Civic Innovations

Technology, Government Innovation, and Open Data

Open Government

  • Density and Destiny

    Density and Destiny

    How land is zoned can be a critical factor in reducing income inequality and reducing the number of people living in high poverty areas by providing good options to the poor for secure, safe, affordable, and stable housing. 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

  • No Assembly Required

    When we think about all of the work being done in the civic technology and open government communities over the last several years, it’s easy to see the impact. Evaluated just in terms of the number of datasets that have been released by governments it is clear that the impact of those advocating for more… Continue reading

  • GovTech is Not Broken

    When we talk about the challenges that face governments in acquiring and implementing new technology, the conversation eventually winds around to the procurement process. That’s when things usually get ugly. “It’s broken,” they say. “It just doesn’t work.” What most people who care about this issue fail to recognize, however, is that while the procurement… 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

  • Civic Tech: Days of Future Past

    A new focus on the user These days, in the world of civic technology, it’s all about the user. Digital government service redesign, with an enhanced focus on a higher quality user experience, is being institutionalized in the federal governments of the U.K., U.S and Australia. The civic technology community is rallying around a new… Continue reading

  • Altitude Training for Data

    The benefits of treating data like an operational asset are real, and governments that fully embrace open data stand to benefit the most. When governments open up data that they make use of themselves to improve revenue collections and other aspects of their operations, its like training at altitude. Continue reading

  • Data is Law

    “…[U]nless we understand how cyberspace can embed, or displace, values from our constitutional tradition, we will lose control over those values. The law in cyberspace – code – will displace them.” — Lawrence Lessig (Code is Law) In his famous essay on the importance of the technological underpinnings of the Internet, Lawrence Lessig described the… 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.