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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

May 21, 2009 at 10:25 AM

Survey Analytics tapped for Obama open government Web discussion

Seattle startup Survey Analytics landed its first government contract, and it’s a big one.

The company’s helping the White House with its open-government push, powering a new “open government brainstorming” site launched today by the Obama Administration’s Office of Science & Technology Policy and the National Academy of Public Administration.

Survey Analytics’ IdeaScale crowdsourcing platform is providing a way for citizens to suggest and discuss ideas for increasing the openness and transparency of the federal government. The Web tool also lets participants vote on other people’s ideas, search the ideas and spread the word via email. It’s behind this “participate” button at WhiteHouse.gov.

Here’s the site’s intro:

On January 21st, the President issued the Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government, calling for an unprecedented level of openness in government. In the memorandum, the President outlined three principles for promoting a transparent and open government: transparency, participation, and collaboration. Now, the President is calling on you to help shape how that commitment is fulfilled. This online brainstorming session, open from May 21st to 28th, 2009, will enable the White House to hear your most important ideas relating to open government.

Survey Analytics Chief Executive Vivek Bhaskaran said it was a learning experience for the company. For instance, it learned that because of First Amendment free speech protections, the government can’t delete public comments submitted to the site.

Survey Analytics also had to buy additional servers to handle the anticipated load, but he said it’s worthwhile for the visibility and potential future government business.

Comments | More in | Topics: crowdsourcing, ideascale, Public policy

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