Civic Innovations

Technology, Government Innovation, and Open Data

Echoes of Manor.GovFresh

A new year means retrospection and resolutions.

For me, looking back on 2010, one of the most memorable events I participated in was an event held in Manor, TX. that focused on the use of new technologies by local governments.

The Manor.GovFresh event – organized by GovFresh founder Luke Fretwell – cast a long shadow on open government efforts in 2010 and made many year-end lists of most significant happenings for the year.

I led to sessions at the Manor.GovFresh event – one on citizen service and 311, and the other on open government data.

The event itself was a great experience for me – the chance to meet and network with other open government advocates, developers, and municipal officials (some of whom I had “Twitter-only” relationships with before) was a real treat.

I also had a couple of important personal take aways from this event.

First, in advance of the event I worked on a cloud-based telephony solution for local governments called MuniVox. My goal with this project was to provide an easy to use solution for small local governments that want the benefits of a sophisticated (and often expensive) telephony system, making it cheap and easy to implement and a snap to manage. And while I’m happy with the work I did on this project, I have some grand plans for it going forward.

In addition, coming out of the open government data session at Manor.GovFresh I had the idea to craft an “open government playbook” – something that local governments can use to quickly get started with an open data program. I drew a lot of my inspiration for this idea from the awesome presentations given by Chris Metcalf, Developer Evangelist at Socrata, during the open government data session.

Chris gave two presentations at the event that really distilled a ton of great inforamtion on how to get started using open data into clear and simple slides. I thought they would be a great foundation for a more widely distributed document. Chris was kind enough to furnish me with his materials, and I have the first draft of the document started.

However, toward the end of 2010 both personal and professional changes conspired to take my attention away from these projects. But the echoes of Manor.GovFresh are ringing loudly in my ears now, and I’ve resolved to push both of these projects forward early in the new year.

Stay tuned for some cool stuff on both of these fronts.

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About Me

I am the former Chief Data Officer for the City of Philadelphia. I also served as Director of Government Relations at Code for America, and as Director of the State of Delaware’s Government Information Center. For about six years, I served in the General Services Administration’s Technology Transformation Services (TTS), and helped pioneer their work with state and local governments. I also led platform evangelism efforts for TTS’ cloud platform, which supports over 30 critical federal agency systems.

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