At Reboot11 there clearly was a lot of interest in transparent government, on different levels. Apart from the political stream, with the Swedish Pirate Party, there were several sessions taking on transparent government on both the policy and the operational level. For me opening up government data, and making government more transparent is important because it allows people to both base their choices and decisions on more relevant information, as well as act more confidently in shaping their own lives.
Nadia El-Imam brought a number of people to Reboot that would not have been there otherwise. To bring them in touch with the Reboot-crowd, but also with each other. To talk about technology and digital policies for the European Union, and come up with tangible input. She organised several ‘Wikicrats’ sessions. It started out with the participants giving their own perspectives (slides), and then several working sessions took place.
Wikicrats at work
As I am working on opening up government data in the Netherlands, I did a session on Open Data at Reboot. Starting with a short introduction of the work James Burke and I did for the Dutch ministry for the interior, I invited other participants in the audience to add their own work and examples, so different European efforts get more connected. People from Denmark, Canada, US and UK explained some of their work on open government data. One of the examples put forward, Folkets Ting (which follows the political activities of Danish MP’s) also was demo’d in a seperate session by Michael Friis (slides). Also Christian Lanng, of the Danish IT and telecom agency of the ministry for technology, science and innovation, invited us all to take part in a session the next day to help shape the new Danish IT policy that is being written.
Shaping Danish IT Policy
On Reboot day 2, a few dozen people found themselves in an overfilled changing room of Kedelhallen, discussing how the Danish government should shape their IT policy, and how they should engage with us and others in both shaping and implementing that policy. As David Weinberger noted, the Danish civil servants had to wade through a lot of frustration and disbelief before we could get into real discussion, and they took it on the chin gracefully. More on that in a separate posting. The results of the session, transcription of post-its, in English as well as the continuing discussion in Danish can be found at Digitaliser.dk, the Danish IT and Telecom Agency open platform for discussing all things digital.
Christian Lanng (Danish gov) explaining the aim of the session (l), Standing room only at the Danish IT policy session (r)
Change Camps in Canada
Mark Kuznicki is a driving force behind the ChangeCamps in Canada, about re-imagining citizenship and government in the age of participation, about which he gave a good session at Reboot. Had a great lunch conversation with him, amongst other things about the Vancouver ChangeCamp, our mutual contact/friend and Vancouverite Jon Husband, and the City of Vancouver embracing Open Data as well as open standards and open source, last May.
Mark Kuznicki talking about ChangeCamps
Shaping EU policy on Public Service Information
David Osimo, who organized a workshop at the European Commission in Brussels this spring on user-driven innovation of public services (pageflakes overview), was an active participant in the Open Government Data dialogue this Reboot. He has also launched a platform to collectively bring our own perspective to the EU’s take on e-government. Next November a new ministerial declaration on e-government will be published during the Malmo EU e-gov conference. If you want to contribute to co-creating an open declaration on public services in the age of social media, please add your ideas, suggestions and comments there.
All in all transparent government and open government data were a big part of the conversations I had with lots of people during Reboot 11. Having my own Open Data session at the start of day 1 of the conference was a good conversation trigger for me, but certainly Open Data / Transparent gov was on a lot of people’s mind at Reboot. A very good thing.