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  • Hillary Hartley 4:00 pm on September 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: challenge.gov, crowdsourcing, customer service, fcc, get satisfaction, innovation, , uservoice   

    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:

    FCC.gov 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 OpenInternet.gov, where over 30,000 ideas were generated, or Broadband.gov. 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 FCC.gov.

    In January, the FCC launched Reboot.FCC.gov 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 Challenge.gov

    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 Challenge.gov 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. Challenge.gov 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.
  • Hillary Hartley 4:50 pm on August 24, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: crowdsourcing, facebook, geodata, ipad, manorlabs, mapping, nyssenate, open government, polymaps   

    Gov 2.0 Weekly Chatterbox 

    A few posts that have caught my eye recently…from Facebook, crowdsourcing, iPad apps and geodata, to Manor, TX.

    Is Facebook Suitable for Government Transactions?

    Last week, an airline in the United States became the first company to allow customers to book directly through its Facebook page. Will citizens soon be able to transact directly with government on social media? In interviews with FutureGov, officials in Indonesia, Australia and Singapore say that despite data security concerns, some government transactions on Facebook or Twitter will very soon be possible.

    The post goes on to give a couple of international examples, and is generally an international focus.  However, their point is valid.  Google’s payment gateway hasn’t really caught on, but it’s also not an ecosystem that people spend hours a day in (in a browser tab open in the background, of course :).

    New York State Senate Launches Nation’s First iPad App For Legislation

    Info/Download: http://www.nysenate.gov/mobile

    The New York State Senate today announced availability of “NYSenate for iPad,” the first application in the nation developed by a legislative body for the Apple iPad.  The application can be downloaded for free today from the Apple iTunes App Store.

    Like its predecessor, NYSenate Mobile for iPhones and Android phones, NYSenate for iPad brings New Yorkers closer to their elected officials, making comprehensive access to Senate information and content from all New York State Senators available any time, anywhere– citizens, staff, and journalists can use the app to search for bill information, contact their Senator, review event calendars, read Senator’s blogs, watch archived video of Senate Session, Committee Meetings and Public Hearings, and even submit Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests.

    The Mobile app has been downloaded by more than 1,000 New Yorkers since the June launch.

    Announcing Polymaps

    Polymaps is a free JavaScript library for making dynamic, interactive maps in modern web browsers.  Huge potential for visualizing all those extremely large government datasets.

    We’ve been working with Stamen to provide visual analysis of the huge datasets that we’re working with, and how people can communicate this data in sophisticated ways. A first step toward that goal is the release of a free and open-source set of tools and map engines allowing people to perform relatively sophisticated operations on their data in the browser.

    The project has been online for a while at http://github.com/simplegeo/polymaps, and you can download the source code there; what’s new is the addition of a series of example maps so you can demonstrate what’s going on, and human-readable documentation so you can use them for your own projects.

    Some of the examples are straightforward, letting you do things like group points into clusters and drop scaled gradients on to map locations. Others are more robust, letting you do things like change which direction is north by rotating the map and visualize the quality of street surfaces in San Francisco.

    Tracking the tech that will make government better

    Crowdsourcing, fraud detection, and open data tools were touted at a recent Senate hearing.

    Alex Howard writes about potential the of crowdsourcing for government and how open data analysis is improving fraud detection.

    For the first time, we can bridge the gap between online and the real world,” testified Crane. A challenge “thought impossible by the intelligence community using traditional techniques” was solved in 8 hours and 52 minutes, said Crane. “We leveraged the problem-solving capabilities of the participants,” said Crane, and “built the infrastructure that allowed others to solve the problem for us.”

    The opposite of open government

    When it comes to environmental data, and data on contaminated groundwater, open government is not about citizen convenience or improved government efficiency. It is about giving people the information they need so that they can make informed decisions about their own lives and the lives of their families and children.

    Definitely worth reading.  I know many people within government are wary of “open data” / “open government” but this hits the nail on the head.  Three “lessons learned” regarding making government more transparent and open through the lens of a Delaware case study.

    Meet Colorado’s Chief Data Officer — VIDEO

    Colorado is working on a statewide strategy for collecting and sharing data.  As part of that strategy, ex-CIO Mike Locatis created a new position (before he left for CA) — Chief Data Officer.  Micheline Casey is leading a strategy to connect data held by Colorado, the federal government, and cities and counties.

    They are developing protocols and guidelines for information and sharing and have published a 2010 State of Colorado Data Strategy.

    Inside Manor Labs — VIDEO

    “Tiny Manor, Texas, proves that digital innovation isnt just for big cities.”

    This is a great, short piece about Manor, Texas and its innovation platform ManorLabs.

    Manor, Texas, Crowdsources Ideas for Running the Town

    Corresponding GovTech mag piece.

    Manor Labs, which launched in late October, is a Web portal where citizens can submit ideas to improve their city. From conception to (possibly) reality, every decision city officials make about a submitted idea is put in plain sight. At the same time, users can participate in and affect an idea’s development. For a president who is trying to deliver on promises of government transparency, it’s easy to see why the White House is giving Manor Labs a closer look.

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