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Opengov Panel speaks


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Panel1 – How Open starts

Tara Ney, Ian Graeme, Janis la Couvee, David Hume, Chris Moore

Janis – has been involved in community since mid 90s promoting citizen gov interaction. Has discovered social media. Originally disregarded twitter – but found that twitter promotes face to face meetings. “People really do want to know what I ate for breakfast”. Little things resonate with people. Now connects with thousands of people. Learn as you go and collaborate.

Chris – (City of Edmonton) Realized in 1990 – The way we were doing IT was not sustainable. Started having town hall meetings – needed to engage city staff differently. Now focusing on a cultural change in IT – changing attitudes and behaviors. IT has to become open and transparent within themselves and then the rest of the organization. People expect gov to be open. A lot of work needs to be done for the public to see openness. In gov people are afraid – but you must take risks – show people the possibilities. Engage the public.

Ian – at Environment – started with Living Water Strategy – we can all play a part in determining BC’s water future. Many interests around water, sustainability and water stewardship. Policy team is small (10) and doesn’t have all the answers. Can connect to the community and get feedback and answers to help. Drawing back the curtains and opening doors is what it is all about.

Tara – City Councilor in Oak Bay. Feels like she is the fall guy here – In Oak Bay, very low tech and folksy, no email, etc. Possibilities and challenges of Open Gov. Experience is academic and research – her political job lets her see gov in action with respect to her constituents. Attempting to open up gov to the community. (Tells history of 23 year old dispute about school parking problem – convert grassy boulevard area to proper parking or not – city put in rocks (aka Dragon’s Teeth) which didn’t help. Got emails, telephone calls, populace very upset about the parking problem. Council must made decision? No, lets take the decision to the people). The community decision took a while and it is still not finished. These are messy, time-consuming processes – but still worth doing!

Why do I want to blog today?

I’m wondering, am I a change agent? What was it that got Nick going? What was it that sparked Walter to start Fusedlogic? What sparked the Yammer?

The Why, How and What of Open Gov West BC

“People don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it”

I wanted to take the time to share this TEDx talk by Simon Sinek with you in order to help set the tone for the conference. In the talk Sinek reflects on the art of communication and posits that inspiring action always follows the same pattern of communication: Why, How, What.

Why Open Gov West

I’m participating in Open Gov West because I believe that we need to shift our approach to public service. When I first joined the public service I was struck by how closed it was, the system has a hard time surfacing talent and ideas, and it is being constantly reinforced by a culture of closededness. After a year circling the drain in a closed system I decided to approach things from an ethos of open. I recall a conversation with a senior manager:

“Just because that’s how everyone else acts, doesn’t mean you have to do it too.”

It was a simple statement, made at the right time that completely changed my outlook on things. Since then I’ve delved deeply into the demographic crunch facing our public service, the outmigration of knowledge, and the lack of sustainable engagement. I’ve come to realize that while openness isn’t necessary a panacea it is part of the answer.

With this in mind, I think the single most important thing that people can start doing is narrating their work. So much of what we do as public servants gets locked away on proprietary drives, closed records and document management systems, or email. We need to start readily sharing not only the information we currently have on lockdown but also how we are making sense of that information, how we are contextualizing it within our work. Never before has technology allowed us to get such a clear picture of what is informing decision making, policy, and program delivery.

Embracing a more open ethos and grabbing hold of enabling technology will do more for our public services than we could possibly imagine.

That’s where you come in.

How You Can Help Narrate Your Work at Open Gov West (needs verification for details)

We have set up this blog to be shared among participants; we are providing you not only a place to share your thoughts, but interact with the thoughts of other, and contextualize them within the larger event.

What To Share on The Open Gov West Group Blog

There are no hard or fast rules on what you can share on the blog. Posts can range from full blown prose to rudimentary thinking, raw reactions to deep questions. All we are asking for is 100 words.

Here are some other examples of what we’d like to see:

    Session notes
    Calls for action
    Requests for expertise

Moreover, please feel free to engage directly by commenting on the posts of others. This group blog will serve as a great way to help carry today’s conversation forward into action.

Thanks for taking the time, I’m looking forward to learning more about why you decided to participate today at Open Gov West BC.


Nick Charney

How to register post a blog post

  1. Visit the registration page and create yourself an account
  2. Post a blog from the Add Post page (use the visual editor to post you content and choose Publish when you are ready to post).  You can choose Preview first if you want to see how your post will look.
  3. Go back to the OpenGovNorth homepage.  You’re post will be viewable shortly.

If you have questions, look to identify a fellow blogger in the room.