In many ways, the Code for America Summit is a three-day celebration of the the amazing government officials who make up the CfA Peer Network — and the important, often challenging work they do as public servants to drive civic innovation in their cities and counties. With representatives more than 86 cities attending this year, the 2013 Summit was full of inspiring stories and presentations from government staff. Here are five highlights from a few of our favorite gov geeks onstage this year:
Chief Performance Officer, City & County of Denver
David Edinger spoke about Denver’s journey to a culture dedicated to innovation, and how they’ve empowered department employees city-wide to improve the way they do business by providing training in lean problem-solving strategies.
Quotable: “This isn’t about the next new technology; this isn’t about the next great software. This is about helping people. That’s why we exist.”
Deputy Innovation Officer, City & County of San Francisco
Shannon Spanhake captured the audience’s attention with an entertaining presentation on how the City and County of San Francisco is using data to iterate on and design citizen engagement initiatives through the ImproveSF platform.
Quotable: “Innovation can come from places that you least expect.”
Mayor’s Chief of Staff, City of South Bend
Kathryn Roos and 2013 CfA fellow Tamara Manik-Perlman brought a human voice to the discussion of technology (literally) with their presentation of CityVoice — an accessible app that provides tools for residents to better understand and solve the problem of vacant and abandoned properties in South Bend.
Quotable: “People often say that bigger is better, but we’re proud that South Bend is the smallest city in the United States to have implemented an open data policy.”
General Counsel at the Mayor’s Office of the Criminal Justice Coordinator, City of New York
Jordan Dressler and 2013 CfA Fellow Ezra Spier demonstrated how civic tech can have an impact in complex areas like criminal justice with their work on Criminal Case Search – an app that helps Alternative to Incarceration programs in New York identify eligible criminal defendants by giving program staff access to criminal justice system data in real-time.
Quotable: “My parting lesson to other cities: don’t be afraid to let the kids look under the hood.”
Director of Enterprise Information, City of New Orleans
Denice Ross provided a compelling look at the trajectory of open data on post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans, focusing on on how communicating blight data the public through BlightStatus has influenced the City to overhaul the language and structure of their enterprise systems to be more reflective of real world.
Quotable: “The real champions of open data are the workers in City Hall who have had to change the fundamental way they do their jobs.”
There’s many more where that came from! To watch more great talks from other city officials at the 2013 CfA Summit, check out Code for America’s YouTube channel.