This Week: From Red Tape to Hashtags - Government as an Accelerator

Images of red tape and slowly changing institutions are usually what come to mind when thinking of “government,” as opposed to the “innovation accelerator” that is depicted in the recent post, “Government-as-a-Platform: Why Agencies must Embrace the Strategic Value of Open Data.” The Nextgov post outlined four areas where government use of open data acts as a catalyst for change: economic development, quality of life for residents, data-driven governance (i.e. more fact-based decisions), and operational efficiency.

A recent event dove more in-depth into the idea of Technology and Democracy: Friends or Foes? A summary of the discussion made the point that technology alone usually does not solve lackluster democracies. While the post argues that online engagement strategies often don’t raise participation as much as assumed, the example given of a 28% increase from Fix My Street, might not be as bad as it sounds. (Watch the discussion here).

More data would be interesting to know if the same 28% are using other online engagement tools, or if individual energies are more focused into different topics. If 28% are reporting on street issues, and another 28% are reporting/engaging in park beautification, participatory budgeting or the myriad of other civic engagement areas, etc., then it’s not such a bad outlook.

Indonesia’s open government initiatives were highlighted last week on TechinAsia. Initiatives such as Lapor let citizens report on government performance that range from broken traffic lights to bribes, and an Open Data Portal will be launched officially at the end of the month.

Open Government Indonesia

While Satu Pemerintah lists information on Indonesia’s government programs and budgets, Indonesia’s lowest scores released last week by Global Integrity were in budget process transparency, whistle-blowing protections and conflicts of interest safeguards. Timor-Leste and Vanuatu’s reports were also released showing that a lack of conflicts of interest safeguards seems to be a trend.

The US is working on making progress towards the goals set out by the DATA act, including standardization on financial information to enable information to be comparable and conducive to better analysis. Check out recent post on The DATA Acts Unexpected Benefit to learn more about the process going forward.

Weekly updates are written by Taryn Davis of Development Gateway; email her your tips for next week's update to get a shout-out in the post.

Tags: This Weekopen governmentred tapeopen dataIndonesiadata