Building a Shared Agenda for Accountable Governance
How can co-creation open new conversations between government and civil society actors?
As the first milestone of membership in the Open Government Partnership (OGP), each country creates a National Action Plan built on specific commitments for increasing transparency, accountability, and civic participation. The process of creating the Action Plan is, itself, an important exercise in opening governance; in order to create a feasible and widely embraced plan, civil society and government actors must work together in a thoughtfully designed co-creation process.
Nigeria took on this challenge in 2016 when it became the 70th country to join the OGP. In creating a National Action Plan, the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Justice (FMOJ) convened a two-day development retreat for government leaders, reformers, civil society, and others in the 40-member OGP Steering Committee. In any country, bringing together these diverse stakeholders to arrive at a shared vision and Action Plan comes with natural challenges; the process is also highly time- and labor-intensive due to the interagency and civil society engagement necessary.
Reboot has extensive experience supporting and implementing open government programs around the world—including both national and subnational OGP efforts. To draw on this expertise, FMOJ engaged Reboot to support and advise on the workshop design and facilitation as part of a team of staff and consultants, to help guide a multi-stakeholder group toward a feasible and responsive Action Plan.
Our approach to co-creation is grounded in holistic information about stakeholder needs, especially the governmental processes and constraints that have a direct impact on feasibility. By beginning the co-creation process with a thorough, research-based understanding of institutional dynamics, Reboot supports partners in co-creation to arrive at “sweet spot” opportunities—where multiple stakeholders needs’ and capacities align.
Select services for this project included:
We held conversations with key stakeholders to understand their experiences inside and outside of government. Drawing on our deep networks and working relationships in Nigeria with both reform-minded government and influential civil society actors, we advised FMOJ on how participants with competing priorities and perspectives (and limited resources) could work toward a shared vision.
Working shoulder-to-shoulder as part of the team, we supported workshop participants in completing a series of visioning, goal-setting, brainstorming, and design sessions to hone in on citizen needs and potential for open government solutions. Drawing on our past experience, we also presented lessons in open government co-creation during the convening, to provide insights and guidance for the entire process.
The retreat was an early step in Nigeria’s journey of open government reform. The OGP Secretariat arrived at a shared National Action Plan, which was presented at the OGP Global Summit in Paris in 2016. With much hard work still ahead, Reboot is now working with multiple partners on both the government and civil society sides to identify places where reformers may champion specific aspects of the Action Plan, to lead the way and demonstrate the potential for success with opening governance.