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Words From Charlie - Introduction to the FOCAS 2013 Report

The Forum on Communications and Society (FOCAS) is one of the premiere roundtables that the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program convenes in a given year. This year’s Forum, “Beyond the Tools: Connecting Citizens and their Governments,” is the second gathering in a two part series on the topic of open governance. Participants of the Forum set out to accomplish two main objectives:

Enhance the relationships among localities and their publics in advancing participatory government;

Find ways to institutionalize and measure the innovative techniques and talents for open governance.

The 2013 FOCAS report is a series of blogs written by Reboot Principal and Co-Founder Panthea Lee. They document the discussions, ideas and outcomes of these main objectives and advance the thinking and implementation of creative open governance solutions.

With this convening and others we aim for new insights on our topics, but also for significant impact. This is difficult for a single conference to achieve, but we are proud that the 2013 FOCAS Forum has already resulted directly in the formation of ODI USA – the Open Data Institute of the United States. Emulating the UK-based Open Data Institute model, ODI USA will pull together disparate players at the federal, state and local levels to advance the cause of open data and open governance.

Thanks to the Knight Foundation for supporting both FOCAS and this ODI initiative, and to Waldo Jaquith, FOCAS participant, for taking on the leadership of the new ODI USA.

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