Open Government Initiative Blog

  • Pioneering Innovation Through Health Data Transparency

    As advocates across the country celebrate Sunshine Week, a time to focus on government transparency, the Department of Health and Human Services is proud of its work in spearheading greater data transparency.  Signature among our work in this area is the Health Data Initiative (HDI).  Founded in early 2010, the HDI is a three-pronged effort to publish brand new HHS data for public access; use tools to that make existing HHS data much more accessible; and energetically market and promote our data to innovators who can creatively use it as raw material to develop applications and services to improve health. Based on the principles of improved access to data from all sectors of health and healthcare, collaboration by a wide array of organizations, and participation by many individuals, HDI is a powerful emerging catalyst for change.  Remarkable insights are being gained into some of our most vexing challenges in health care, and new windows of opportunity are opening for an incredible array of data-fueled innovations that embody American ingenuity.

  • Effective Aid Is Transparent and Accountable Aid

    For over five decades, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has saved lives and improved human welfare around the world. As a leader in global development, our Agency has amassed a wealth of knowledge that we believe is important to share publicly. By making our data, programs and evaluations easily accessible, we’re helping to create a global commons that grounds development practice in evidence and shares knowledge to inform significantly new approaches in development.

    President Obama, Secretary Clinton and I take transparency and accountability in foreign aid seriously, and we’re working hard to ensure that we effectively communicate our efforts to the American people, our stakeholders and our partners at home and abroad.

    As we celebrate Sunshine Week, here are just a few examples of USAID’s commitment to implementing the principles of transparency, participation and collaboration that were outlined in the Administration’s Open Government Initiative.

  • Managing Government Records: The Backbone of Open Government

    As part of Sunshine Week, I want to take the opportunity to update you on one of the commitments made by the President as part of our Open Government Partnership National Action Plan.  On November 28, 2011, President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum entitled “Managing Government Records” to begin an Executive Branch-wide effort to reform records management policies and practices.  This is the first time since the Truman Administration that this level of White House attention has been focused on the records of our country, and I am taking it very seriously.

  • Let the Sunshine In

    This week is Sunshine Week, a joint project of the American Society of News Editors and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.  Held in mid-March, Sunshine Week is a national initiative to promote discussion about the importance of open government and freedom of information.

    The theme of this year’s Sunshine Week is “Put Sunshine in Your Government,” and so now is an appropriate time to reflect on the Obama Administration’s strong commitment to open government over the past three years, and more particularly to provide an update on implementation of the U.S. National Action Plan on Open Government

    President Obama unveiled the National Plan in September 2011, as part of the United States’ commitment as a founding member of the Open Government Partnership – a global effort to promote more transparent, effective, and accountable governance in countries around the world.  

  • An Open Innovation Toolbox

    The Obama Administration’s innovation agenda is aimed at finding, testing, and scaling new ideas that change the way government conducts business and delivers services through engagement with the American people.   An innovative government incorporates an entrepreneurial mindset into its daily work – taking risks, building lean organizations, and developing innovative products and services faster than the rest of the world.

  • Unconferences, Hack-A-Thons, and a Code for Livability

    This past weekend saw three amazing open government events take place in both Washington, DC and New York City.

    On Saturday, the Transportation Camp held its annual “unconference” in Washington, DC.  An unconference is a more open version of a traditional conference, allowing participants the opportunity to help shape the structure and format of the day’s events.  This year’s Transportation Camp, which was organized by OpenPlans, Mobility Lab, and Greater Greater Washington, hosted several hundred citizens, students, developers, businesses, and local and Federal government employees.  Discussion focused on ways to engage citizens in decisions affecting transportation issues – including ways to better use bike shares open data. In addition, citizens and city officials brainstormed on ways to increase access to public transportation for all users, including those with limited mobility.  And developers leveraged city and Federal datasets—ssome via the Federal  platform Data.gov—inin addition to data provided by businesses like Capital Bike Share, to create platforms and services that help citizens make more informed decisions related to their commute.