Late DigitalLunch: What would OpenGovernment in Northern Ireland look like?

A date for your diary.  On Wednesday 14th January we’re hosting what we hope will be a vigorous and enlightening online discussion on some of the newly launched Northern Ireland Open Government Network.

We’ll also be joined by Peter Osborne and, I hope, other members of the independent #OpenGov Network.

Guest speakers will include John Barry of Queens University Belfast, Tim Hughes of Involve, and Matilda Murday of Democratic Society, each of whom will make very short presentations on what can be done in slightly different areas of interest.

It will take up the #DigitalLunch format we’ve used successfully in the past to open a better public understanding of what #OpenGovernment could mean in the context of Northern Ireland.

It’s not about setting an agenda for the network, so much as opening the book what might become a functional agenda.

We’re now at stage, and not just in Northern Ireland, where governments and other big democratic institutions need the informed intelligence of wider populations more than ever to help them make good decisions.

And since much of the pressure for these kinds of approaches are borne in by technological (ontological, even) pressures, I don’t think it’s a passing phase. As Bill Gates once famously said…

We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.

You can join us live by video link on Slugger, at my own channel on YouTube, or the event page Google Plus. We are, as ever, hungry for your questions, queries and thoughts. For social media, just tag them with #OpenGovNI and we will pick them up as we go along!

Note too that we’ve set the time for evening deliberately so people can make it after work/ making the tea/ putting the kids to bed*.

*Delete as appropriate


  • So excited by such a representative section of diverse opinion, but sadly won’t be able to join what will be an inspiring session. I am sure there will be lots of practical suggestions put forward. Look forward to seeing the outworking of this event.

  • mickfealty

    Ah, it’s a not intended to be a representative pick TD (that’s what’s we vote en masse to do). Besides, all of these things will stand or fall on the degree of enthusiasm they are capable of generating.

    As I note above, I don’t think the issue is entirely political matter since pre the internet it wasn’t considered practical never mind desirable to ask the Hoi polloi what they think about anything much to do with government.

    It might be a case of repeating Tim Worstall’s great description of those most powerful within a democracy being those who can stay awake in committee.

    I personally would consider that to be a poor start.

  • …and these days opinion is offered without even asking, raised to the level of profound statement and turned into petitions at the click of a button. Now you too can be a part of a demagogic mob without ever leaving the comfort of your sofa.

  • Chris McCracken

    There is a great blog post from the RSA on how cities learn. Local leadership and effective dialogue are key drivers of innovation and improvement; and Belfast has much to learn from best practice across Europe. Open government can be an important tool in supporting positive change.