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Team 3: Feb 17th Workshop

Page history last edited by Lucas Cioffi 11 years, 8 months ago

Final results of the Feb 17th workshop are here: Final Results of the February Open Government Directive Workshop.doc


This is the collaboration page for Team 3 during the February Open Government Directive Workshop.  The team leader is Chris Jones, and a list of team members is here.  Each team will be drafting bullet points that can be dropped into actual agency open government plans.



[Chris 2/17 11:45pm]  We shared individual member perspectives for our vision for success and some key challenges in Open Government, then formed 3 teams to attack our issues.


Leadership & Culture - Jenn (fac.), Maxine (scr.), Joe, DeAnne, Martha.

Transparency - Robert (fac./scr.), Chris.

Participation & Collaboration - Bill (fac), Margaret (scr.), Rachel, Rahul, Tim.



[Chris 2/17 10:00am]  Among our members, we are pulling from experiences from these following Agencies; while this is not 100% coverage, we think our diverse views provided a comprehensive view.


EPA, DOT, DOI, GSA, TSA, HUD, DOD, State, Treasury, USAID, and State Governments



[Chris 2/15 11:30am]  Team-3 top-level framing.


"Provide input to agency OGD Plans that will lead to sustainable Open Government, creating solution language in the context of specific recommendations. While we've given thought to broad agency applicability, our input must be adapted and aligned with strategy and mission of each agency. This will ensure results drive value for external agency customers, internal employees, and stakeholders in general."



[TEAM3 2/17 1:00p]  Idea brainstorm: here are the primary topics we identified via group brainstorm to drive our recommendations, based on group sense of concerns and areas for focus.


Avoid compliance mentality; how we frame reporting & dashboards is key.

Incentives (address risk, reward).

Address hierarchy as a barrier; how will "bottom-up" inputs get traction?

Address strategy, mission, goals.

Address lessons learned with NPR & EGov: tools capability fundamentally different.

How are regulatory agencies different?

Address comment disposition & routing: tools, resources & process. BIG issue.

Concern over pushing OG as "IT tools exercise".

Centers of excellence.

Business service catalogs.

Balanced participation.

Driving "value" of public discourse.

Consistent & effective of communication strategy.

How will risk be managed? Needs to be in place for agency leadership to be comfortable.

Communication around overall OG Governance (OMB, OSTP, GSA)

Address necessary policy change to support requirements.

Ensure all culture barriers addressed. 




[TEAM3 2/17 3:00p]  Specific OGD Plan Recommendations (being developed during Workshop):


Recommendations: Leadership & Culture.


1.  Gain executive buy-in to support OG 

  • Provide individual briefings (or "road shows") for high-level leaders to create buy-in and ownership (people support what they help to create/expand “circle of ownership")
  • Get leaders to commit resources  & political capital - must have RACI (roles, accountability, consult, inform) matrix here to ensure accountability 


2. Incorporate/include/bake open government into agency/department’s strategic plan

  • SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities,  threats) with respect to OG opportunities for that agency
  • Defining each department’s specialized strategic goals for open gov and baking this into strategic plan (this ensures that it will be a priority for next  five years)
  • Metrics need to be baked in here, too
  • Include OG expenditures in annual budget requests 


3. Use suggestion boxes to encourage bottom-up innovation

  • Anonymous employee suggestion box that’s publicly-accessible for viewing (examples: TSA’s "IdeaFactory", State’s "Sounding Board")
  • Consider internal suggestion boxes that are not anonymous


4. Enable people to join elective special interest groups/communities of practice (example: NASA’s "SpaceBook")

  • Have to make these opportunities well-communicated
  • Online (on Intelink?) and offline so that participation is not geo-limited 


5. Make open government practices part of employees’ incentive plans and reward structures

  • A component/some % of employees’ performance plans
  • Volunteer components to recognize contribution 


6. Agency/bureau/secretary awards for incorporating open government principles and practices into your

  • glory - "social capital”
  • financial award


7.  Demand-driven open gov consulting team at GSA  that’s chartered by CIO/OSTP

  • show (don’t tell) successful examples in action, testimonials
  • provide process used by these successful examples that “clients” can use themselves
  • provide consulting resources to hand-hold agency groups through this that are ready to do this
  • KM (Knowledge Management), OD (Org Development), IT collaboration


8. Raise awareness, by empowering everyone to leverage open gov principles to better achieve their missions (mantra) through a government-wide advertising campaign about open gov

  • Federal worker through traditional media
  • Internal through chain of command
  • Recruit, identify and empower evangelists and champions to leverage social networks



Recommendations: Transparency.



9. Focus transparency on sharing knowledge about what's important to Agency missions - first for shared understanding and then to focus meaningful participation.  Why - to help ensure that transparency becomes part of culture, rewards, and so Government personnel have a clear, day-to-day motivation to be transparent.  Also, helps provide focus for reaching out for meaningful participation where it could do the most help.  It fosters the adoption of transparency bottom-up within the Agency as well as top-down, since being mission-focused applies at all levels of Government.  It also specifically makes crystal clear the kinds of high-value information that are important to share to increase agency accountability and responsiveness, and provides an organizing structure to improve public knowledge and promote scrutiny of agency services.

  • Start with strategy/mission/goals - to understand importance to agency and citizens
  • Use these to share and track performance of initiatives/plans/activities
  • Specifically include transparency about allocation/use of resources applied to activities
  • Also include transparency about mission stakeholders and initiative owners to establish and reinforce accountability
  • Include transparency about how and when participants can best engage to contribute to and help streamline the initiative lifecycle


10. Leverage Agency enterprise architecture (developed in support of Federal expenditure transparency) to help categorize (and enhance understanding) about initiatives, and guide development of social networks of potential, interested participants.  To best enhance transparency, ensure that Agency expenditures and funding buckets are linked to these categories to make them more discoverable and transparent.  This might be expressed through an Agency business service catalog (federated across the Agency as required) so that the information gathered can be shared and leveraged to increase transparency and potentially enhance efficiency inside the agency as well.


11.  Establish common processes and tools for routing, disposition and resolution of participant comments and input, and be transparent about this, to help assure participants that their contributions are receiving appropriate review and consideration.


12.  Be transparent about incentives and reward structures, both for being transparent and more importantly for enhancing mission effectiveness through transparency and open participation


13.  Be transparent about governance and decision making processes including policy development lifecycles and timelines so that participants will be able to engage and collaborate effectively, and not become a barrier to getting work done.


14.  Develop a consistent and effective communications strategy that embraces transparency and identifies specific criteria for when to utilize each type of social media technology, public meetings, etc.  Clearly identifying the different consumer audiences for transparency as part of these criteria can help Agency personnel more easily implement the plan.  This can also tie into an Agency business service catalog that provides more detailed usage guidelines and identifies shared transparency resources.


15.  Ensure that the Agency OGD plan addresses the full breadth of impact on the Agency including people, processes and technology.  Organizing impact considerations around these three areas of impact may help Agency personnel understand and implement the plan. In conjunction, the plan should specifically address frequently raised objections to transparency such as how legal and security requirements will be met without unduly inhibiting transparency.  The plan should also identify specific Agency or Federal policies that are barriers to implementing transparency in order to focus attention on making policy changes where appropriate to reduce those impediments. Legal and security offices should be engaged in the development of the OG Plan.


16.  Be transparent about the Agency's process for analyzing and responding to external requests for information including FOIA, Congressional and declassification requests, provide an assessment of the Agency's ability and capacity to respond to such requests in a timely manner, and defines steps the Agency will take to reduce its pending backlog of outstanding external requests by at least 10% per year.




Recommendations: Participation & Collaboration.



17. Participation and collaboration should be integrated into Agency award systems, including SES and organization-wide awards. Rewards could include funding or FTE time to focus on developing award winning work. Agencies funding and HR policies should support execution of such promotions and awards.


18. Regulatory agencies will involve the public at the earliest stages of regulatory development. Opportunities for public involvement and collaboration include:

  • Identification of new data sets, information for consideration.
  • Criteria for prioritizing information for decision-making.


19. We will identify best practices and centers of excellence (federal, state, tribal, municipal) that are informing their work on public participation and collaboration.


20. The agency will create and make public a business services catalog which contains information on the range of services and tools we will rely upon to fulfill the OpenGov Directive. A business services catalog should include:

  • Identification of the services and tools, along with a description of each, that the organization will provide access to in service of PP and C
  • Who is eligible to use the service/tool --Costs (if any) --Agencies should look to COEs for benchmarks & more information on the types of services and tools available and their effective use.
Examples -
  • Mediation
  • Public Meeting Faciliation
  • Public Involvement Planning
  • Distance Meeting Tools
  • Webcast 
21. Require all employees w/ a policy-making or rule-making role to have needed training in agency in public participation processes.  
22.  Invest in trial or pilot projects to work jointly, among agencies, to collect data in policy or rule making.
23. Require all rule-development activity to include a plan for sharing data at the earliest stages, before notice and comment (new best practice).





[TEAM3 2/18 5:00p]  FYI ONLY - 


1.      Publish Government Information Online


a.      What types of high-value data sets/information will the plan recommend agencies publish?


b.      Which modern technologies will the plan recommend to publish information? 


c.       What information and tools should Open Government Web pages provide?


                                                  i.      How do you propose the public provide feedback on and assessment of published information? 


                                                ii.      How do you propose the public provide input about which information to prioritize for publication?


                                              iii.      How do you propose the public provide input on the agency’s Open Government Plan?


                                               iv.      How frequent should an agency respond to, organize and use public input?


                                                 v.      What are the best tools or methods for agency’s to respond to, organize and use to public input?


                                               vi.      Which steps shall an agency take to reduce backlog of Freedom of Information Act Requests?


                                             vii.      How will the plan illustrate ways to comply with guidance on implementing Open Gov Initiatives, such as Data.gov, eRulemaking, IT Dashboard, Recovery.gov and USAspending.gov? 


2.      Improve the Quality of Government Information


      [Chris 2/13 11:30pET]

      Believe new role called "SAO" : "Senior Accountability Officer" was established for each Agency recently from the ranks of senior leadership (office of CFO, CIO) to address this. Sounds like responsibilities for this particular requirement may be handled by this new function.  Thus, no need for us to focus here?  Can add requirements if we come up with any ..


a.      How will you ensure senior leaders make certain that the quality of government information conforms to OMB guidance on information quality and that adequate systems and processes are in place within the agencies to promote such conformity? 


b.      How does the plan intend to coordinate agency resources and authority to hold high-level senior officials accountable for the quality and objectivity of, and internal controls over, the Federal spending information publicly disseminated? 


c.       How does the plan detail the internal controls, including system and process changes, and the integration of these controls within the agency’s existing infrastructure with respect to Federal spending information? 


d.      How does the plan provide for a longer-term comprehensive strategy for Federal spending transparency? (Deputy Director at OMB responsibility) 


                                                  i.      Consider the Federal Funding Accountability Transparency Act and the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.     


3.      Create and Institutionalize a Culture of Open Government


a.      What tools, methods and systems does the plan provide to foster values of transparency, participation and collaboration into the ongoing work of an agency? 


b.      How will various professional disciplines within and outside of Government—such as policy, legal, procurement, finance, civil society and technology operations—work together to define and develop open government solutions? 


c.       How does the plan institutionalize transparent culture, integrate public participation and collaboration into its activities? 


d.      How does the plan outline illustrate a means for agencies to review and evaluate system and process solutions for information collection, aggregation, validation and dissemination? 


e.      How does the plan provide opportunities for agencies to coordinate efforts with other agencies via various working groups—internal and external to agencies—dedicated to Open Gov.? 


f.        How does the plan provide a forum to share best practices within or between agencies on innovative ideas and technologies for open government? 


g.      How does the plan take advantage of the expertise and insight of people both inside and outside the Federal government, including the formation of high-impact collaborations with researchers, the private sector and civil society? 


h.      How does the plan provide solutions in the use of challenges, prizes and other incentive-backed strategies to find innovative or cost-effective solutions to improving open government? 


i.        What challenges will you address and how will you overcome cultural opposition to open government changes? 


4.      Create an Enabling Policy Framework for Open Government


a.      Which policies need to evolve to realize the potential of technology for open government? 


                                                  i.      Note: Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in consultation with the Federal CIO and CTO will review existing OMB policies, such as the Paperwork Reduction Act to identify impediments to open government and the use of new technologies. 


5.      Transparency


[Chris 2/13 11pET]

OGD: "Transparency. Promotes accountability by providing the public with information about what the Government is doing."  

Accountability point seems pretty clear.  Is rest of this definition self-sufficient, or to be viable, do agencies need to extend the definition in the context of their specific missions, ie, "what information" and w/ more clarity on what each agency "is doing"? Also, there has been much discussion of what constitutes 'High Value information', though it is defined below. One question that seems open is "Who decides?" or, "High Value to Whom?"


a.      What tools, methods and systems does the plan propose to make agency decision-making and data and activity transparent? 


b.      What proposed changes to internal management and administrative policies need to occur to improve transparency?


c.       How will the agency meet legal obligations concerning and improving information dissemination practices?


d.      In the plan, what strategy do you propose for transparency that (1) inventories agency high-value information currently available fordownload; (2) fosters the public’s use of this information to increase public knowledge and promote scrutiny of agency services: and (3) identifies high value information not yet available and establishes a reasonable timeline for publication online in open formats with specific target dates? 


e.      Note: High-value information  (def.): information that can be used to increase agency accountability and responsiveness; improve public knowledge of the agency and its operations; further the core mission of the agency; create economic opportunity; or respond to need and demand as identified through public consultation. 


f.        Which audiences and information needs does the plan identify? 


                                                  i.      Which accessible forms and formats does the plan specify?


g.      How does the plan illustrate how an agency complies with Data.gov, eRulemaking, IT Dashboard, Recovery.gov, and USAspending.gov? 


                                                  i.      Which gaps exist and which steps need to be taken in time to meet the requirements for each initiative? 


h.      How does the plan inform the public of significant actions and business of the agency? 


                                                  i.      Does the plan recommend public communication via agency public meetings, briefings, press conferences on the Internet or periodic national town meetings? 


i.        Does the plan indicate how the agency is meeting its existing records management requirements? 


j.        Does the plan provide a website that includes (1) a description of an agency’s staffing, organizational structure, and process for analyzing and responding to FOIA requests; (2) an assessment of your agency’s capacity to analyze, coordinate, and respond to such requests in a timely manner, together with proposed changes, technological resources, or reforms that the agency determines are needed to strengthen your response processes; and (3) a plan of how the agency will reduce its pending backlog of outstanding FOIA requests by at least 10% each year. 


k.       Does the plan provide a webpage that describes agency staffing, organizational structure, and processes for analyzing and responding to Congressional requests for information? If so, what does that look like? 


l.        Does the plan provide a webpage where the public can learn about the agency’s declassification programs, learn how to access declassified materials, and provide input about what types of information should be prioritized for declassification, as appropriate? 


6.      Participation


[Chris 2/13 11pET]

OGD: "Participation. Allow members of the public to contribute ideas and expertise so that their Government can make policies with the benefit of information that is widely dispersed in society."  

Is this definition self-sufficient, or do agencies need to extend the definition in the context of their specific mission, ie, again "what specific information" and "what kinds of policies"?  Maybe additional focus here could make OG Plan efforts less generic and more valuable.  Would certainly make it easier to address detail points.  Technology issues and public engagement issues become more prominent here.  Can we go deeper in the generic sense, or does it come back (yet again?) to agency mission?  Let's discuss.


a.      What tools, methods and systems sustain public interest and involvement in agency decision-making and activity? 


b.      How will your team solve the problem of capitalizing on the insights of citizens? 


                                                  i.      Which tools, methods and systems do you intend to propose will leverage collective expertise so that public administration can make policies with the benefit of information widely dispersed in society? 


                                                ii.      How will an agency build better relationships with citizens? 


                                              iii.      How will an agency leverage public feedback on newly disseminated data? 


c.       How does the plan intend to measure performance? 


d.      How does the plan create opportunities for the public to participate throughout the decision-making process?


e.      What steps should an agency take to improve participation and feedback on the agency’s core mission activities? 


                                                  i.      What proposed changes does the plan detail for internal management and administrative change in policies to improve participation?


f.        Does the plan include links to appropriate websites where the public can engage in existing participatory processes of the agency?


g.      Which new feedback mechanisms, including innovative tools and practices, does the plan propose for methods in public participation?



7.      Collaboration


[Chris 2/13 11pET]

OGD: "Collaboration. Improve the effectiveness of government by encouraging partnerships and cooperation within the Federal Government, across levels of government, and between the Government and private institutions."  

Three different modes of collaboration are defined here. To be comprehensive in response, each set of relationships should be considered, and it seems we'd need to know what kinds of interaction an Agency would be conducting in each.  

What are some common scenarios (examples) where improved interaction would be valuable for:

  1. Intra-Agency.

  2. Federal w/ State & Local. 

  3. Federal w/ Commercial Enterprise.

What kinds of information are being exchanged in each mode of collaboration?

What is the nature (venue, time-frame, number of stakeholders) of interaction among the best examples?

Can these be described generically, or only in the context of Agency mission?.


a.      Does the plan explain in detail how your agency will improve collaboration, including the steps the agency will take to revise its current practices to further cooperation with other Federal and non-Federal government agencies, the public, and non-profit and private entities? 


b.      Does the plan include proposed changes to internal management and administrative policies to improve collaboration?


                                                  i.      Which technology platforms does the plan recommend?


                                                ii.      Which links to appropriate websites should be included that provide existing collaboration efforts of the agency?


                                              iii.      Which innovative methods will increase collaboration with the private sector, non-profit, and academic communities?


8.      Flagship Initiative


[Chris 2/13 11:30pET]

What criteria might we develop to help Agencies decide how to showcase Open Government?


a.      Which one specific, new transparency, participation, or collaboration initiative does the plan recommend an agency to pursue?


                                                  i.      Provide overview and how it addresses one or more of the three principles, including the improvement of agency operations.


                                                ii.      How will an agency maintain dialogue with interested parties who could contribute innovative ideas to the initiative?


                                              iii.      How will the agency measure performance in transparency, participation and collaboration through this initiative?


                                               iv.      What steps will the agency take to make the initiative sustainable and allow for continued improvement? 



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