Open Government: “Making it Real” Panel

whitehouse_open_b_591The Open Government Directive has been “wildly successful,” according to GSA’s David McClure said.While the open government plans have opened floodgates across agencies to allow Americans to participate in democracy and give feedback, “we are talking steps down a longer road,” he continued. It is the process of restoring trust between the American people and government.

Macon Phillips, the special assistant to the president and director of new media at the White House, and Vivek Kundra, the federal CIO, along with McClure, the associate administrator in the Office of Citizen Services of GSA, answered questions on the progress of open government during a panel at yesterday’s Government Web and New Media Conference.

Kundra said he believes there has been a massive input as to what should be in agency’s plans, both in terms of involvement with the agencies themselves and with the American people. He said: “Open government is not just an abstract notion. It leads to better performance of the public sector, innovation, and allows American people to be active, not passive.”

Phillips said he hopes agencies will recognize the potential of open government, and put the progress in context.

“Let your desire keep moving this forward. It needs a continued investment,” he said.

Overtime, open government and new media will not be that separate, new thing to add to the mix; these tools are everywhere. Phillips urged the government audience to not look at open government as a list of to-do’s, but rather figure out how to be open in the daily work atmosphere.

The panel was asked how open government is expected to help deliver better service. Kundra said open government is going to fundamentally change the way the government delivers solutions by engaging third parties. Now, the U.S. government can “engage people to solve some of the toughest problems this country faces,” Kundra said. One example of this in action is with the healthy kids challenge.

“Your jobs are going to be more important than ever, we are trying to drive away from investment in infrastructure. The ultimate outcome is the shift to capital so that you are spending it to improve the way the American people interact with government,” Kundra said.

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