The Collaboration Project hosted a “lessons learned” forum last week on how agencies developed their Open Government Plans. I was particularly impressed with what the presenter from the Department of Housing and Urban Development said, so I dug a bit further and read its plan (or its exec sum). The presenter, Stan Buch, said the department initially approached the effort from a more tactical perspective — as a technology initiative — but quickly saw it as a strategic effort to help transform how the department achieves its mission goals.
As a result, the department is creating a program management office to spearhead its Open Government efforts, and it will operate under the department’s new chief operating officer, Estelle Richman. It’ll have working groups focused on technology, culture, and policy, in addition to specific mission-related initiatives.
More significantly, it has tied its Open Government initiatives into its department-wide strategic planning efforts and its “high priority goals” that are featured in the President’s budget. Specifically, it has identified a series of “bureaucracy busting” flagship initiatives, such as:
- Establish an innovation lab to explore ways to use mobile technology (i.e., cell phones) to provide better information to public housing residents – whether it is emergency information or the ability to provide on-the-spot resolution to problems.
- Proactively allocate homeless prevention aid to communities based on predictive analytics. HUD plans to use data sets from throughout the government to build predictive models and map-based visualizations of communities that may be at risk of increased homelessness. The data will be used to forestall potential waves of homelessness due to increased foreclosures, business bankruptcies that might wipeout pensions, etc.
- Build and host an on-line business practices exchange for non-profit housing providers to share ideas with each other. Helping community-based non-profits with tools, guidance, and connecting with each other will allow them to become “force multipliers” in their own communities, without the direct involvement of HUD.
Have you seen instances where other agencies have used their Open Government initiatives to leverage outcome-oriented, mission-related strategic initiatives?