Over Summer and Autumn 2014 Bigger Boat asked the question “How can we get more people involved, in more meaningful ways, in the governance of the public realm?”  We engaged leaders in the field of Open Government in the UK and internationally to understand both the challenges they face, and the strategies developed to address them.

Through this research the team interviewed over 40 pioneers across the field of Open Government to discover the world through their eyes. The insights here reflect their understanding of the challenges they face, as well as the vision they hold for what is possible.

You can read the A Bigger Boat for Open Government Final Report by clicking here.

Our approach has been to listen deeply, and turn the wisdom of those who are closest to a problem into new and never-considered ways to take collective action. The product is not a report. It is a call to action from those leading the way in the sector who are ready to step into their true potential.

In terms of next steps for A Bigger Boat For Open Government we plan to:

  • Hold a small number of one to one meetings with key stakeholders. Useful as a way to test the research findings, gauge future use of the work as a decision making tool and to assess whether funders might resource future incubation or advisory work that builds on the research, we will seek to meet with no more than six key stakeholders to present the research findings.
  • Convene funders. We’d like to see a group of funders convene to discuss the research and to explore what use they might make of it.
  • Support uptake by the existing constituency. Many existing actors in the field would benefit from seeing the sector afresh through the lens of the landscape map. We will seek to meet no more than six organisations to present the research and work with them to interpret their existing activities and future plans through this lens.

Beyond these small steps, all of which can be undertaken with little additional resourcing, there are two more substantial activities that we see as worthy of development:

  • Develop an advisory function. A mere glance at the landscape map reveals
    a lack of strategic thinking and coordination across the sector. Developing an advisory function, effectively a strategy and business development unit for the field, available to existing actors and new entrants could potentially improve and coordinate activity across the sector to realise increased efficiency and impact; and
  • Continue the work into the incubation phase of Bigger Boat. In-depth work over time to adapt and develop existing initiatives as well as to incubate some of the ideas identified in this work is naturally how the Bigger Boat process develops. If broadly acknowledged as a good idea by the above-outlined initial next steps we will seek substantial additional funding to run A Bigger Boat for Open Government as a collaborative incubator for at least 18 months.