Civic Innovations

Technology, Government Innovation, and Open Data

Data Driven Startups

It’s been almost 10 months since I wrote a post on this site about steps that governments can take to encourage and support civic startups, and over 2 years since my first post on the connection between open data and entrepreneurship.

It’s really cool to see high ranking public officials like Federal CTO Todd Park and Energy Secretary Steven Chu talking about spurring entrepreneurs and innovation with open data.

Startup Weekend

It’s also really cool to see more and more startup focused events looking at open data from governments as the fuel for new ventures. I got to attend a Startup Weekend event in Philadelphia this past weekend, and there was a high level of interest in using open data from the City as part of several projects. The same weekend, there were similarly themed events happening in Baltimore, with similar comments from city officials there.

Cities in particular are stewards of vast amounts of data that can be used as the basis for useful apps and successful business ventures. In addition, the solutions built with this data can help address challenges that cities grapple with on a persistent basis.

We’re close to figuring out the alchemy for using open data to support new business ventures and to help address social problems. They fact that conversations on this point have gone mainstream among public officials is just a sign that we’re getting closer.

I believe that Philadelphia will be the city that figures it out first – the thinking here on this front is far clearer than in other places, and its helping guide our efforts around open data, civic hacking and entrepreneurship.

The last quarter of 2012 will see awesome startup and hacking events in Philly that will help push our understanding of how best to use open data to build successful business ventures.

It’s going to be a fun way to close out the year – looking forward to it!

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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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