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Transparency and Open Government

We want to be fully transparent in our work, participatory in soliciting your ideas and expertise, and collaborative in how we experiment together to use new tools

Vivek Kundra, our Chief Information Officer, and Beth Noveck, Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Open Government, explain the Open Government Initiative

On January 21, 2009, his first full day in office, the President issued a Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government and called for recommendations for making the Federal government more transparent, participatory, and collaborative.

As Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President says in the video below, we are proud "to announce an important next step in this historic call to action – one that will help us achieve a new foundation for our government – a foundation built on the values of transparency, accountability and responsibility."

The Administration is committed to developing those recommendations in an open fashion. Consistent with the President's mandate, we want to be fully transparent in our work, participatory in soliciting your ideas and expertise, and collaborative in how we experiment together to use new tools and techniques for developing open government policy.

Today we are kicking off an unprecedented process for public engagement in policymaking on the White House website. In a sea change from conventional practice, we are not asking for comments on an already-finished set of draft recommendations, but are seeking fresh ideas from you early in the process of creating recommendations. We will carefully consider your comments, suggestions, and proposals.

Here's how the public engagement process will work. It will take place in 3 phases: Brainstorming, Discussion, and Drafting.

Beginning today, we will have a brainstorming session for suggesting ideas for the open government recommendations. You can vote on suggested ideas or add your own.

Then on June 3rd, the most compelling ideas from the brainstorming will be fleshed out on a weblog in a discussion phase. On June 15th [UPDATE: Now June 22nd], we will invite you to use a wiki to draft recommendations in collaborative fashion.

These three phases will build upon one another and inform the crafting of recommendations on open government.

Also check out the Innovations Gallery and see some of the innovations and innovators across the Government who are already translating the values of open government into practice. For example, just today the CIO Council launched is a one-stop repository of government information and tools to make that information useful. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Office of Management and Budget today launched Exchange, a website for taking public input on the best ways to achieve public participation in Federal agency rulemaking. These are just two of the many outstanding innovations featured in the Open Government Innovations Gallery.

The President has welcomed the open government innovations being developed across the Government and has encouraged each of his Cabinet departments to adopt more open government innovations in the coming year.

Thank you for participating. Open and effective government can only be achieved with everyone’s active engagement. We hope you will lend your insights, experience, and expertise to improve your government and strengthen democracy. Join the Brainstorming that has already begun!