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Clay Johnson
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# Feedback on the U.S. Open Government National Action Plan The White House is once again asking for feedback on its Open Government Initiatives. As you may recall, [we made several recommendations]( on comment-taking and the last time they asked for feedback, and we're going to do the same today. Specifically, we're responding to [this request for input](, asking for input around practices and metrics for measuring public participation. Specifically, they're asking about how they should be measuring the outputs of the open government directive. It's a good question, and personally I'm glad they're open to public input here.... Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2011 at Expert Labs
Before going into the details, let me first couch myself in saying: I really like Steve VanRoekel. I think he was the glue that held together the FCC's New Media endeavors, I think, after meeting with him and talking with him on several occasions, that he's really smart, and I'm really excited that he's the federal CIO. In his first talk in that position, VanRoekel gave an outline of his agenda, the [Future First Initiative]( and I think, all in all it's great stuff and good thinking. But there's one eensy part of the talk that nudged me the wrong... Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2011 at Expert Labs
Over the past two years, people who've been at the nexus of government, politics, and technology have repeatedly been asked to participate in Open Government dialogues -- like the [National Dialogue on Federal Web Policy]( or the [Dialogue on Evolving](, and while I think they're clever and I'm glad that government is soliciting ideas from experts, I worry that this kind of technology might be used as a crutch for actual participation. Don't get me wrong: [IdeaScale](, [Google Moderator]( and [UserVoice]( are all incredibly useful tools for finding great ideas out of wide audiences -- an electronic method of... Continue reading
Posted Oct 25, 2011 at Expert Labs
Back in August, we made [several recommendations]( for how government could be more open and better connected by using the Internet. The easiest of all the suggestions was for the team to reach out to the Sunlight Foundation's Sunlight Labs Google Group -- a group largely built by that organization's focus on getting developers to build apps on top of A few days ago, after a few meetings with key administration officials, it happened and a [good discussion started up]( If you're inclined to participate, and aren't a member of the group already, join in and give your... Continue reading
Posted Oct 24, 2011 at Expert Labs
Just a few short weeks ago, the White House released "[We the People](" -- allowing the public to petition the executive branch of government to do *something*, and if 25,000 people sign the petition in 30 days, the White House says it will issue an official response, and make sure that the petition is "sent to the appropriate policy makers in the Administration." It's a pretty neat service -- cribbed from [MySociety]('s work in the UK on [HM Government ePetitions]( The pot community is famously one of the most well organized petition/feedback raiding crews on the Internet. When Obama said... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2011 at Expert Labs
Here in Washington, the politically connected (especially on the left) are focused on figuring out the meaning of the Occupy Wall Street movement. It’s the talk of the town — most operatives are looking on with fascination. Some are trying to figure out the science of the movement, while others look to see how the movement can be co-opted as their own. The chattering class of Washington craves a long narrative, and in this case that means the protests need to to mean something tangible, and for the activists to have demands. But the undercurrent here is: is this occupation... Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2011 at Expert Labs
Earlier this week, Federal CTO Aneesh Chopra and OIRA Administrator Cass Sunstein jointly released an inquiry about the future of open government-- specifically, they asked for insight on three things: How can, one of the primary mechanisms for government transparency and public participation, be made more useful to the public rulemaking process? OMB is beginning the process of reviewing and potentially updating its Federal Web Policy. What policy updates should be included in this revision to make Federal websites more user-friendly and pertinent to the needs of the public? How can we build on the success of Data.Gov and... Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2011 at Expert Labs
Earlier this week I attended the Open Government R&D summit put on at the National Archives. It’s been the first collaboration I’ve been to like this in a long time, and to me it felt a bit like a family reunion. Old friends like former deputy CTO Beth Noveck and Susan Crawford were there, alongside relatively new folks in town like the FTC’s Ed Felten and new Deputy CTO for Innovation Chris Vein. It’s clear to me that we’re approaching a useful milestone in OpenGov land— winding down on the initial rah-rah of the Open Government Directive and moving toward... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2011 at Expert Labs
Hello, Expert Labs readers, I'm Clay Johnson, the new Director of Engagement. You may know me as the former Director of Sunlight Labs at the Sunlight Foundation. Now I'm here trying to help Government Agencies use ThinkUp. I outlined why I'm doing this over on my blog. The tl;dr version of the post: we've invented a lot of ways to speak to government, but very few that'll help government listen. That's where ThinkUp comes in. My primary job is to help seed that idea inside of the federal government. ThinkUp is the right solution. it's independent of any particular medium.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2011 at Expert Labs
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Mar 14, 2011