The Knight Foundation’s report The Emergence of Civic Tech: Investments in a Growing Field has some very intersting data on the investments in “open government” and “open data” that it refers to overall as “civic technology.”
Necessity is the “mother of invention” and a place like Detroit needs all the invention it can get. Perhaps better and more disruptive access to basic data that drives service improvement could be an important element in Detroit’s recovery.
In the long run, traditional top-down efforts at management control may be insufficient to ensure that both agency goals and the potential benefits of open data access — including unanticipated cponsequences — are realized in an efficient and cost effective manner. While leadership by the Federal government’s IT infrastructure will be necessary, it will also be necessary to ensure that ongoing efforts to advance open data access are managed efficiently both across agencies and in accordance with individual agency and program priorities; IT staff cannot do this on their own and will have to work closely with agency management.
While data generated by a government program should be readily available and shareable among its target constituencies and members of the public, I also believe that resources devoted to improving the transparency of a government program should also promote the accomplishment of that program’s goals.
A recent AP article titled Census: Big Brother anxieties could hurt count reports official concern that the next US census is threatened by public anxiety about government activities such as immigration control and anti-terrorism measures. This made me wonder how the Census Bureau will be training its employees to overcome this public concern, and how collaborative technologies such as social networks might be used to share “best practices” among Census staff with community relations responsibilities.
Thanks to Brian Magierski via a Twitter message I found out about a ZDNet video interview with Pat Lawicki, the CIO of PG&E in San Francisco. Pat is a former client of mine from when she was the CIO at the energy utility NiSource.
People use the tools available to them when a crisis hits. Increasingly these tools include blogs, text messaging, and social networking systems such as Facebook. The use of such communication tools in disaster and emergency situations is evidence of an obvious fact: the people most involved in an emergency are going to communicate about it. The question is, how can those in an official capacity take advantage of these communication channels?