans in the work of their Government. Executive departments and agencies should use innovative tools, methods, and systems to cooperate among themselves, across all levels of Government, and with nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individuals in the private sector. (My boldface) Executive departments and agencies should solicit public feedback to assess and improve their level of collaboration and to identify new opportunities for cooperation.

I direct the Chief Technology Officer, in coordination with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Administrator of General Services, to coordinate the development by appropriate executive departments and agencies, within 120 days, of recommendations for an Open Government Directive, to be issued by the Director of OMB, that instructs executive departments and agencies to take specific actions implementing the principles set forth in this memorandum. The independent agencies should comply with the Open Government Directive.

The above is taken from new US president Barack Obama's January 21 memorandum (pdf) for the heads of executive departments and agencies on Transparency and Open Government and lays out a clear vision for collaborative processes.

Remarkably similar to a directive from the C suite of a large company to explore the power of collaboration, the workforce realities are also very typical.

The gory technical IT details are being highlighted in the mainstream media as the new team get their knees under the desk.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation covers Obama's memorandum and other aspects of the new open government policies which are in sharp contrast to the secrecy of the previous administration.

Politico's most read story today asks 'what's in the files?'

Since Tuesday, Obama has all the same files, and all the same access to the nation’s top secrets, that Bush and Cheney ever did..

It will be interesting to see whether previously privileged sensitive information will influence the open government directives over time.

the legal and technical reality on the ground today is pretty dismal as I wrote earlier in the week and the new US CTO and legal team will have a tough time enabling the innovation urgently needed. The above mem is certainly steps in the right direction however.

What a terrific opportunity for a formerly moribund bureaucracy to lead the way in demonstrating openness and efficiency though!

The US Government - the biggest behemoth of them all - transformed into sleek interconnected and efficient teams, collaborating at all levels.

It would be great to see silicon valley companies like Cisco step up and contribute their collaboration and communication expertise and technology to enable this transformation. What a wonderful potential shop window for world leading US technology in action!

Perhaps a portion of their huge marketing campaign selling their flavor of collaboration could be redirected to help the political infrastructure that enabled them exist?

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