Because it’s not how to build community, it’s how you build your community.

Every agency, office, and department is unique, each with a specific mission, culture, and constituency. If you want to make the most of what you have, you have to understand and leverage these fundamentals. Yep yep, we can help with that.

14 November 2015

Sign Up to Save the World

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WayneBurkeSo you saw me at TEDx Beacon Street, huh?!? Well, cool. If you’re here, I’m going to guess you’re inspired – or at least think I may be on to something. Excellent. I was hoping for that.

The theme of TEDx Beacon Street is Ideas into Action. The talk is about the idea. If you’re ready for action, add a comment below telling everyone what you’re ready to do! Depending on who responds and what you all want to do, we’ll find ways to work together and support each other. Because I truly believe this is the right path to saving the world.

Here is the direct link to the talk itself, but if you want the quick overview, here are some highlights:

  • To me, “How to Save the world” means “How to Solve Big Problems”
  • In order to do that, you have to create system change, and even more specifically, you have to change culture and policy.
  • It is easier to change culture first.
  • Unconferences are cool.
  • The industrial age was organized by hierarchy and run by bureaucracy.
  • The information age is organized by empowering individuals and the ease of information exchange that digital communication provides.
  • We are in the middle of a transitional change from a culture dominated by Baby Boomers to a culture dominated by Millennials. Boomers love independent thought and Millennials love working together. The result of working together for too long is group think, which independent thought breaks. The result of too much independent thought is the belief that only your idea is right and gridlock. Working together is necessary to break the gridlock and solve problems.
  • An organization built for Millennials in the Information Age would provide:
    • An issue-driven mission (ie, not perspective-driven)
    • Space for the magic to happen (the org is merely a facilitator)
    • Empowerment for its members (so they can connect, learn, experiment, share)

Let’s do this!

25 May 2012


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It’s good to have friends when you’re spreading an important message. Thanks to the following blogs for helping to distribute Moldova Re-Invents the Hackathon. It has been cross-posted in these locations in order to reach all of the relevant audiences across the world:

I expect a few more to come online and will update this post as that happens.

17 May 2012

I’m published on OGP!

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Check out this nice post about the upcoming activities in Moldova:

11 October 2011

Canceled! Tonight's Open Forum

Due to unforeseen illness (is there any other kind?), I have to cancel tonight’s Open Forum at Bar Dupont.

My sincere apologies for any inconvenience but I’m really not fit to leave the house.


7 October 2011

October Open Forum

Hi!! I'm Wayne.

Next Tuesday, we’re gathering here in DC for a fall Open Forum. If we’re lucky, we’ll get to sit outside and enjoy the nice weather!

If you’re interested in communication with government, culture change, community engagement, or general open government implementation; join us for stimulating conversation in a relaxed atmosphere.

That’s me in the picture, and you can find me there every second Tuesday of the month from 5:30 – 7:30pm. If you don’t see us, check in on my Twitter stream or tweet me to ask where we’re hiding!

When: 10 October 2011, 5:30 – 7:30 pm
Where: Bar Dupont, DC [map]

3 October 2011

Owning Transparency

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I’m excited to announce the Open Forum Foundation’s very first official publication:

A Guide to Owning Transparency

How Federal Agencies can Implement and Benefit from Transparency

[Get it here]

This work is based on the in-person discussions hosted during the Focus Forum Owning Transparency: People, Processes, and Technology at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) on February 18th, 2011 and contains some remarkable contributions by a host of academic authors that have been involved in OPM’s Open Government implementation since the beginning.

In addition, the fabulous Maxine Teller helped edit the document!

Here’s the Executive Summary – check it out. »

11 July 2011

Help Us Help NASA

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We’re looking to hire some Remote Engagement Assistants for a really cool gig.

With NASA.

You know you want it. Here’s the posting: »

16 June 2011

Collaborative Code and Culture Change

I moderated the Collaborative Code Panel at the OpenGovDC Conference on Tuesday and was pleasantly surprised at the focus of the discussion. »

19 January 2011

Our First Real Grant!!

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Sure, we’ve gotten donations and put on successful events, but for the first time in Open Forum history, we’ve received a grant for work we’re about to do!! It’s pretty exciting, and with any luck, the first of many such announcements this year.

So here’s the gist: There’s a nonprofit called the Open Identity Exchange (OIX) that was created to act as a trust framework provider for a trust framework developed by the federal government to enable citizens to engage with the government more easily.

What does that mean? A trust framework is a set of rules and regulations for an industry. Anyone who wants to play a part in the system has to follow the rules. In this context, the trust framework sets out rules for companies to act as identity providers, so that the federal government doesn’t have to manage passwords and authentication and all of that complexity. OIX’s role is to audit and ensure that everyone is following the rules. For more information, check out the explanations on their website.

Why are they giving us money? OIX is the first organisation created solely to act as a trust framework provider in the identity space. Since they are strong believers in this type of market-oriented solution, they have several active working groups developing other trust frameworks that they could then operate as well [see here for that list]. I met Don Thibeau, the Chairman of their Board of Directors at various Internet Identity Workshop events over the last year, and he was kind enough to attend the Workshop: Online Constituent Identity that we put on in early November.

At that event, we effectively established the foundation for a trust framework that would enable online constituent identity through a distributed system. The goal of this would be to increase trust in online dialogue between citizens and their elected officials.

Don rightfully proposed that for this to come to fruition, we needed a larger base of people to work from. We agreed that the next step in solving this problem was to develop a list of everyone that may be interested in participating, reach out to them to gauge their interest, and then develop a roadmap looking forward based on the results of this survey. So, that’s what we’re doing in return for a $5000 grant.

The exciting part about this is that this outreach project will most likely result in not only a larger base of actors with which to develop the trust framework, but also the identification of organizations that will fund the next stage in the process.

We’ve developed an official Press Release, which you can read – and here is the actual Grant Agreement if you want all the details!

Cool, huh?

21 December 2010

So Much Opportunity.

It is with great joy and excitement that I thank you for your ongoing interest and support in the work of the Open Forum Foundation.

Mission: Responsive Government

We just completed a five year plan. This is a big step in solidifying our ability to move boldly forward in our mission, both in terms of being able to show the direct relationship between our current projects and our mission and also by laying the groundwork to pursue funding from foundations. If you’re interested, please check it out here.

Year End Donations

Please consider the Open Forum Foundation in your year-end giving. In January, we expect to announce several new projects that are self-sustainable, but your donations are what enables us to pursue new opportunities.

Happy Holidays

I wish you the best of the season as we all say goodbye to 2010 and welcome 2011. I am incredibly optimistic about the future and look forward to working with all of you to bring it to fruition.

Onwards and Upwards!