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Civic tech for open government: a hackathon to contribute to the open government toolbox

Tecnología cívica para el gobierno abierto: un hackaton para elaborar la caja de herramientas del gobierno abierto

Paula Forteza|

On September 21, Etalab and Civic Hall co-organized a hackathon in New York to contribute to the open government toolbox. This event followed the handover of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Presidency from South Africa to France during a ceremony held at the General Assembly of the United Nations on September 20.

Initial interventions from Andrew Rasiej, CEO and founder of Civic Hall, Jean-Vincent Placé, French Secretary of State for State Reform and Simplication and Meghan Smith, United States Chief Technology Officer, set the tone for the working sessions that followed: this hackathon launched an international collaboration around the sharing of digital tools and resources for open government that will be pursued and further developed during the OGP Global Summit in Paris and the French OGP co-chairmanship.

The event was the occasion to gather public officials from the French, American and British governments and administration, as well as members of the open government and civic tech local and international communities such as Civic Hall Labs, NDI, Open Gov Foundation, Hacker Lab (Brazil), Dyntra (Spain), and Open Data Soft (France) in order to contribute to the concrete implementation of open government principles and commitments.


The OGP Toolbox is intended to facilitate the implementation of national commitments made by governments in their action plans by helping them choose the right tools for their projects. It is based on a catalogue referencing software and online services, including examples of use of such services, such as open data portals, public consultation platforms, tools for monitoring and co-creating the law, discussion forums, online platforms to monitor the implementation of national action plans, and so on.

During the hackathon, participants worked in groups to enrich the beta version of the contributive platform, by:

  • Crowdsourcing the content of the toolbox (tools and examples), through
  • Giving feedback on the first user interface design mockups
  • Applying different data science techniques to the OGP Toolbox database in order to identify emerging  tools, functionalities and use cases clusters
  • Testing new tools, such as the consultation platform
  • Translating software in order to internationalize solutions (translation of the Spanish consultation platform “Consul” into French and Swedish)
  • Defining the OGP Toolbox diffusion strategy, as well as key success factors in terms of involved human resources, institutional pre-conditions and political context

The final platform will be officially launched during the OGP Global summit in Paris, after a final sprint on December 8 and 9. Until December, the Toolbox will be co-constructed by international public officials, civil society representatives, companies, start-ups and members of the civic tech ecosystem through several hackathons and workshops. We encourage OGP members to contribute to the elaboration of this collective resource!

Filed Under: OGP News
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