Government is known for many things—but innovation typically is not one of them. That doesn’t mean it’s not happening, though. In fact, throughout the country there are people in and around government thinking outside the box and bringing innovation to their communities. These new ideas are helping to bridge technology gaps, increase transparency, provide essential services in more ways and engage constituents in things they care about.
In the last few years, a number of federal policies have been enacted to encourage innovation at all levels of government. From the Open Data Directive, which mandates government information should be fully accessible and made public whenever possible, to the Digital Government Strategy, which ensures government agencies are able to serve an increasingly mobile workforce, these policies are driving innovative practices.
Another element driving innovation? Startups. Startups are helping government connect with citizens, develop mobile applications, and share code, data and information. There are a lot of great examples of these organizations out there, and here are just a few of our favorites:
- GitHub and Government- GitHub breaks down silos by sharing code and best practices. Code and other documents can be placed on GitHub for anyone to download, change and learn from. Citizens can interact with the information to make it better for them.
- AskThem – AskThem is a project of the Participatory Politics Foundation, which allows anyone to ask a question to an elected official. Other people can login, tweet or vote to show their support; once the question reaches a certain level, it gets flagged to the public official for a response.
- Mind Mixer – MindMixer gets people talking online about things they care about. Rather than looking for feedback in a town hall meeting, MindMixer allows government organizations to post challenges, receive feedback and survey constituents on what they care about most without people ever leaving their home.
- Code for America – Code for America helps government leverage different technology solutions to solve community challenges. They’ve created hundreds of apps for government organizations focused on improving citizen engagement and delivering information in a quick and easy way.
- Recovers.org – Recovers was created after a tornado hit the co-founders hometown. This software framework can be deployed before a disaster to prepare communities by providing important information to residents and getting local organizations involved in the recovery process.
These are only a handful of examples that show the awesome work startups and government agencies are doing to bring innovation to government. But there are plenty more.
That’s where 1776’s Startup Government Conference comes into play. The Startup Government Conference, taking place on May 16, is a full-day event dedicated to sharing how government can be a catalyst for innovation—and what government agencies can learn from startups.
The Startup Government Conference is part of 1776′s Challenge Festival, a full week of events from May 9 to 17, bringing together the most inspiring ideas & people from around the world. You can learn more about the week of events and register here.