Civic Innovations

Technology, Government Innovation, and Open Data

  • Building the Engine of Change

    The term “civic tech” gets used a lot, and it often means different things to different people. To me, this has always meant that the work being done in this area is dynamic, growing, and evolving rapidly – all good things that suggest the impact of civic technology will ultimately be broad and durable. I’ve… Continue reading

  • Meeting in the Middle

    There’s an interesting piece on open data APIs on GovTech that echos a lot of the things I’ve thought and said about government APIs over the past few years. It’s worth a read. APIs are an increasingly important way that governments make their open data available to outside users. Typically, when we talk about open… Continue reading

  • The Last Mile of Public Service Delivery

    The most important thing about civic technology has nothing to do with technology at all. The term “civic technology” gets used a lot, and it may mean different things to different people. I think this highlights the fact that the work being done in this area is dynamic, growing, and evolving rapidly — all good… Continue reading

  • Civic Tech Organizing: A Tale of Two Cities

    In early 2012, I had the opportunity to present at the annual South by Southwest Interactive Conference in Austin, TX. The focus of my presentation was the lessons learned from two civic hacking events in late 2011 that I had helped organize in Philadelphia and Baltimore. This was an exciting time for me professionally. After… Continue reading

  • Fast Cars and the Magical City of Tonawanda

    Getting a speeding ticket in the State of New York can be a traumatic – and expensive – experience. Drivers convicted of speeding often face penalties and fines, and repeated or excessive offenses can result in the loss of a license. But in some places in New York State, drivers issued a speeding ticket may… Continue reading

  • Regulating with Open Data

    A few months ago, I dug into the issue of how state and local governments regulate sharing economy companies that operate in their jurisdictions. I argued that open data should play an key role in a new regulatory approach for these 21st century companies. With a new battle over how the sharing economy is regulated taking shape in the City of… Continue reading

  • Thinking Outside the Portal

    The centerpiece of any government open data effort is usually a data portal. Data portals host open data or provide listings for datasets, and typically include things like license information, data schemas, developer documentation and a host of other details aimed at making it easier for end consumers to find and use data. There is… Continue reading

  • The Outreach Oversight

    I recently had an opportunity to speak about open data at the annual Joint Education Conference of the Nevada Food Safety Task Force. Not the most obvious venue for a discussion of civic collaboration, but I sometimes go where the open data currents take me. And so it was this time. Sandwiched in between talks… Continue reading

  • Philly’s New Mayor is Serious About Open Data

    The big news recently in Philadelphia open data circles is the release of city employee salary information. For the first time ever, the City of Philadelphia will make public – in easily usable formats – salary information on every city employee, including elected officials. This data is now available for anyone to download freely from… Continue reading

  • Civic Onboarding

    Tomorrow, the President will speak at SXSW and issue a call to action for people inside and outside government to collaborate and solve the hard problems facing our country. This is a call to action that governors and mayors should echo – our communities are filled with people that want to help. Reading about 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.