A new study released today provides a potential framework for how technology can help accelerate the Obama policy agenda. The Collaboration Project, sponsored by the National Academy for Public Administration, prepared a report with recommendations to the new Administration on ways to accelerate its use of technology to both better serve and engage citizens. The report, “Enabling Collaboration: Three Priorities for the New Administration,” offers a set of priorities that could serve as a launching-off point for the Obama Administration efforts to develop its Open Government initiative — to make government more transparent, participative, and collaborative — which President Obama directed in his first full day in office:
Treat Data as a National Asset—Government data should not be “owned” by any department, agency or organization. In order to embrace new technologies and empower leaders and citizens, the new administration must establish clear standards for sharing data, grapple with evolving notions of data authenticity, and craft new practices for knowledge management. All of these should emphasize trading control of information for sharing it.
Foster a Culture and Framework of Collaboration—Although government has made great strides in becoming more efficient, its operating model still depends on a hierarchy to do things faster and cheaper, rather than using collaboration to do them better. Revising this model requires leadership that favors collaboration, and organizational roles and policies that facilitate it. The Administration must demand that that IT leaders across government act as strategic partners with mission-delivery programs, and revisit and revise a host of laws and policies that inhibit innovation and collaboration.
The report also has a very useful appendix cataloging the kinds of challenges the new Administration faces in taking advantage of the Web 2.0 environment in the government. The appendix lists a series of laws and policies that oftentimes were put in place before the internet existed and were intended to open up government. Ironically, many now restrict access.