30 March 2010


I attended OpenGovWest last week.  Thought leaders and innovators of the western provinces of Canada and the western states of the USA came together to share ideas and collaborate around the topic of open government.  The conference was hosted by the City of Seattle and Knowledge as Power and was held in the beautiful Seattle City Hall.

Counted among the 200+ attendees were government leaders, public servants, analyists, software developers, university students, and private citizens, engaged and sharing ideas, issues, strategies and best practices in the open government space.  Our own BC made a huge contribution in terms of talent and participation, a tribute to the passion we have for our province.

Momentum at the grass roots level is building fast both here in BC and in the US.  The conference had a very engaged group and there was a lot of participation from most of the attendees, which in my experience is uncommon.  O'Reilly has their Gov 2.0 conference coming up in May in DC and I am sure it will be excellent and I think that perhaps many of us westerners would like to go but the expense of going to DC is hard for some to justify.  Going to Seattle was a great option.

Some of the topics discussed at OpenGovWest:

  • citizen engagement
  • public servant engagement
  • the barriers to opengov including: culture, fear, silos, legislation, status quo, lawsuits, excuses, etc..
  • how humans tend to focus on risk but ignore opportunity, the cost of "no"
  • open data licensing
  • open data structure, formats and accessibility
  • telling the story

I will be writing more about my thoughts in these areas in upcoming posts.  You can find other's opinions here and here and here.  Check out the ogw tag on twitter to see some of the ideas in raw form.

For those who are thinking that they might like to contribute but who think perhaps they can't make a difference, I would encourage you to get involved and take part in the discussions both online and at these conferences.  There are amazing people to meet and work with and it's an exciting time to be involved.

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