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How Do We ID and Train OpenGov Leaders

Page history last edited by vera.ashworth@... 14 years, 1 month ago


This session took place during the May 24th OpenGov Community Summit hosted by the Department of the Treasury.


Session Notes

  • In general, it was agreed that no one set of competencies exist for Open Government Leaders. However, the group generally agreed that an OpenGov Leader should posess the following essential skills 
    • Consensus Builder: OpenGov is the latest silo-destroyer, requiring coordination among business owners, policy makers, counsel, and public affairs. Without strong consensus-building skills, the OpenGov leader is not successful.
    • Problem Solver:  OpenGov is a methodology, not just a set of tools. The problem solver must be able to dissect the agency's business to understand where participation, collaboration, and transparency bring value to the operations of the agency. OpenGov solutions may be seen as disruptive/creative - the OpenGov problem solver is an innovator and embraces these kinds of solutions.
    • Information Savvy: Where OpenGov is tied to data/information, the OpenGov leader should be conversant in the myriad rules and regulations that go along with information (Paperwork Reduction, Information Quality, Records Management, Privacy, Confidentiality, etc.). OpenGov leaders don't need to be experts - but they need to know where to go to get these issues addressed.
    • Systems Thinker: OpenGov leaders must be able to see how injecting open government methods into the agency's business can be tied to mission/performance outcome-based measures.
  • OpenGov competencies may tend to intersect with private sector expertise in outreach and marketing. These fields should be studied to better understand the professional and behavioral competencies that go along with such roles. Further, some agencies may already have these skills resident - EPA, DOT have personnel who go out into the field and engage the public regularly
    • What are the job series for these roles?
    • What is the typical grade of these personnel?
    • Can we mine vacancy announcements or performance objectives for telling bits of information on what agencies look for in these kinds of roles? 
  • OpenGov leaders need to be able to shepherd change. A lesson learned at DOT is that just being open isn't enough. DOT posted its strategic plan for public comment using IdeaScale. But traditionally, people interested in DOT's business don't watch the DOT website: they watch the Federal Register. A savvy OpenGov leader recognizes the tendencies of the public under the existing way of doing business and helps the agency see how to direct the public to engage in a new way. 
  • In general, cultural issues need to be embedded:
    • Too often, things are viewed in a programmatic sense. OpenGov leaders are citizen-centric and can see how programs come together to impact citizens. OpenGov leaders understand how to show the business how to be citizen-centric and public-oriented.
    • Existing Human Resources/Performance Management processes are disincentives. OpenGov leaders foster a culture of innovation where it is OK to fail, where innovation is rewarded, and where people come to work prepared to do their job OPENLY.
    • Everyone needs training in plain language writing. 
  • The value of OpenGov isn't just one-way. It must be viewed as a powerful education tool, designed to not only engage, but inform, the citizenry. 
  • Training should be an iterative process.  Given the changing nature of the technologies, methodologies, and principles of Open Government, it's not enough to have a training at "the beginning" and send leaders out.  They should be updated with new information, opportunities, etc.  
  • There needs to be a focus on what being responsive really means.   Some leaders may have preconceived notions about responsiveness that don't necessarily align with what the public understands/deems as appropriately responsive. 
  • Training should include elements of helping leaders figure out how to implement, not only plan.  Even in these early stages of Open Government, agencies are finding that now that the plan is "done", implementation is not be approached with the same commitment that plan development received.   
  • Valuable information doesn't only mean valuable datasets.  Leaders need to think about what the public would consider valuable information beyond what can be stored in a dataset. One example is that it may be important for the public to understand what an agency does in plain English.  This kind of information has the potential to encourage greater citizen involvement. 
  • Leaders need to understand their audience and consider market data in the same way that the private sector knows their market.  Just putting the information out there and hoping people will come isn't enough.  There needs to be active outreach to encourage the cycle of sharing information and providing feedback. 
  • Engage younger employees or new employees to get a fresh perspective on what open government means to them. Establish two-way mentoring to fully benefit newer/lower-graded employees as well as educating established/higher-graded managers. Both groups can learn from each other.


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