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I Think We Should Have an Open Relationship 04/09/2010

Posted by gabrielscheer in Uncategorized.
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Tweets, innovative discourse and nerdy humor abounded at Seattle City Hall on Friday, where government officials, software developers, educators, and private sector professionals gathered for OpenGovWest. Over 200 conference attendees from the west coast of the United States and Canada, as well as special guests from as far away as Chile, took part in panel discussions, breakout sessions, and a participant-driven “unconference” in order to share knowledge, draft best practices, and set new goals for Gov 2.0: a more transparent, collaborative, and efficient system of governance than ever before.

Day One Conference Highlights:

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and CTO Bill Schrier.

•    After a welcome from conference convener Sarah Schacht of Knowledge as Power, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn took the podium to give opening remarks.   McGinn described how social media and online collaboration tools influenced his campaign and ultimately helped make him successful.  He then announced the launch of the Lab for Civic Innovation, a public-private partnership designed to facilitate innovative democratic processes.

•    During a discussion of Open Gov Policy, Skip Newberry, an Economic Development Policy Advisor  to the City of Portland, stressed the need to collaborate across jurisdictions in order to establish best practices.  He also suggested using community oversight to mitigate risk and increase civic ownership in the development of public data tools.  The Assistant Attorney of Everett, WA, Ramsey Ramerman, made an important distinction between “transparent vs. translucent” government; i.e. open data is not just about information, but also developing the tools to allow the public to effectively access that information.

•    Bibliana McHugh of TriMet gave a brief summary of her pioneering work in transit data standards, and pointed out that those standards continue to evolve and improve because of the kinds of discussions that took place at OGW.

•    Minister Ben Stewart of British Columbia summarized the success of Vancouver’s social media campaign during the recent Olympic games and announced an Apps 4 Climate Action Contest.

•    In his keynote address, Andrew Hoppin explained how his team has transformed the New York state senate from “worst to first” in the Gov 2.0 race.  Early in 2009, he prioritized the creation of atruly 2.0 website, the radical expansion of access to public data, and the improvement internal collaboration tools.  Hoppin then dismantled the archaic NY senate system and replaced it with a highly interactive, easy to navigate, extremely transparent model that now serves as an archetype for other governments to build upon.

•    Bill Schrier, Seattle’s Chief Technology Officer, introduced data.seattle.gov and outlined a strategy for advancing open data initiatives in government.  His suggestions included deputizing private organization to help governments keep up, engaging citizens in solutions to common problems such as crime, combating naysayers by using crowdsourcing, and demonstrating strong leadership to encourage widespread participation and comfort.

•    After a series of breakout sessions, the entire group reconvened to report findings and recommendations.  Brett Horvath, Re-Vision Labs founding partner and head of Seattle’s Government 2.0 Task Force, announced a proposal drafted in his session to unite Vancouver, Seattle, Portland and San Francisco— “The West Coast Four”—in an agreement on one data project to develop a crime-based application to share across jurisdictions.
Sarah Schacht addresses over 200 attendees.

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