Following our successful work on the Open Declaration, I have been invited by the World Congress on IT, which takes place end of May in Amsterdam. There, for the first time, governments and industry players have agreed a political declaration, which spells out the key objectives for IT policy for the next years.
My job, with Ton Zijstra and James Burke, was to dynamize the declaration so that it has a real impact. The actual goals of the declaration are widely shared, and they’re not much different from any IT policy. We need to create critical engagement, and to inspire action.
The interest here is in using the Declaration as a platform in Tim O’Reilly sense: rather than focussing on the Declaration itself, let’s talk about how to make it happen. Government can’t reach the goals alone: let’s reach out to collective intelligence to build action on top of the Declaration – just like the iPhone and Facebook let others build application for their platform.
So we designed a website titled “let’s make it happen” where we build on
top of the declaration in two ways:
a) by commenting on the Declaration about what actions are needed
b) by adding inspiring projects that show how the Declaration goals can be achieved
The first option, using commentpress, it allows anybody to comment directly on the specific paragraph of the Declaration. I am a big fan of commenting tools, and in the process I discovered Digress.it, which is even better – and by the way, it is an outcome of a research project, thereby an interesting gov20 technological innovation.
Secondly, I needed to visualize action so that people are encouraged to contribute. So we have a dynamic map where any project added is automatically visualized on a GoogleMap.

Overall, I think we have a good tool and an example of how to make a policy declaration not a static document, but a platform for action. We will add new features over the following days – watch that space!

What do you think? Is it well designed and thought? What could make it better?

And please: add your inspiring projects and your comments on the Declaration text (pdf). We need smart people to make the Declaration a meaningful policy tool.