ENABLE Framework

The ENABLE Framework is an organizational change management framework to embed principles of open government and public participation.

Making governments open by default can require major shifts towards transparency, participation and accountability. These changes transcend policies and legislation and can require wholesale shifts in organizational cultures, as well as the renegotiation of expectations between governments and civil society. This framework provides examples of approaches that can E.N.A.B.L.E. whole-of-government transformation, while recognizing that open government methods must be tailored to each unique political, social and organizational context.

ENABLE Framework and Guiding Questions


Effective and legitimate open government requires the participation of those most impacted by an issue, as well as by groups that have been under-heard, disenfranchised or denied democratic and human rights.

  • What types of transparency and accountability are requested by groups that face historic or ongoing marginalization?
  • Who is most impacted by current policy issues and how is government supporting equitable participation and voice1?

Networked Approaches

A structured approach to relationships is critical to communicate what to expect from open governments, reach under-served groups, work towards shared goals and close the loop so people know their voices matter.

  • How can government partner with civil society networks and institutions to shape and reinforce open government reforms?
  • How can open government be an opportunity to cultivate relationships? How is this different from more transactional ways of exchanging information?

Appropriate Standards

Minimum standards can provide “cover” for open government champions to push for change. Reducing unnecessary rules and approvals can ensure community needs aren’t crowded out by the bureaucracy.

  • What new rules and standards could help to address current gaps in transparency, accountability and participation?
  • What existing rules and decision-making structures prevent government from reducing barriers and responding to community requests?

Buy-in from the Top

Decision-makers can actively sponsor open government by modelling openness and curiosity, by providing strategic clarity on the role of participation and by investing the time and resources necessary to succeed.

  • What opportunities exist for decision-makers to clarify their objectives, constraints and what they would like to learn2 before engaging the public?
  • What investments in time and resources are necessary to make transparency, accountability and participation the norm across all branches of government?

Learning Culture

Organizational learning requires developing shared vision, celebrating open government strengths and champions, creating feedback loops to reinforce change, and protecting spaces for sharing and experimentation.

  • What open government assets and champions already exist and how can these inspire and participate in further reforms?
  • How can incentive systems, feedback loops and communities of practice help to reinforce positive change?


Using a codified set of principles to evaluate open government and public participation can support accountability and allow for mid-stream course corrections, while also providing flexibility to adapt KPIs based on context.

  • Has your organization codified a set of principles to guide open government evaluation and decision-making3?
  • Who is responsible for acting on the results of evaluation and how can this response support continuous improvement?

Dialogue Dispatch


Dialogue Dispatch is our community of practice newsletter where we share updates on our team's knowledge exchange activities alongside inspiring case studies, suggested readings and practical tools for people and organizations working to transform the field of democratic participation.

First Name: 
Last Name: 

Read the most recent Dialogue Dispatch issue:

1 The guide “Beyond Inclusion: Equity in Public Engagement” proposes eight principles to support the meaningful and equitable inclusion of diverse voices in public engagement processes: https://mjwcfd.ca/beyond-inclusion 

2 See “A Strategic Framework for Public Engagement” for an example of how decision-makers can sponsor public participation processes: https://mjwcfd.ca/strategic-framework-engagement

3 Inspired by Michael Quinn Patton’s work on principles-based evaluation. See the “Workbook for Evaluating Democratic Engagement” for sample principles and evaluation methodologies: https://mjwcfd.ca/evaluating-democratic-engagement