Open Government Initiative

7 ideas to get more open government ideas

Someone secure the domain before a squatter does, because Uncle Sam is open for suggestions. While there are great ideas and engagement, there no doubt could be more activity. Whether it’s the White House or a major media firm wanting to do good, a solid PR effort would go a long way in getting more citizen interaction.

Here’s some ideas to get more open government ideas:

Create a campaign

Build a campaign around it. Make it a national effort. ‘America: Open for Ideas.’ Something. Bring it to the citizens.

Build a Web page

Create, make it a very simple page and link directly to all agency idea platforms. Not to the agency open pages. Not to the White House Open site. Just link directly to the online suggestion boxes.

Get a spokesman

It doesn’t need to be a celebrity or swimsuit model, but someone different than the U.S. CTO or CIO. Maybe it’s average citizens.

Make a video

Video is powerful. Produce a 1-minute video clip that promotes the Open Government Initiative and how citizens can share their ideas.

Put it on the home page

Home pages are the most visited page for any Web site. Every department or agency should link to their suggestion box directly from their home pages.

Reconsider the idea tool

I’m not convinced IdeaScale is the best tools for suggestions. I personally have user interface and design issues with it. It could be more intuitive and simpler to use.

Send the best ideas to White House

Championship sports teams get to meet the President, so should the All-Star Idea Team. Send citizens with the best idea for each agency to the White House with a Rose Garden photo shoot.

Manor reaches The White House

The White House The City of Manor’s open innovation platform, Manor Labs, is featured on the White House’s Open Government Initiative blog (Open Government Laboratories of Democracy).

Innovation is possible even in small cities with very small budgets. I hope that we can work with more cities to innovate new solutions for the public-sector.


Just as the federal government is using online brainstorming with government employees and the public to generate ideas for saving money or going green, state and local governments are also using new technology to tap people’s intelligence and expertise. The City of Manor, Texas (pop. 5800) has launched “Manor Labs,” an innovation marketplace for improving city services. A participant can sign up to suggest “ideas and solutions” for the police department, the municipal court, and everything in between. Each participant’s suggestion is ranked and rewarded with “innobucks.” These points can be redeemed for prizes: a million points wins “mayor for the day” while 400,000 points can be traded for a ride-along with the Chief of Police.

Manor is also one of the few cities currently using bar codes (known as QR or Quick Response Codes) to label physical locations around town. These bar codes can be scanned with a mobile phone to communicate historical and touristic information, data about the cost of a municipal services, or emergency management information. Manor is experimenting with techniques for providing different information to different audiences. If a resident scans a QR code outside a home for sale, she gets the floor plan and purchase price; the building inspector sees the inspection history; and the policy officer receives information about the current occupant.

You can keep up with the City of Manor’s innovative efforts at the new Manor 2.0 GovFresh page.