Yesterday the White House announced a new concept for soliciting expertise from the public on policy matters. Codenamed 'ExpertNet', the project would be a web-based software solution which would allow policy makers to provide information and solicit public response. (And yes, it does sound like free consulting to me, but I prefer to look at it in a more positive light!)

ExpertNet wouldn't replace the current means of getting input from the public, i.e. Federal Advisory Commissions and public comment opportunities, but would supplement them. They don't state in what order these three modes of communication would be implemented. (Perhaps they'd be employed all at once, though that doesn't seem the most efficient way to go about it.)

It's also not clear as to whether this tool would be available only to the executive branch or whether it would also be available to the legislative branch. What would be really great is if the final product could be shared and implemented on a smaller scale -- municipalities could employ this same technology to reach out to smaller constituent bases.

The White House is requesting... your input on the concept. Visit the ExpertNet wiki site to read the hypothetical case study and look at the proposed design. There are plenty of interesting discussions to join (and you can even suggest a better name than 'ExpertNet').