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Obama turning to the crowd for ideas

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Obama turning to the crowd for ideas

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Attempting to craft an open administration has been one of the hallmarks of the Obama government.  Beth Noveck and her team made great strides in bringing the citizen into the administrative process.

The White House announced this week the second phase of their plan on open government, and true to form are asking citizens directly for help with the task.

The first phase of the plan was launched in September 2011, outlining 26 steps to increase transparency and public participation in government.

The second phase however will require more ambitious solutions, and as such, the administration are turning to the public for ideas.

“We are proud of this progress, but recognize that there is always more we can do to build a more efficient, effective and accountable government,” Deputy Chief Technology Officer Nick Sinai wrote in a White House blog post on Tuesday.

The government were pleased with progress on the initial plan, with a review conducted in March revealing that 24 of the original 26 commitments had been fulfilled.  This initial success has been a key driver behind the plan to involve the public even more in the next stage.

Some of the highlights from those fulfilled commitments are the “We the People” petition platform, which has exceeded more than 10 million users; joining the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, which ensures accountability for taxpayer dollars due for natural resource extraction; and releasing government data resources through the administration’s open data initiatives.

“Together, we will work to continue to empower public participation in policy dialogues, release information that spurs innovation and helps citizens hold government accountable, and make government more efficient and responsive,” wrote U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park and Chief Counselor for the Open Government Partnership Lisa Ellman in the March 2013 update. “This is, as the president has said, ‘the essence of democracy,’ and the cause that we recommit ourselves to today.”

The administration’s proposition asks citizens to weigh in on how to encourage public participation in government, how the government can better manage public resources and how the government can more effectively collaborate with the public to improve services.

To give input on the questions, send thoughts to opengov@ostp.gov by the 23rd September.

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