Olympics of Open Government

The Open Government debate, implementation and ongoing innovation has parallels with the Olympic Games. The production of online forums, fact sheets, FOI disclosure and other administrative publishings have all helped progress, but it appears to be done with a sense of non-urgency and non-compliance.

Nations have joined the race to ‘gold’ in order to prove they are taking innovation and open government seriously. Many have spent real resources making substantial headway with tangible results. Australia has even mentioned the topics in its annual budget and established a department with the name ‘innovation’ in the title.

But real progress seems to stifled by actual achievement. Many in the fields of innovation and open government are under utilised and have no real funding to finance R&D. The open government premise, as stated in the tv series ‘Yes Minister’ is, by very nature, one of being in direct opposition.

As usual a core group of people continue to champion the cause and strive for real change by seeking executive champions to help drive policy and discussion which initiates and instils real change through focused effort.

The Olympic ideal has the same platform. Olympic hopefuls seek endorsement, funding and AOC recognition under their respective banners. The AOC makes a decision based, it seems, upon the possible return to investment and responds accordingly. The athletes strive, sacrifice, endure and over come years of training and heartache, sometimes without formal funding.

If they don’t produce, every four years, a podium finish, they are vilified by officialdom, media and certain elements of the public. More and more community is expecting more for less. Taxes and government assistance can only go so far and innovation is not always possible in some sectors. Similar the Olympics. As people go faster, jump higher, shoot straighter or throw further those nations able to keep pace or do better, without drugs, will need to innovate or just except ‘We can improve no further’ and except the thought.

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