We need more verbs

At the NSW Office of the Information Commissioner’s Creating Open Government conference, I was invited to make a few remarks about ‘Enabling tomorrow’s Open Government’.  I was inspired by something that NSW Information Commissioner Deirdre O’Donnell said at a recent GovCampfire forum: she called for more verbs. More doing words. So, in Deirdre’s honour, I presented my 5 verbs of tomorrow’s #opengov.

1. Start. Just that. Creating tomorrow’s open government means starting today. Start small, start big. But make sure you start.

2. Share. Ideas, failures, systems, resources. As the co-producer and host of Gov 2.0 Radio, I have the privilege of interviewing leaders and practioners all over the world about connected government and public innovation. There are so many stories to share. One of the things we hear so often from public sector practitioners how lonely it can be to feel like you are going it alone, and how great it is to know that there are other people trying new things just like you.

3. Solve. Find a problem. Understand the problem. Ask the right questions. Repeatedly. Boil and reduce. Then target solving that problem.  Invite the talent to the party – from inside AND outside the sector

4. Sync. Processes, legislation, policy, systems, outcomes.  And sync between levels of government.

5. Shout. Dr David Goldberg mentioned in his inaugural Forshkall Oration (PDF) that as a forefather of open government, Peter Forshkall suggested that in order to explore new horizons beyond a knowledge of language and geography, you need a “heroic temperament”. I also heard the head of the Australian National Archives, David Ficker say recently that the innovation in his organisation is triggered by (and I’m paraphrasing here) a small mob of noisy, energetic people. So don’t be afraid to make yourself seen and heard, because sometimes you need to break cover and fly ONTO the radar to make an enduring impact.

Of course, there are many more verbs of open government – what are some of yours?