How do we maximise our impact?

Here are some thoughts from me on possible next steps:

1) Write to all or some of the ministers who signed the Ministerial Declaration asking them to endorse the Open Declaration and say a) what are the top things their government has already done to implement this agenda b) what are the top things their government intends to do to take it forward in the next 12 months.

We could then do some assessment of the replies that we received and use them as a basis for campaigning in individual countries. And for looking for potential best practices that we could get other countries to sign up to etc.

2) Invite regional/local governments and public sector organisations to sign up and then highlight any positive steps they take to implement the three principles

3) Try to do some specific work in individual Member States, e.g. have a co-ordinator in the countries where we got the most support and then in each country try to do something with mutual support, encouragement and inspiration via this website/facebook etc

4) Talk to the Commission/Presidency about how we might support them in drawing up the Action Plan and ensure that the Action Plan reflects our three principles which were generally well received at Malmo.

5) As part of this, do as David suggested and try to develop a list of key things EU countries should do in the three areas.

What do people think? which of these things should we do or should we do other things?

What are the key policy action that should be in the next EU e-gov action plan?

Dear readers

let’s start thinking about the next steps. The EC is drafting now the e-gov action plan. The old one is here.

We now need to think about concrete policy measures that we would like to be in it, in order to achieve the goals of transparency, participation and empowerment.

What do you suggest? Of course you are free to look at our original policy recommendations. Please try to be brief and concrete.

Back from Malmo Ministerial Conference on e-gov

Here is our resume from Malmo, where we achieved our goal to officially present the Open Declaration at the Ministerial Conference.

The conference was similar to the previous ministerial conferences. There was a notable increase in the number of talk on web 2.0, participation and power of information: however, these were quite general and high-level. The evolution seems to be that in 2007 there was only one talk about web 2.0 in a lunch-time tutorial, while it was in virtually every session in 2009. Will all this talk have an impact?
The Ministerial Declaration showed a new, positive attention to participation and transparency, placed as the first policy priority. However the commitments are general and not very strong.
It is worth noting that the Open Declaration was presented in a parallel session (you can see the whole video cast here), while the Industry Declaration was presented in plenary, alongside the Ministerial Declaration. This risks conveying the message the voice of industry is more important than citizens when it comes to influencing e-government policy. But let’s not forget: we are not the official representatives of citizens, and it was therefore a great positive step from the European Commission and the Swedish Presidency to accept us in the official programme.

We also attended the popular conference , albeit briefly. It was good and inspirational – thanks to William and all the organisers.

THE PRESENTATION (full video cast here)
We tried our best to represent all of us and have a real impact. When asked about who we are, while all other speakers mentioned their companies and services offered, we said we represent a Facebook group of 1500 citizens.
To mark the difference from traditional e-government presentation, we had no powerpoint but a simple script, which you can read here. We explained the context and the process, and showed the video of people reading the declaration.
You could see this had a real impact on the audience. There was a spontaneous applause at the end of it.
We concluded asking government to endorse this declaration, and that we expect (not ask) the European Commission to open up the process of defining the Action Plan.

The presentation was very well received, all the discussion focused on our intervention and one comment was that finally we see one example of walking the talk on web2.0, after too many speeches. There were also doubts about the low number of people involved, and the possibility to implement it.
Most importantly, you could see a real difference in how people treated the Open Declaration at the beginning and at the end of the conference. While we were barely mentioned at the beginning, in the conclusions most speakers mentioned it and Minister Odell (Sweden) said that government should meet the challenge of the Open Declaration.

In summary, we had an impact. We are in a position to have “some kind” of influence on policies. Where do we go from here?
Our idea is to open up the institutional process of drafting the official Action Plan and influence it. We will have to structure our proposal to make them as concrete as possible.
We also call government of all levels to endorse the declaration, as the Municipality of Bologna has done. If you represent a public administration, you can still use the existing site to give your endorsement, but please add a contact or some details on whether the endorsement is official.

Concretely, we will use this blog to organize our work. The Facebook group remains as a dissemination and engagement tool. On the other hand, the Steering/Rowing Committee has ended its purpose and it is therefore dissolved. A new one will be created in the next weeks or so – if you are interested let us know.

Finally, we must thank all the people who worked on the Open Declaration. It was a privilege for us to channel the voice of so many interested and interesting people in the official debate. THANKS!

The full presentation in Malmo

For those of you who were not in Malmo, here is the full text of the presentation we gave (without ppt)

Paul: This session is about traditional egovernment in 2020. But we need to go beyond e-government. After 10 years of effort how different is bureaucracy today from what Max Weber described over one hundred years ago? But change is coming. It is happening everyday – from the bottom up and from the outside in.

David: E-government has delivered some improvement, but it was too technology-focused: the web has been considered a tool to automate online services, while its main impact is on people’s connection and collaboration – but the awards of yesterday don’t reflect this point. It is now time for a much more comprehensive change programme.

Paul: Web2.0 has to go from a good topic for conference speeches into the daily practice. And that will only come if we open up public sector organizations and multiply the incentives to letting citizens look inside and civil servants reach out to the public.We believe e-government policies in Europe could learn from the open, transparent and user-driven culture of the web. Today’s web citizens are ready to engage positively with government to help design a strategy to improve public services and drive change in the public sector.

David: So a group of Web 2.0 enthusiasts launched an open, collaborative effort to bring together and crystallize the web 2.0 culture in a concrete statement to be presented here today. This is an Open Declaration, alongside the Ministerial Declaration and the Industry Declaration. We aim to encourage governments “from the outside”.

Paul: This is a model of innovation without permission. First we launched the collaborative exercise. Then we asked the Commission if we could present it in Malmo. We used 12 collaborative tools to produce this declaration involving hundreds of citizens in a totally open process. The total technology costs were 55 Euros. We kept the process constantly under review and made many changes but in a transparent way.

David: This is not a statement written in the room by the two of us.. We had 800 votes in the brainstorming phase, 60 comments to the draft, and over 1500 endorsements on the website and in the facebook group. We do not claim to be representative of all EU citizens, but we are a sizeable number of people from all EU countries who were happy to collaborate on a voluntary basis to improve  our public services. And in the process we had fun and learnt. Here is the result: We have a text both simple and concrete. It calls on government to put transparency, participation and empowerment at the core of e-government policy.

Paul: But this is the beginning not the end. We think our three principles could reinforce and strengthen the Ministerial Declaration. Some authorities have already endorsed it – the City of Bologna unanimously adopted the declaration last Monday. We ask other governments and public sector organisations to endorse the declaration on our website

David: This declaration is not just an abstract statement. We thank the EC and the Swedish presidency for letting us speak here today. As the Ministerial Declaration states “Increased public engagement enhances government’s efficiency and effectiveness and improves the quality of its decisions and services.” The people who co-created the Open Declaration are a precious resource in the effort to improve European public services. We now expect the EC to take this declaration into account in the action plan – and to open up the action plan process to public review and input.

Endorsement progressing fast, but need to be faster!

We reached 1200 endorsement on the We need to reach 200o by the end of the week

We also have 1400 subscribers on Facebook . We use the Facebook group to coordinate the work.

So please follow us on facebook and get as many people as possible to endorse the declaration.




We passed 500 endorsements mark! Thanks to Germany!

A first good passing point. We have 521 endorsements, accelerating fast thanks to a surge in German endorsement.

Spain is now still first and reached 100. Germany is second with 87.

Obviously far from our goal still, but endorsement rate is accelerating.


Chart with more than 500 endorsements

319 endorsement received, Spain still leading

Here is the update on endorsements:

ES    91
GR    49
NL    49
IT    34
UK    20
PT    14
DE    13
BE    9
AT    8
DK    8
Other    8
FI    5
FR    3
SE    3
IE    2
HU    1
LU    1
RO    1
Grand Total    319

206 endorsement received, Spain leading

We received 206 endorsements so far. Here’s the division by country. While some said that this exercise was too UK-centric, in reality Spain and Netherland are far more active. Needless to say, we need many more endorsement, at least 2000! Hopefully now that we have the translated version it will be easier – Jens just provided us with the German translation!

ES    73
NL    28
IT    25
GR    20
UK    14
BE    8
DE    8
Other    7
FI    5
AT    4
FR    3
DK    2
IE    2
PT    2
SE    2
HU    1
LU    1
RO    1

Translating the Open Declaration: now available in Greek Catalan and Spanish

We asked for help, and help arrived. We asked 2 days ago you to translate the declaration in other EU language, and we now have it in Catalan, Greek and Spanish. Thanks a lot to Alexander Kidonakis, Damià Casas, Diego and Serafí Pujol,

We look forward to receiving translations in other languages so that it will be easier to receive endorsements from all over Europe.

And after you translate it, please invite people in your country to endorse the declaration.

Open Declaration is published. Now let’s endorse it!

Here is final version of the open declaration. Now let’s get as many people as possible to ENDORSE it!


We all did a great job together to make it comprehensive and meaningful. But we’re not done!!!

We now need as many people as possible to endorse it. Please visit the dedicated website and register your endorsement. Help us spreading the word and get as many friends as possible to endorse it.

We have one month to collect thousands of endorsement and make EU government listen to it!