Open Government refers to a wave of transformation within Government organizations across the globe aimed at better connection with citizens and communities. Open Government refers to the new, innovative ways how Government opens itself to the organizations and citizens, how it is directly engaged with the citizens in bringing and expanding new innovative services, how it opens up the internal resources and share those resources with whoever wants to use them, how it uses broad collaboration and participation to increase the power of effectiveness and efficiency of its processes and how it opens internal processes and policies achieving true transparency for the masses.
Note: What is Open Government? In the most basic sense, it’s the notion that the people have the right to access the documents and proceeding of government. (Lathrop & Ruma)
The common principles of Open Government initiatives are:
- Transparency – to enable greater accountability, efficiency, and economic opportunity by making government data and operations more open.
- Participation – to create early and effective opportunities to drive greater and more diverse expertise into government decision making.
- Collaboration – to generate new ideas for solving problems by fostering cooperation across government departments, across levels of government, and with the public.
Today, Government around the world want to be stronger contributor to the overall social ecosystem and it wants to connect more individuals, communities and businesses. Interestingly, today Government don’t want to do that adding additional layer of bureaucracy and processes, instead they are looking at the outside world and opening internal processes asking for help in defining innovation and change. (Lathrop & Ruma).
Technologies for Open Government
The first wave of “digital” Government that was introduced a decade ago delivered some important milestones and benefits to society. Unfortunately, they were very limited in change that they brought to the life: they mainly focused on automating existing processes in the Government or introducing to already existing Government services additional digital layer – no major process changes or new channels of distribution were introduced in those years.
‘Government 2.0’ (also referred to as e-Government) typically refers to the use of Internet, Digital Media, and Web technologies to enable Open Government initiatives and improve connections with organizations and citizens. Government itself exist to enable the citizens access to different elements of the digital heritage like books or national archives but also to enable access to any type of data that is stored somewhere, regardless of the format how the data is stored. New technologies today are very effective in sharing and enabling the data: social networks, web sites and even games are opening up the services enabled by Open Government.
But Government 2.0 is not only about opening up to organizations and citizens outside, it is also about empowering officials inside the Government to look for a changes need and to go over traditional boundaries and limits. It is also about empowerment to work inside and outside, from bottom to top, through any limits that they had inside their organization to bring the value to the true stakeholders – citizens.
Two main technological developments changed the way how Government manages information and content.
- widespread adoption of technologies that enables storing of the digital data in ad-hoc manner – they are digitally stored the moment they are created
- use of broadband technologies through the countries that enables the organization and citizens to find and use Government data in effective and rapid way
Creating data in digital form is one of the most important factors when you consider the use of Government data. Since data is in digital form right from the beginning, it is very easy to store, move, copy, share or manage the data. At the same time, digital data brings additional problems, like security, authorization, access, management and interoperability.
Existence of broadband technologies (Internet as an example) enable that data created in digital form travels fast and shares even faster. Using the advanced technologies also open a different level of collaboration, participation, social inclusion and existence between Government and organizations and citizens.