Civic Innovations

Technology, Government Innovation, and Open Data

Open Data

  • The Bomb, the Pill, and the Shot

    A few days ago, Tom Steinberg – the founder and former director of mySociety – wrote a fascinating piece on power that was meant for people developing civic technology. In a post on Medium, Tom clearly describes the nature of power as it relates to technology and implored civic technologists to think more directly about… Continue reading

  • Thinking Small on Civic Tech

    Designing simple systems is one of the great challenges of Government 2.0. It means the end of grand, feature-filled programs, and their replacement by minimal services extensible by others. — Tim O’Reilly, Open Government The original idea of Government as a Platform is now almost a decade old. In the world of technology, that’s a… Continue reading

  • Who Uses Civic Tech?

    Who uses civic technology, and why should we care? A new study from mySociety – a non-profit based in the UK that focuses on civic tech – helps us answer these questions and provides some invaluable information for the civic technology community, and for governments. mySociety surveyed civic technology users in four countries to understand… Continue reading

  • Participation and the Cult of Catalogs

    “Anonymous access to the data must be allowed for public data, including access through anonymous proxies. Data should not be hidden behind ‘walled gardens.’” – 8 Principles of Open Government Data In the world of open data, there are few things that carry more weight than the original 8 principles of open data. Drafted by a… Continue reading

  • Buck the system or work the system?

    “Systems are broken because they exist to sustain themselves, and the people who run the system rely on the system to stay the same. Why should they change it? It works well for them.” — Chris Guillebeau My friends at Philly ran an interesting piece yesterday about the long road to the release of… Continue reading

  • Bridging the CitiStat Gap

    One of the realities of being a Chief Data Officer is that your day is often filled with meetings where you are the least popular person in the room. Working with government agencies to release data – particularly if agencies are new to the open data process, or if the data in question has not… Continue reading

  • Hearts and Minds and Open Data

    Some people are taking a rather pessimistic view – or at least a “glass half full” view – of a recent study from the Pew Research Center. A new study from Pew – entitled “American’s Views on Open Government Data” – looks at the general public’s perception of open data efforts at all levels of… Continue reading

  • I Hate Open Data Portals

    Well, not really – But I do dislike certain things about most open data portals. Even the ones that I work with every day or that I have been involved with in the past. Don’t get me wrong – I’m a true believer in the power of open data. I love that every day there… Continue reading

  • Enabling the Enterprise

    Its not often that I run across posts about enterprise architecture that get me excited. This one – by Tariq Rashid – did. Very much so. This issue interests me because its one that, as a former state IT executive and policy advisor, I have personal history with. I also believe its an issue that… Continue reading

  • Civic Tech Fundamentals

    If you want to learn more about how design thinking is changing the way that digital public services are being built, you’d be wise to check out the latest issue of Civic Quarterly. It’s full of great insights from some of the best thinkers on this topic. The idea of building civic technology “with, not… Continue reading

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.