01/27/2011 11:21 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Beth Noveck, a major contributor to Open Government, returns to teaching law

800px-BethNoveckJI1 Hey, Open Government covers a lot of ground; it's about how a democratic government gets the job done increasingly well. That's been a big challenge in an environment where there had been no incentive for gov't workers to provide good customer/citizen service.

Open government includes disclosure of what's going on inside government, where the money goes, really tough getting there having started from a culture of secrecy. Beth's work, along with a very strong team including Aneesh Chopra and Vivek Kundra, has disclosed a lot. Check out what's on (Disclosure: I'm on the board of Sunlight Foundation, for real the leaders in transparency and accountability, and I've seen how hard it is to get real data.)

This new trend in government also means listening to citizens and government workers to get things done better. The Department of Veterans Affairs has embraced this, listening to employees, and has started to considerable improve customer service for veterans. Specifically, that includes improved claims processing, online chat to help filling in claims forms, easy access to electronic health records, and specific process improvements like calculating benefits for hearing loss. (Disclosure: I'm on the board of the Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America, and have worked with the VA on the employee ideation process.)

Here, Beth's also working with a strong team, like Peter Levin, VA CTO, and Todd Park, HHS CTO.

A lot more's happening, particularly involving better customer service through multiple agencies. Me, I'm a nerd, an alien in Washington culture, but I can really appreciate how much Beth and others have accomplished in an environment which resists change.

Beth has been one of the core people inspiring Open Government and related improvements all over the US and beyond. She continues to do, and is playing a genuinely historic role, that including blogging like Turning Rule Writers Into Problem Solvers: Creating a 21st Century Government That's Open and Competent by Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review.

90px-CC_some_rights_reserved.svg Photo by Joi Ito.