Open Government Initiative Blog

  • Prize Platform Invites Citizens to Solve Nation’s Challenges

    President Obama has recognized that “the challenges we face today—from saving our planet to ending poverty—are simply too big for government to solve alone. We need all hands on deck.”  Today, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra and U.S. Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra launched Challenge.gov, a new online platform where entrepreneurs, innovators, and citizen solvers can compete for prestige and prizes by providing novel solutions to tough problems, large and small.  Challenge.gov is the latest milestone in the Administration’s commitment to create a more open and collaborative government that “actively engages Americans in the work of their Government,” as called for in the President’s Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government. To learn more, visit www.challenge.gov and check out the White House blog post from Tom Kalil, Deputy Director for Policy in the  White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

  • The Race to the Top for Openness and Innovation: Announcing Agency Open Government Plan Leading Practices

    Four months ago, all cabinet departments demonstrated their commitment to building a government that is more transparent, participatory, and collaborative through the publication of detailed open government plans. (See, for example HHS or DOT’s posts about their plans) To hold the departments accountable, we published an online dashboard that assessed agency Open Government plans against the requirements of the Open Government Directive. We found that agencies were off to a good start. At the same time, we concluded that much more work was necessary to ensure effective implementation of these ambitious plans to make operations and data more transparent and expand opportunities for citizen participation, collaboration, and oversight.

    With your feedback, members of the Open Government community--within and outside the government--have been working together to improve the Open Government plans. Today, we update our Open Government Dashboard to reflect this progress.

    A total of 18 agencies are “all green,” which means that they have crafted plans that meet every requirement under the Directive. Moreover, agencies that are still yellow have made significant progress in revising and improving their plans.

    Today, we also announce the recipients of The Leading Practices Awards for achievement above and beyond the requirements of the Directive. These Awards recognize those agencies, as selected by their peers, that have outlined the best and most innovative strategies for promoting open government over the next two years. There are four categories of awards corresponding to each of the major goals of the Open Government agenda:

    • Leadership, Governance, and Culture Change
    • Transparency
    • Participation and Collaboration
    • Flagship Initiative

    Awards were determined on the basis of evaluation of the plans against the definition of “Leading Practice” by the agencies themselves. Leading Practices are meant to inspire a “race to the top” among government agencies for greater openness and innovation. These awards represent the very best of the best in Open Government Plans -- exemplary of the high levels of creativity and innovation that can be found in the open government activities of our Federal agencies today. The awardees in the four categories are as follows:

    Leadership, Governance, and Culture Change

    Transparency

    Participation and Collaboration

    Flagship Initiative

    Open Government is an evolving and continuing responsibility for this Administration. Much has been accomplished in the recent past. Click here to view some of the highlights.

    Aneesh Chopra is U.S. Chief Technology Officer
    Cass R. Sunstein is Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs

  • Apps4 Africa: State Department Driving Collaboration through Competition

    In July 2009, President Obama addressed Ghana’s parliament, saying, “Africa’s future is up to Africans.”  That future, in part, will depend on developing infrastructure, building the capacity of civil society and educational institutions, stamping out corruption, and ensuring access to capital for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). These are all complex challenges that will require complex solutions. However, it is increasingly clear that technology, entrepreneurship and innovation will be part of the solution. On a continent where there is 25 percent electricity penetration but 37 percent mobile penetration, connection technologies are lowering the cost and increasing the effectiveness of everything from election monitoring to securing a loan to organizing civic action.   

    More and more, Africans are behind some of the most effective digital tools for driving social change and economic inclusion. Ushahidi, a Kenyan crisis response platform, was used by the U.S. government and the United Nations for emergency response purposes in Haiti; and M-Pesa, Kenya’s mobile money platform, is among the most successful in the world. There are now physical spaces where new ideas live, in the form of tech incubators and co-working spaces, including the Hive Colab in Uganda, the iHub in Kenya, and Limbe Labs in Cameroon with similar spaces set to open in the near future.

  • President Obama and Vice President Biden’s Daily Public Schedules Now Online

    Starting today, the President and the Vice President’s daily public schedules are now available online. You don’t have to come to WhiteHouse.gov to find out what the President and Vice President are up to each day – you can subscribe to their schedules via RSS or even add their schedules to your own Outlook, iCal, Google calendar, or any other calendar service that’s compatible with an iCal feed.  Just click here to download the iCal feed and add it to your calendar today.  Your calendar will be automatically updated as new events are added to the President and Vice President’s schedule.

  • Federal Register 2.0

    Cross posted from the AOTUS blog.

    Today, we are celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Federal Register Act by launching Federal Register 2.0.  In a special event in the Rotunda of the National Archives, I was joined by the Public Printer of the United States and distinguished guests from regulatory agencies and the open government community to introduce the web 2.0 version of the daily Federal Register.

  • SME Finance Challenge: G-20 Prize Seeks Scalable Solutions for Small Businesses

    President Obama recently joined with our partners in the G-20 to launch the G20 SME Finance Challenge to uncover the most promising and scalable means of financing small businesses. Last week, Treasury Under Secretary for International Affairs Lael Brainard explained the critical role of small businesses as engines of job creation and called on the private sector to identify new finance models to help them grow. Private financial institutions, private investors and companies, socially responsible investors, foundations, and civil society organizations can submit solutions through August 25th.  Up to 15 winners will be invited to the November 2010 G-20 Summit in Korea to be recognized for their innovative ideas.  In addition, the G-20 has committed to mobilizing funding to scale them up.

    To learn more, check out The SME Finance Challenge: Supporting Small Businesses as Big Engines of Growth over on the White House blog.