The word ‘openness’ has a strong positive connotation. Open governments, Open Data, open societies. Being open is seen as a beneficial characteristic, especially in a societal context. Nevertheless, what does ‘openness’ exactly mean? The Economist Intelligence Unit states that openness relies on three pillars: opening democratic decision-making to strengthen citizen participation; opening government information resources to public use; and opening the process of social innovation to a wider community of stakeholders.
The first pillar emphasizes the development towards a platform democracy with greater engagement of citizens in political processes. Secondly, openness refers to open information. The governmental process of publishing Open Data shapes accountability and self-awareness, while overcoming cross-department differences and privacy challenges. The third pillar has the potential to accelerate social innovation. Open communities of citizens, businesses, non-profit organisations and governmental organisations are assumed to be more innovative and powerful than each of these entities on their own.
By keeping these three dimensions in mind, openness will lead to engaged, informed and innovative societies. All in all, the future of ‘openness’ looks bright and deserves its positive reputation.
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