open source policy

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A work-in-progress on open sourcing policy development, from Oz think tank the Centre for Policy Development: http://cpd.org.au

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  • Yes - sorry about that. In the trade-off between including more of my notes & making it readable in small-screen we went for the former. But it's cc-licensed - so if people want to cut it up & make more presentation-friendly formats they can.

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  • Hi y'all - this isn't the virgin presentation but a version that Barry & I fixed up for slideshare - with a few extra notes from what I actually said on the day. Please ignore the 'All Rights Reserved' sign - this slideshare is CC-licensed (attribution, sharealike). Contact miriam dot lyons at cpd.org.au if you have any questions. We're also turning this topic into a short paper over at http://policydevelopment.wikispaces.com/opensourcepolicy
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  • *Digital divide still exists - important not to forget that. Fabulous word L33Tspeak - elite.*Internet is not the only asset needed for effective participation - cultural, educational assets too - those barriers will exist in any medium. *Not everyone is interested in everything. Apathy exists, people have lives. Rather than including everyone in every decision, this is about including more ppl in more decisions, more easily. (80 20 rule for online communities) Groups like moveon (US) & Get Up - even the 8000 subs to 2020summit demonstrate an appetite - if it’s made easy & rewarding.blogging, twittering...What about the Westminster tradition? Public servants aren’t supposed to have opinions! How can I be free & fearless when everyone’s looking over my shoulder! 2020summit pushing for lowering the number of years before cabinet documents released to the public from 30 to 10. Sticky note story. There are tradeoffs. But erring on side of disclosure is still better bet. *Other concern - pub servs show personality or have ind opinions then our fine Westminster traditions will come crashing down around our ears... Two arguments against that. 1 is that it’s dying already. Politicisation of Aust public service well underway - certain events during Howard government era removed any doubt about that. In such circumstances increased openness about what advice is being given by whom can only help independence. Other argument is that all this is doing is spreading the fame around to people below executive level 1. Some public servants do develop very public personalities. We know that Treasury Secretary Ken Henry cares about the future of the hairy-nosed wombat, for example. Is that a breach of the APS code? It's a matter of public record that he's personally passionate about intergenerational policy thinking. Does that compromise the APS value of providing 'impartial' advice? IF the answer is 'no', then why would the answer change for anyone further down the departmental hierarchy?
  • open source policy

    1. 1. Open-sourcing policy development Miriam Lyons, Executive Director, Centre for Policy Development (with thanks to Barry Saunders & sparksman)
    2. 2. “ ...laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind...as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors. Thomas Jefferson, 1816 Thomas Jefferson, 1816 ” ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au
    3. 3. Why is this interesting? • • This presentation looks at specific experiments This presentation focuses on the online side, but with online citizen engagement, but it's mainly it's important to recognise that innovations in about giving an overview of the broader trends oquot;ine engagement - like citizens juries, that these tools and tactics are part of. If online community cabinets, 'world cafes' and '21st engagement was just about making decisions century dialogues' are also important and are and making policy in exactly the same way in a part of the same trend. di!erent medium, none of this would be particularly exciting. • This talk is building on some research our Democratic Renewal Coordinator and I are • What makes it exciting is that we are starting to working on, please check http://cpd.org.au or see - both on and oquot;ine - a much-needed http://policydevelopment.wikispaces.com/opens upgrade of democracy’s operating system - one ourcepolicy for more information (we'd love your which might be more capable of handling the input!) ever more complex problems we expect it to solve. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au
    4. 4. What do you mean, open source? Open source policy: Open source software: •Information behind decisions & •Code is published decision-making process is readily available •Code can be edited by anyone, without permission (or rather, permission is •Participating in policy development is preemptively granted via open source easy licencing) •Culture & communities of •Distributed community collaborates collaborative policy development on continuous improvement of the code emerge ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au
    5. 5. Open Source cont. • This is by no means a definitive list of the features of open source software, but the ones most relevant to policy development. Open source software was the first of many ‘open movements’ - closely followed by open publishing (indymedia), open editing (wikipedia) (both now called open content), and more recently ‘open access’. • Important point: many brains better than one – most web2.0 icons - from wikipedia to amazon - rely on this. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au
    6. 6. What do you mean, open source policy? Open source software: •transparency (you can see its brain) •participation (you can tinker with it) •collaboration (the software is part of a community dedicated to improving it) Open source policy: •transparency/access (default disclosure of information by public bodies) •participation (you can tinker with that information and/or contributing to policy is easy) •collaboration (process of policy development opens up to a wider circle of contributors) ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au
    7. 7. What doesn’t it mean? • Getting rid of offline engagement • Constant participation by everyone in everything • aph.gov.au/bigbrother ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au
    8. 8. Let's not get carried away... • • digital divide still Westminster exists tradition: public servants don't have • internet is not the opinions only asset needed for • effective is that a problem? participation • not everyone is interested in everything ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au
    9. 9. Background: open access • Beyond Freedom of Information: proactive publishing of as much information as possible, in as timely, useful, and re-useable fashion as possible • Access is about more than making data public, it must also be usable ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au
    10. 10. Open access goes beyond policy-making ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au
    11. 11. Shift to open access won't be smooth (The website of a federal open access enthusiast can be held back by the websites of individual departments/other levels of government) http://www.economicstimulusplan.gov.au/community_infrastructure.htm http://www.recovery.gov/?q=content/accountability-and-transparency ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au
    12. 12. “ Open Government Data Principles Government data shall be considered open if it is made public in a way that complies with the principles below: 1. Complete: All public data is made available. Public data is data that is not subject to valid privacy, security or privilege limitations. 2. Primary: Data is as collected at the source, with the highest possible level of granularity, not in aggregate or modified forms. 3. Timely: Data is made available as quickly as necessary to preserve the value of the data. 4. Accessible: Data is available to the widest range of users for the widest range of purposes. 5. Machine processable: Data is reasonably structured to allow automated processing. 6. Non-discriminatory: Data is available to anyone, with no requirement of registration. 7. Non-proprietary: Data is available in a format over which no entity has exclusive control. 8. License-free: Data is not subject to any copyright, patent, trademark or trade secret regulation. Reasonable privacy, security and privilege restrictions may be allowed. Source: Open Government Working Group http://resource.org/8_principles.html ” ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au
    13. 13. Who's driving the open access agenda? • 'Open' enthusiasts • Media & FOI advocates (more in the UK than in Australia, where there is not yet widespread recognition that investigative journalism isn't just about finding hidden data but also about finding patterns in public data) • Content conduits (Google and Yahoo were both represented on the 'Open Government Working Group' which came up with the 8 principles on the previous page). Just as media companies support FOI, content conduits support open access. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au
    14. 14. Who’s doing open access well? • • UK’s Office of Public Sector Australian Bureau of Information (OPSI) Statistics (ABS) http://www.opsi.gov.uk/iar/index http://tinyurl.com/cak84w ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au
    15. 15. Background: collaborative governance • Proliferation of ‘influencers’ • Declining trust in large institutions • Increasing proportion of public service work involves ‘wicked problems’ http://www.apsc.gov.au/publications07/wickedprobl • Need to solve complex problems and cut through information overload quickly and with limited resources ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au
    16. 16. “ Ego-centric thinking Network-centric thinking Information-sharing, distributed power, Ego, competition, cultures of empowering people to seek personality, resistance to affinity and exercise influence, knowledge sharing, access to Values promiscuously sharing information is seen as a information; building source of strategic power; the relationships, managing organisation knows best knowledge; the network knows more than we do Transparent, collaborative; Top-down hierarchy; authority distributed decision-making Structures and decision-making opening itself up to the reserved to the top or centre contributions of its members ” Communication Members to 'centre' Members to each other Source: Edited version of table in Martin Weeks' ‘From Control to networks’, in Beyond the Policy Cycle, 2006 ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au
    17. 17. “ Experimentation and discovery are a more effective route to improving system performance than centralised design. Jake Chapman, ‘System Failure’ Demos UK ” ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au
    18. 18. “ The best way to have good ideas is to have lots of ideas, and then to discard the bad ones Linus Pauling ” ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au
    19. 19. Where’s Australia at? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au
    20. 20. “ ‘The Rudd Government is…keen to explore the ways technology can be used to establish more immediate and collaborative relationships between government and citizen. It is clear that in the long term the kind of output unlocked by Web 2.0 platforms will have a dramatic impact on policymaking processes and the institutions of government.’ Lindsay Tanner, Minister for Finance & Deregulation, May 2008 ” ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au
    21. 21. Australia.gov.au: •Single sign-on for multiple govt websites •Portal for public inquiries •So far focus is on services, not participation – e-governance, not e- democracy. •Still early stages – may change. Minister Tanner pledged a focus on ‘innovation, collaboration and reuse’ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au
    22. 22. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au
    23. 23. What tools are being used? •Modernised-traditional (web1.0 government sites with a few more convenient features – e.g. online submissions) •Blogs (Digital economy blog trial, HREOC listening tour blog) •Forums (Early Childhood Learning Framework) •Wikis (Melbourne future plan) ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au
    24. 24. DBCDE: trial consultation blog Blog was flooded with protests against net filtering, & reception to blog itself was mixed... ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au
    25. 25. “ 1. It looks like a government department website 2. It reads like a government department website 3. There's an uncomfortable distance between the bloggers and the readers 4. Comments only during business hours 5. It's only open for two weeks 6. Will your words be twisted into a mandate? 7. It has a quot;terms of servicequot; 8. It's only open to over 18s 9. Readers must agree to pay all Australian government legal costs 10. P.S. Please excuse any lies we may tell Source: Dan Warne, editor of computing mag APC ‘The 10 sins of Senator Conroy, the blogger’ ” http://apcmag.com/the_10_sins_of_senator_conroy.htm ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au
    26. 26. • Trial blog was a commendable initiative - in one way the Department of Broadband, Communications & the Digital Economy did exactly the right thing - trial. Experimenting even if the tools aren’t quite right & you don’t know exactly what you’re doing is how good websites evolve. But some lessons can still be drawn from DBCDE's teething pains: • pick the right tool for the job (a forum may have worked better in this case, allowing the cleanfeed debate to sit alongside debate on other questions, which were also important) • know the culture of the tool you’re using (regular responses, not once every 2- 3 days) • If you don’t have a good internal website set-up, why not use an o!-the shelf open-source platform that everyone’s familiar with? A wordpress blog would have been much easier to manage and use. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au
    27. 27. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au
    28. 28. “ HREOC listening tour blog featured personal stories which encouraged readers to respond with their own stories Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick's posts were signed 'Liz' & included comments ” about having the kids in tow on the tour. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au
    29. 29. 2020 summit online ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au
    30. 30. appropriate tech • 8000 submissions • simple to use • participation beyond the bleeding edge l33t nerds ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au
    31. 31. But did miss opportunities. Citizen- to-centre participation, not citizen-to-citizen collaboration. Search function is basic – doesn't allow people to easily discover whether someone else has submitted the same idea Contrast with Getup.org.au's 2020 website:members can rate each other's ideas & add comments – categorisation is intuitive. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au
    32. 32. Submissions to tax review – sort by date or author – no information on which of the terms of reference are referred to Submissions to National Human Rights Consultation – contributors select primary & secondary categories while making submission online. Published submissions ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ can be browsed under http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 these categories. Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au
    33. 33. Other tools: wikis Melbourne City Council used a wiki to get feedback on its strategic plan. The site received 30,000 page views from 7,000 unique visitors while the wiki was active, with 200+ edits made by 150 participants. Wikis work best as a crowdsourcing tool – there are as yet no examples of a government wiki attracting a crowd. This may not be a handicap for some purposes, such as facilitating the contributions of an interested & informed community to a specific document. But there are easier jobs that can be crowdsourced...
    34. 34. Active crowdsourcing: research ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au
    35. 35. Passive crowdsourcing: taxonomy & navigation ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au
    36. 36. Ingredients of successful online engagement Culture & leadership: Right tool for the right job: •starting small •blogs •willingness to experiment •forums •adapting as much as possible to the culture •wikis of the medium •independence? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au
    37. 37. The right tool... • • Blogs: targeted short-term consultations Wikis: facilitating group collaboration on a with clear terms of reference, or long-term single text, work most effectively when platforms for discussion & ideas used for collaboration between like-minded development contributors, or to quickly compile fact- based content (such as directories and encyclopedias). Successful wikis tend to • Forums: consulting on a wide range of have a core ‘community’ of contributors topics, sparking discussion & throwing up who have a clear understanding of the ideas rather than developing in-depth & purpose of the site and act to mediate considered position statements. Can hand contributions which deviate from that more power over to participants by shared understanding. As such, they take allowing anyone to start a new topic time to reach their full potential. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au
    38. 38. Recap: advantages of online engagement • Accessible : online forums are more accessible to people in remote areas or less mobile people who rarely get a chance to participate in public meetings. • Engaging : some tools, such as consultation blogs, can be more informal and inviting than formal inquiries. This can open up opportunities to involve a wider group of people in generating more creative ideas. • Collaborative : Most consultation processes focus on the communication of groups and individuals’ ideas to a central committee, with little opportunity for horizontal communication between those being consulted. Used well, online tools can potentially increase the quality and depth of ideas that emerge from a consultation process. • Cheap : it’s cheaper to run a website than a series of public meetings, cheaper to collect & compile more information more quickly using a wiki, etc. • Easy : Tap into the energy and ideas of busy people who find it difficult to make time for traditional forms of community involvement but love having a say through a quick and simple online form. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au
    39. 39. Ideas • ‘Open inquiries’: policy sandboxes, contributor profiles, tag-based search & indexing, rss feeds • ‘Open briefings’: what if general public could also make requests for research papers & background notes from the parliamentary library? What if these briefings were crowdsourced? • ‘Open images’: all government departments release images on flikr under creative commons licenses ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au
    40. 40. Further reading • http://cpd.org.au/category/all-articles/democratic-re • http://policydevelopment.wikispaces.com/opensourc • http://twitter.com/centrepolicydev • http://delicious.com/tag/opensourcepolicy ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ http://cpd.org.au | Level 7, 280 Pitt St, Sydney 2000 Phone 02 9264 0263 | Email contact@cpd.org.au

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