Gov 2.0 Chatter: Labor Day Weekend Edition

I’ll be in DC next week at the Gov 2.0 Summit…gathering a bevy of links for my next update!

Here are some things that crossed my radar this week.

3 Cool Gov Technologies

The list isn’t comprehensive— there’s a lot of great technology out there I wish the government was using. But these three all can help government reduce costs, provide better services, and break down the barriers between government and citizens.

The last one Clay mentions is a SaaS online helpdesk called ZenDesk.  Many 2.0 companies and startups are using this in tandem with Get Satisfaction for customer service.  I know some states have looked into this, and it definitely could have applications outside of a strict customer support role.  (e.g. Clay talks about using it to manage FOIA requests.)

>> Quick Sidebar: Get Satisfaction

Speaking of Get Satisfaction, they have released some interesting updates in the last few months, namely Facebook integration.  Take a look at the way Mighty Leaf Tea is using GS + FB for a great example: poised for overdue overhaul
O’Reilly Radar

FCC managing director Steven VanRoekel talks with Alex Howard about soliciting citizen participation and building platforms.

The new site will embrace open government principles around communication and participation,” said VanRoekel. “Consider, where over 30,000 ideas were generated, or Comments there go into the official record and are uploaded to the Library of Congress. You will see that in a much more pervasive way in the new

In January, the FCC launched and asked for public input on improving citizen interaction.

We’re approaching .gov like .com. We’re not only setting up data services and wrapping the API, but we’re building apps as well, and utilizing the same APIs we expect developers to use.

Notable links at the new FCC:

>> Quick Sidebar: Uservoice

For those of you who don’t spend all your free time on Twitter scanning for #gov20 news, Uservoice is a user-driven feedback forum in the vein of the original DELL IdeaStorm, or the more recent My Starbucks Idea. Users submit feedback/bugs/suggestions/ideas and some rise to the top based on votes from the community using the forum.

Idaho implemented Uservoice for the Governor’s office and is taking suggestions from citizens about how to improve the efficiency of government.

The city of Vancouver is using Uservoice for their Talk Green to Us campaign.  They’ve gathered over 300 ideas from the public about how to meet their “Greenest City” targets.  The city has already taken action on 10 ideas and have completed 3 (which is all reported via the feedback tools).

Similarly, the city of Santa Cruz used Uservoice to crowdsource ways to solve the city’s budget crisis.  This project was highlighted at last year’s Gov 2.0 Expo, and the forum is now offline.  However, you can read more about the project at the Uservoice blog.  The presentation from last year’s Gov 2.0 Expo is also online.  It was also just discussed on this Forrester blog (a little late, but still a great write-up).

It’s an awesome tool for crowdsourcing ideas and feedback — they are running almost 50,000 forums.  If you’d like to see more government examples just let me know; I probably have 20-25 bookmarked.

Crowdsourcing National Challenges With the New

Governments are attempting to, in the words of Kundra and Chopra, “close the innovation gap” with app challenges centered around various types of open data.  It also allows them to get around certain kinds of procurement.  The GSA is leveraging a 3rd party called ChallengePost for this new app challenge platform.  Be sure to view the embedded video for a good explanation of and why the GSA built this platform for using prizes and incentives to foster innovation.

Next month, the federal government will launch a new .gov website with a big idea behind it and high hopes that there will be big ideas generated within it. is the latest effort in the evolution of collaborative innovation in open government. Should the approach succeed, challenges and contests have the potential to leverage the collective expertise of citizens, just as apps contests have been used to drive innovation in D.C. and beyond.

For your Googling pleasure, to read more about successful app challenges try:

  • Apps for Democracy
  • NYC Big Apps
  • Apps for Healthy Kids
  • Apps for the Army
  • British Columbia’s Apps for Climate Action

Twitter News…

  • Twitter for iPad launched late Wednesday night.  If your portal is working on iPad apps, they should be required to download this (it’s free) and play around with it.  It’s not perfect, but it is absolutely the best way I’ve found to consume Twitter.  Touch a tweet and instantly see the context — it shows whatever is linked, be it a photo, a URL, another username, or a #hashtag.