Case Study

Workshop Facilitation for Fair, Transparent Government Spending

How a diverse, global group of influencers and innovators came together—despite wide differences in experience and expertise—to develop a truly shared roadmap for their movement.

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Open contracting is the idea that governments can reduce corruption, foster entrepreneurship, and improve people’s lives by increasing transparency and accountability in public procurement—the process by which governments spend money for goods and services. Open contracting is a rising movement in the open governance world, and in 2017, more than 200 experts and innovators gathered to align on a vision for its future at “Open Contracting 2017.” The consortium behind the convening, including the Open Contracting Partnership, engaged Reboot as a design and facilitation partner in order to bring our expertise in movement-building to energize and focus the momentous meeting. We started by engaging with participants, conducting a survey as well as one-on-one interviews, and then synthesized their diverse goals and expectations with those of the conveners. Through a design workshop with the conveners, we co-created the meeting agenda, balancing hands-on working sessions, practical idea exchange, and unstructured time for networking. We then facilitated the event with an adaptive and flexible touch, maintaining the balance and energy throughout two packed days. The result was a vibrant gathering that exceeded participants’ expectations. A diverse group of participants co-created a shared forward vision and developed concrete initiatives, which partners are now pursuing.

Photos: Judith Quax

Governments around the world spend trillions of dollars a year through contracts, on everything from buying office supplies to building airports. These contracts—known as public procurement—are a top source of corruption risk. But they’re also a huge opportunity, as fair and transparent government spending can foster entrepreneurship and deliver high quality goods and services to improve people’s lives. That’s the idea behind “open contracting,” a movement at the cutting edge of open government; proponents of open contracting encourage the publication and use of open, timely data on government spending.

Like many new and visionary ideas, open contracting is a movement of diverse actors, with different stakes in and different viewpoints on public procurement. That’s why a consortium of partners—the Open Contracting Partnership, Hivos, CoST, B Team, Article 19—decided to host a global convening, “Open Contracting 2017.” Their goal was to articulate the current state of open contracting, and to develop a shared vision for where it’s going. With more than 200 participants from 37 countries planning to attend, the consortium engaged Reboot as a design and facilitation partner for this milestone meeting.

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