j.j. toothman

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Open Government is modern democracy

One of the major duh-slap-me-in-the-head moments for me at GOSCON was when Carolyn Lawson was describing the sometimes polarizing aspects of the term Open Government.  The dark side of the Open Government movement is that it is being referred to as a movement than many government officials consider to be the trendy topic du jour that will eventually past.  The other dark side to Open Government rears its ugly head when the meme finds itself caught in the midst of government politics, including campaign politics.

But the truth of the matter is that Open Government is simply a term which is being used to describe how government actually works in the modern technological age.  Open government is modern democracy.

GOSCON and Portland

I’m currently in Portland, Oregon attending the GOSCON conference where I gave a presentation titled “Open Source Community Principles for Organizational Change.”  The slides in my presentation can be found at the bottom of this post.  I’ve forgotten how wonderful a city Portland is.  I haven’t been here for about 13 years.  One of the things that makes it great is that Black Butte Porter can be found at draft everywhere.


A few thoughts on GOSCON

This is the best government tech conference I’ve attended so far.  The attendees are mostly people rolling up their sleeves and working Gov 2.0 and Open Gov issues.  There’s not a lot of need to do any convincing here.  Furthermore, the presentations are actually thought provoking and less along the lines of vendors pitching their solution.  Among the great conference content has been presentations about Civic Commons1

And the CONNECT project.  Which provides actual fiscal proof that Open Government and open source approaches can save taxpayer dollars.

And the food?  The food being served at GOSCON is ridiculously good.  I’m having a hard time thinking of conference that has server better food and used a more stylish venue than The Nines Hotel in Portland, Oregon.

  1. Which I totally amazed by.  Expect a post or two on Civic Commons in the future. 

Speaking at GOSCON Next Week


Quick note to mention that I’m headed to Portland, Oregon next week to speak at GOSCON – The Government Open Source Conference.  GOSCON is non-profit conference designed for government IT management. This years program focuses on the role of open source software and collaboration enabling leading Open Government and Transparency initiatives throughout the US.

I’ll be giving a presentation titled “Open Source Community Principles and Organizational Culture Change” that will discuss how practices adopted by open source software communities can be used within government institutions to help change organizational cultures and generally disrupt the status quo.

If you’re at GOSCON, do make sure to introduce yourself and say “hi!”

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