Stefaneas, P., National Technical University of Athens
Open governance is a political ideology which promotes the application of the open source and open content to the every-day practices of democratic governance. An example is legislation that is open to the general public: this openness allows citizens to express their views on the government directly and in large numbers, and the collection of their opinions benefits policy and those who implement it, the law makers, because they can base their decision-making on a wide range of tangible and specific data. These views, moreover, can suggest many different approaches of how open governance can merge with actual government. A most crucial factor though concerns how to succeed processing the vast amount of information within an open source environment.
Few days after the Greek parliamentary elections of the 4th of October of 2009 the newly elected socialist government launched the Greek OpenGov.gr initiative. The idea was to render OpenGov.gr a major reference point to Greek public sphere, a “virtual” meeting point of the government and the citizens. Some early initiatives included open calls for the filling of governmental posts and for participation in commentary forums formed in order to discuss and deliberate online over proposed legislation. It received major publicity since it was the first time in Greece that software tools and the Internet were openly offered to the public at a large scale to interact directly with the government. In a society that only 18,3% of its citizens have advanced or good Internet skills this initiative generated remarkable media attention. This led to an unexpectedly large civic participation: applications for certain positions or comments on legislation sometimes numbered several thousand. An interesting similar initiative is Labs.OpenGov.gr. This is an open innovation contest for the redesign of electronic government services. The response from the citizens was remarkable and the 15 best proposals that received top ranking are under consideration for adoption by the Greek e-state. The socialist party now in government has long being engaged in a number of similar projects while still in opposition.
In our paper we are going to present the political and technical impact the OpenGov.gr initiative has had so far, by exposing the considerable interest this initiative generated as this interest was recorded in the media, electronic and print, and an assortment of political information sources. It is obvious that OpenGov.gr is a top-down approach to open e-government. We are going to present its dynamic capabilities using stage models for transformation as a key potential accelerator for political change of the Greek governance. Also, we are going to present the impact that such initiatives may have to fight corruption and compare it with other countries.