archetypes and related competencies

Collaboration and co-creation require active listening, empathy, and open-mindedness. As an influencer you want to create change, but it necessitates learning new, and leveraging existing, core competencies - a combination of skills, attitudes and knowledge.

However, first and foremost, recognise that you face intractable challenges. Applying that lens to the guidance below will help you prioritise the information according to what is most feasible and useful in your unique situation.


The Resource-Constrained Civil Servant

You want new provisions to be adopted, but lack the budget (or control over it) to make it happen. You can:

  • Strategically map open government objectives to broader, high priority agendas.
  • Consider funding opportunities through non-state funders. Research opportunities and develop a process to apply for funds.
  • Flag desired changes as early as possible, and then again continuously, to change minds slowly but steadily over time.

The Politically-Inhibited Civil Servant

You are not incentivised to focus on open government - the structures, policies, and overall culture of your institutional environment deter you and your peers from reaching your goals. You can:

  • Uncover and focus on apolitical incentives to drive action when political incentives are not aligned. For example, identify relatable issues that makes others personally impassioned.
  • Encourage using evidence from open government successes to inform planning. Call out assumptions and incorporate supporting examples to test them.
  • Shift mental models to make citizens collaborators. For example, prioritise translation of technical language to citizen intelligible information.
  • Constantly facilitate distributed decision-making by mediating between diverse actors and differing perspectives.

The Capacity-Constrained Civil Society Manager

You know what to advocate for and even how to, but you lack the resources to effectively do so. You can:

  • Understand the capacities, partnerships, and expertise of other organisations to develop robust partnerships and amplify your capacities.
  • Get comfortable with the fact that not everyone speaks or understands your ‘expert’ language and learn to translate or reframe for them.
  • Remind yourself that others share your opinions and desires and seek changing the status quo together. The journey can be lonely, but it does not have to be.

The Civil Society Intermediary

You have experience working across sectors and know the value of it, but your colleagues are uncertain about how and why to partner with government. You can:

  • Study governance models of co-design - creation of public services and policies with stakeholders - to advocate for and guide these ways of working.
  • Explore participatory processes - online and offline - and adapt lessons to determine the best mix for your environment.
  • Build trust in collaboration by finding ways to reduce risk of partnerships and achieve “quick wins”.
  • Become an expert facilitator of conversations amongst diverse stakeholders. For example, learn to ask targeted questions and highlight shared understandings.

The Technically Savvy Product Manager

You understand how to develop and use technology to amplify your open government goals, but you know that your peers are less comfortable with technology and struggle to engage with it. You can:

  • Learn ways to ‘translate and transpose’ heavy technical content into clear and simple language.
  • Develop communications skills to alter content for different target audiences. Co-create content with a diverse group when appropriate.
  • Create buy-in and use by ensuring that your knowledge of platforms and tools is also available to others.
  • Adapt your technology tools based on the evolving needs of the community, as ascertained by direct feedback and general reactions.