Coding towards critical mass
It’s a rare thing to get a glimpse inside of a truly creative organization, to learn how it works and to identify lessons that can be applied elsewhere. A recent New York Times article on the staggering history of innovation at Bell Labs offers a glimpse inside the mind of the man responsible for the… Continue reading
Storming the City Walls with Code for America
Last year, I wrote about a civic hacking event that took place in Philadelphia at the office of Azavea. The event last year was organized by the team of Code for America fellows working for the year in Philadelphia. Exactly one year to the day later, the latest group of fellows working in Philadelphia held… Continue reading
Roughly three years ago, Tim O’Reilly defined a vision for “Government as a platform.” Today, there are around 240 API’s listed on Programmable Web that identify as “government” APIs. This number is sure to climb in the weeks and months ahead, as more and more governments, public authorities and agencies deploy APIs for developers to… Continue reading
Civic Accelerators Taking Off
Over the next few weeks civic accelerator programs will be launched in several East Coast cities, building on the momentum started by the announcement of the Code for America (CfA) backed civic accelerator in San Francisco. As I telegraphed in a tweet earlier today, announcements for these new efforts are imminent. Clearly the idea of… Continue reading
Civic Hackers Unite!
In late February and early March, a series of civic hacking events will take place as part of the new Code for America Brigade program. More than a dozen events will take place from Honolulu to Philadelphia and places in between. One of the primary goals of this new program from Code for America is… Continue reading
Practical Hackathons: Free is not Always Better
This is the first in what I hope will be a series of posts with practical advice for organizing and running hacking events, particularly those focused on building civic apps and using open government data. These posts will lead up to, and (hopefully) follow a talk I’m giving at SWSWi in March discussing the outcome… Continue reading
E-Mail Makes a Comeback
As a communication medium, I think e-mail is making a comeback. Don’t call it a comeback; I’ve been here for years. – Ladies Love Cool James I realize this seem patently ridiculous to anyone working furiously towards a state of inbox zero, or that struggles to maintain a reasonable number of unread e-mails in their… Continue reading
Will A Lack of Procurement Reform Smother Civic Startups?
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post listing five things that governments can do in 2012 to encourage and foster civic startups. Though the month of January is not yet over, we now an interesting case study developing in the City of Chicago that highlights the overwhelming importance of one of these five items… Continue reading
The Next Big Thing: Open311 Inquiry API
Earlier this month, Philip Ashlock of OpenPlans published a nice Open311 “wish list” for the new year. There is a lot of exciting stuff on this list, and Phil’s thoughts are sure to be the basis for lots of innovative and interesting work in 2012. When people think about the “Open311 standard” they typically think… Continue reading
Civic Hacking and Unconference Events
This is a busy week in the world of civic hacking and unconferences, with events going on from the Mid-Atlantic to the South Pacific. This Saturday in the Washington DC – Baltimore area, there is Transportation Camp (put on by the good folks at OpenPlans) and CreateBaltimore 2 (put on by the Greater Baltimore Tech… Continue reading
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.