PANEL: Illinois Government Transparency Conference

Today I participated in a panel discussion on the state of transparency in Illinois. Here’s the packet associated with the conference.

When we went around to throw out the problems that need solving, the one I focused on was the fact that there is little to no true collaboration among all parties. That is to say, if we consider the goal to be the provision of relevant, responsive, accurate information from government to the public, we have to consider the needs, fears, skills, and strengths of all parties to that transaction.

I got a lot out of this day and I think there was a real movement away from legislative and administrative solutions (FOIA law, Attorney General oversight, etc.) and into market and policy-oriented solutions (applications built on existing data, working with government to get value out of their own data, etc.)

PANEL: Ezio Manzini Lecture on Social Innovation

Tonight I participated in a panel discussion following a lecture by Ezio Manzini, a leading expert on desgin and sustainability titled, “”Small Projects, Large Changes: Scaling Up Sustainable Solutions”. It was great to see someone pull together the many threads we’ve seen in city life around cooperative development, hacking the infrastructure, and generally making things better by messing things up.

Here’s a poster for the event:

And some sketchnotes:

PROFILE: “Poetic Justice” Technori Article

Today Technori, published a profile written by Megan Weinerman: “POETIC JUSTICE: Daniel X. O’Neil helps to make things better by doing what he wants and messing things up.” I had a lot of fun working with Megan on this piece. Here’s a snip on Chicago-style entrepreneurship:

“I’ve started lots of ventures—a poetry book company, a theater company, a consulting practice—but never considered those activities ‘entrepreneurial’. I just thought of them as a way to do what I wanted. Everyone I ever knew from grade school on always had something on the side. It was always about ‘Do what you want, and have it financed by your day job.’ In the entrepreneurial world, I usually hear a lot of anti-corporate sentiment. But I thrive in both cultures. I have no problem with either whatsoever.

I’m just driven to do things, to create. And I’m always looking to align my passions with my efforts, and figure out how to easily pay for them, rather than how to make money off of them. Then the money always follows because the new passion usually turns into a new job. Then I start all over again with finding a new passion.”


Launch of Cook County Data Web Site

Today I took part in the launch of the new data Web site for Cook County. Here’s a snip:

On Wednesday, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, joined by Cook County Board Commissioner John Fritchey and Cook County Chief Information Officer Greg Wass unveiled the County’s new “Open Data” website today.  The website is an important step in the President’s continued efforts to bring transparency and accountability to County government by making more information more easily accessible to the public.

Here’s their video of the event:

The County asked me to write a short blog post on the history of open data in Chicago. Snip:

This is where it’s at– open data as a key component of other, essential policies and modes of interaction among governments and the people they serve. That’s why these efforts by Cook County– all done in the context of other data released by the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois– represent a great step forward. There is a nascent cohesiveness to open data in Chicago. Government policy, markets, consumer needs, and developers need to be in synch for us to go beyond mere data. Groups like OpenGovChicago– started and nurtured by many of the groups and people represented in this history– is one place where we gather to trade ideas. Join us!

Writing this post has been great for me because it got me in contact with colleagues who have been at this much longer than me. I am updating the post as I learn more about our rich history.

Executive Director of the Smart Chicago Collaborative

Today marks the end of my first week as the first Executive Director of the Smart Chicago Collaborative. Here’s  a snip from a blog post I wrote about the change:

There is much work ahead on the Smart Chicago Collaborative. I go to work every day at The Chicago Community Trust, where the collaborative is housed. I get to work with some of the sharpest and most energetic people focused on improving the quality of life in Chicago. My most immediate tasks are to build a strong advisory committee, work with donors, fund projects, and hire an Associate Program Officer. If you see yourself in these tasks, please contact me at Let’s get to work.

And here’s a draft strategy I’m working on: