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!


8 Responses

  1. […] like to blog about in forthcoming entries:- presented in Malmo: my write-up and videos available here- spoke at pdf-europe: audio file available here- published the report of the workshop on public […]

  2. […] another take on the event there is a good article by osimod on the Open Declaration on Public Services […]

  3. Hi,
    and thanks for an inspiring presentation at the session. Your vision is really interesting and the following discussion on transparency was one of the highlights of the entire conference.

    I am one of the co-authors of the book “eGovernment of Tomorrow, Future Scenarios for 2020” (presented by my colleague Lennart Nordfors). If you or someone from your network are interested in a copy of the book, please don’t hesitate to contact me.


  4. Paul, David, you both did excellent work in bringing the Open Declaration on the radar in Malmö. I am glad I was able to be there for moral support. When I was handing out the paper versions of the Open Declaration at the start of the session there were some people apprehensive about accepting the piece of paper. As if we were doing a protest or something. But the video statement was a great thing and really changed the atmosphere. It turned the Open Declaration into the real voices of people from across the EU. And your explanation of the process helped the audience understand what it was they were seeing/listening to.

    Thanks a lot for all your effort in getting this to Malmö. I am happy to help out for the next steps.

  5. Congrats! Big impact reached!

    Now we must think about what next steps we are going to do.

  6. all
    thanks a lot for your nice words
    I feel we have the possibility to influence the action plan now. My idea would be to list a set of requests of actions that should be in the action plan. One for example would be …

  7. […] Declaration: Next Steps? Ministerial Declaration on eGovernment [PDF]: How to maximise the impact of the open declaration? […]

  8. […] Declaration: Next Steps? Ministerial Declaration on eGovernment [PDF]: How to maximise the impact of the open declaration? […]

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