Earlier this week, in conversation with some of our worldwide government teams, I had the opportunity to share some of our experiences with the open government activities underway across Canada. With so many great initiatives underway, I couldn’t focus too long on any particular project and really looked to try to draw out the higher level success factors that could be replicated in other regions around the world. As I went through the recent events and noteworthy news items, I shared the Open Data case study posted by David Eaves (http://bit.ly/98WVqt ). While David called out some of the work that Microsoft is doing for Open Gov, it struck me that the singular “Microsoft” really hides a significant lesson learned or best practice and that lesson is that Open Gov is a collaborative effort of many.
This may seem like a truism to many of you, but I think it’s well worthwhile to state. It’s clear to me that it’s a team sport from at least two different perspectives. From an internal perspective, our open government work relies on the tireless efforts of people across a variety of teams including the local public sector team, the developer evangelism team, our product groups, the partner team and many others. However, the work of all these people wouldn’t be effective if it weren’t for the external conversations, brainstorming and other interactions that we have had. The CloudCamps, ChangeCamps, roundtables, consultations and even one on one conversations with thought leaders have all contributed to a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities for individuals, businesses and governments. Without this collaborative approach, any of the activities we started would most certainly have not hit the mark. There are many individual teams working hard at the local level and perhaps even regional level open government activities. I’ve noticed that there are several common themes that always pop up during these conversations including civic engagement, transparency, privacy, common data-sets, standards/Interoperability, social networking and others. Perhaps it’s time to time to bring these teams together for a national level conversation on open government across all three levels (municipal, provincial and federal).