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While in Oslo last month for the Nobel Peace Prize activities, I heard two words that I haven’t been able to get out of my mind: “open government”.

They were the focus of discussion among the 15 international delegates—representing 14 countries and 3 continents—that Cisco had invited to its  “Visioning Open Government” conference  The delegates and speakers delved into the value of an open society and its imperatives for social and digital network connections—including information access, integration, and network security.

What makes a society open is transparency, participation, and collaboration. Here’s what impressed me at the conference: intelligent network connections are the keys to all three.  The Cisco Services approach to Plan-Build and Manage the network, can enable organizations deliver the open platform that users are looking  for.

I realize an open society is an evolutionary process. It’s a concept that national leaders have alluded to for years. It’s a recurring topic among many leaders in education and government, as well as citizens and students.

During the last few years of my work in the public sector I’ve seen the momentum to an open society rapidly accelerating—energized by Internet-age expectations of instant information and connections, and growing pressures on institutions to provide services at lower costs

And now it’s here—the open society is becoming a reality in citizens’ lives. Some examples: data.gov and data.gov.uk, influenceexplorer.com, innocentive.com, and seeclickfix.com and fixmystreet.com.

But an open society is more personal for those of you who manage and lead governmental or educational entities. It’s is a game-changer for your career.

The open society momentum will push you to make unprecedented network changes in the next few years, whether or not you’re under a mandate like the U.S. Digital Government Strategy. Some of the biggest change strategiesare:

When will you start opening up your network, or have you already begun?

To help you be an open society innovator and ensure your initiative succeeds, Cisco can assist with your assessment, planning, design, pilot project, and/or implementation. Here’s an examplehttp://www.cisco.com/web/services/it-case-studies/california-department-of-water-case-study.html of a government agency that did this.

We also invite you to join the open government conversation on the 21st Century Government Facebook page, and read the open society whitepaper that Cisco will publish soon.

MLA style: “Video -- The 2012 Nobel Peace Prize Award Ceremony”. Nobelprize.org. 11 Dec 2012 http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/award_ceremonies/video/ceremony_oslo/2012/index.html

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