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How Do Open Government and Government 2.0 Relate to Each Other?

by Andrea Di Maio  |  September 3, 2010  |  2 Comments

I have just published a research note for Gartner clients with this same title. As its summary says, while many use the terms open government and Government 2.0 interchangeably, they are very different.

The note – which is available only to Gartner clients – starts looking at a number of existing definitions of open government (from US, UK, Australia), highlighting the similarities and then recalls the Gartner’s definition of Government 2.0 to make an actual comparison.

The three main differences are:

  • Open government is a subset of Government 2.0
  • Open government is about (trying to retain) control
  • Open government is top-down, Government 2.0 is bottom-up

I am pretty sure that some or all of these statements will find their critics, and I am sorry I cannot articulate them any further in here. Those who have access to Gartner research are very welcome to discuss and challenge these and the related advice emailing me or scheduling an analyst call.

However what you can derive is that open government by itself may not be as transformative as some people think.

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Andrea Di Maio
Managing VP
19 years at Gartner
33 years IT industry

Andrea Di Maio is a managing vice president for public sector in Gartner Research, covering government and education. His personal research focus is on digital government strategies, open government, the business value of IT, smart cities, and the impact of technology on the future of government Read Full Bio

Thoughts on How Do Open Government and Government 2.0 Relate to Each Other?

  1. Oliver Bell says:

    Thanks Andrea – this is an important set of distinctions that are all too often missed in my opinion.

    I do see a divide between the OpenGov and Gov20 communities in a lot of the countries that I have been looking at recently, and think that recognizing the differences in agenda between these two communities then encouraging them to communicate is key to making both agendas a success.

    Here is a clumsy article I wrote on the topic a little over a year ago;

  2. Dave Briggs says:

    I honestly would say it’s the other way round. Open government is bigger than government 2.0.

    Government 2.0 to me is the explicitly technical side of the current attempts to renew government and its relationship to citizens and service users. It asks, ‘how can technology and technologists help improve the way government does stuff’?

    But open government throws the net a lot wider, including everyone, not just technologists. Open government isn’t just about freedom of information. As per the O’Reilly definition, open government is about transparency, collaboration and participation. Technology plays a role in this but culture is just as, if not more so, important.

    I’d also say that as a label, open government is far more likely to get take up outside the geeky set (in which I would include myself!) than anything with obscure version numbering references in it.

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