What is open statecraft?

Next to e-participation and open data, there is a third aspect of open government, introduced here by Philipp Mueller.


“I propose the term open statecraft to introduce the managerial and strategic perspective, to open value creation. The term statecraft refers to the art of conducting state affairs, sometimes with sinister implication, as used by Macaulay (1855) in his Hist. Eng. xviii. IV. 163 A double treason, such as would have been thought a masterpiece of statecraft by the great Italian politicians of the fifteenth century. So open statecraft openly states the ambition of actors to utilize the logic of openness to achieve objectives. Anything else, would be insincere.

The core technologies of open value creation from a managerial perspective are the wiki (principle-based, user-generated platforms, with flexible moderation capacity), the forum (question driven user-generated knowledge platform), blogging (core message with feedback/discourse loop), social networks (such as Ning-communities or Facebook groups) and work flow management and visualization tools (Government resource planning, government process mapping tools, think SAP, Oracle, SugarCRM, etc.). Together they allow us to structure policy and administrative public value creation processes, by enhancing ideation (idea-generation), deliberation (commenting and discussion), collaboration (generating public values), and accountability (parsing data to hold government accountable).

In the discourse on open government the main focus has been on open data and new modes of participation, often without considering the political ramifications of these ideas. It sometimes even seems that the idea of thinking through the strategic, managerial, and political consequences of opening value chains is considered as untrue to the original idea of the concept or even “Machiavellian.” However, without the buy-in of political entrepreneurs that are able to structure open value creation processes, we will not get there. Utopianism without strategy spells disaster.

Therefore, we need to augment the technocratic ideas of open data and the democratic ideas of e-participation with the strategic, manegerial, or political perspective of open statecraft. Only if we offer a perspective that involves the power politics taking place in any institutional setting, can we realistically discuss and implement Open Government as a new form of collective action.”

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