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An Open Government Definition

One of the first things I did when I started this blog was to start a series of posts establishing some foundational definitions for critical concepts.  Definitions I was using as the basis for how I approached my work at NASA.  But to this point, I have yet to establish a definition for Open Government. 

That was until I starting working on a presentation I’m giving in a few weeks at GOSCON.  In my research1, I latched onto the Wikipedia page for Open Source Governance and found a passage that I believe works best as a definition of Open Government. 

Open Government is to…

advocate the application of the philosophies of the open source and open content movements to democratic principles in order to enable any interested citizen to add to the creation of policy.


  1. Can we just go ahead and replace the word research with “surfing around the web”? 

Succinct Gov 2.0 definition

I’ve previously blogged about the Gov 2.0 definition that I’ve been using as the basis for my thinking around the topic.  But the other day I found a shorter, to the point definition while surfing the interwebs via John Moore.

Government 2.0 is a citizen-centric philosophy/strategy where results are often driven by partnerships between citizens and government.

Defining Gov 2.0

As I stated in my previous post defining Cloud Computing, I’m on the lookout for foundational definitions to the buzzwords circling my work at NASA Ames.  And I’ve found the definition of Gov 2.0 that I’m going to proceed with.  It comes from Laurel Ruma, co-chair of Gov 2.0 Expo and O’Reilly Media’s Gov 2.0 evangelist. In an interview with the Federal Cloud Blog, Laurel provides the following construct for Gov 2.0.

It’s an umbrella term for this next generation of government, one that accepts and uses technology as one of its main tenets. But, it’s not just the technology.

Technology is easy and tools are easy — it’s also people, and the collaboration between governments at every level, from federal down to your city government, with the people. This is happening easily with social media and more interaction on the web.

It’s also about looking at government as this great provider of information and open data and how it can be used to really further every American’s and global citizen’s desire to have more information about their government at any given time.

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Defining Cloud Computing

A couple things I’m realizing about cloud computer.  First, NASA is management is pretty obsessed with it.  Almost every single I.T. conversation I have at NASA Ames has the word “cloud” in it somehow.  Second, I don’t have a great working definition that I’m using as a foundation for my thinking on cloud computing.  If you asked me “what is cloud computing?” recently, I would probably tell you that cloud computing is when I’m in the middle of a flight from San Francisco to Boston and I can send emails and surf the web.

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So I’ve been looking for a definition and found one that I liked.  And as it turns out, it’s from NASA CIO Linda Cureton.  In a blog post from last December, Linda defines cloud computing as “a style of computing where scalable and elastic capabilities are provided as a service through Internet capabilities”. 

Cloud Computing is a style of computing where scalable and elastic capabilities are provided as a service through Internet capabilities. Elasticity is the most important attribute and is looked at from the perspective of the consumer of the service. Capabilities are acquired at the consumer’s (end user) discretion and are automatic, demand-focused, with no manual intervention. There is no need to place a call or make an order; these capabilities are done in an automated fashion. The elasticity provides for a “pay as you go” concept that negates the need to build infrastructures for new products or new development projects. The cost savings are achieved through this elasticity. Its security model is designed to operate in a hostile environment and focuses on flexibility. The security model is best described as rather than building a big secure moat around a computing environment to protect data, have “armed guards” escort data every where it needs to go.

Read the full post here

I’ve heard a lot of wonderful things about Linda.  Many NASA people whose opinion I respect highly have nothing but praise for her leadership.  I look forward to meeting her sometime soon.

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