In the past three years, we have seen a proliferation of apps contests in local and federal government, the Armed Forces, and now in Europe and beyond. The results received mixed reviews, but everyone involved said the apps were just one benefit of the contests. Even if a single app had never implemented, bringing together civilian tech innovators and government leaders was priceless. The idea that releasing government data can help boost the tech economy by giving entrepreneurs the raw materials to develop creative – and more importantly more useful – third-party apps is still very much alive in both the local and federal levels.
Yet many of these contests still kept the “coders” at arm’s length from those on the gov frontline. While many of the apps we’ve seen have made dissemination of information more accessible and palatable to residents and businesses, very few addressed the business processes from which this data comes. Very few sought to “fix the government.”
Now in steps Code for America – an amazing coalition brought together to help “city governments become more transparent, connected and efficient by connecting the talents of cutting-edge web developers with people who deliver city services and want to embrace the transformative power of the web to achieve more impact with less money.” The mission is to help government work better and aims not just to create iPhone apps, but truly help catalyze culture change. So will it work?
Tonight we’re excited to have Abhi Nemani to discuss the challenges and goals of@CodeforAmerica, get updates on the five cities selected and what they feel they can contribute to the Gov 2.0 and Open Government movement. (Maybe we’ll ask the hot question of whether they feel the energy is fading.)
So what types of apps do you think your city needs? Is technology helping you change the culture of your agency? Is local government ready for this type of tech intervention? Would your city welcome help with open arms?