Panel: UIC Urban Forum: How Technology Can Help Unite the Government with its People

Today I participated in an interesting panel at the UIC Urban Forum. Book to come!

Scott Bernstein, President and Co-Founder, The Center for Neighborhood Technology
*Jane Fountain, Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, Adjunct Professor of Computer Science, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Jon Gant, Professor, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Daniel O’Neil, Executive Director, SmartChicago Collaborative

Moderator: John Hendren, English Correspondent, Al Jazeera


Profile: The Smart Chicago Collaborative: A New Model for Civic Innovation in Cities

Here’s a blog post about Smart Chicago from the website of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School. Their research focus is “the intersection of government and data, ranging from open data and predictive analytics to civic engagement technology”.

Here’s the post: The Smart Chicago Collaborative: A New Model for Civic Innovation in Cities. And a snip:

In Chicago, that jumble is coming together to become one of the country’s strongest civic innovation centers, and it hasn’t been by accident.  The Smart Chicago Collaborative (Smart Chicago), a small civic organization that’s dedicated to improving the lives of people through technology, is working at the center of Chicago’s civic innovation scene.  Through its unique leadership, structure, and strategies, Smart Chicago has been able to develop and align key networks of people with policies and programs in order to produce results.  The organization is a model for cities to capture civic innovation’s energy and use it in new ways to improve urban life.

Panel: The Great Leveller

health-data-consortiumToday I participated in a panel called, “The Great Leveller”, about the promise of health data, at “A Health Data Consortium Event: Putting Health Data to Work in Our States and Communities“. Here’s their description:

In partnership with the State of Illinois, the California HealthCare Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Health Data Consortium – a public-private partnership organization devoted to fostering the availability and use of health data to drive innovations that improve health and health care – invites you to an inaugural gathering of thought leaders from the private, nonprofit, and government sectors confronting the most pressing health data issues in the U.S. healthcare system at the state and local level. The day-long event will consist of stimulating and illuminating discussion with the goal of generating actionable ideas to be implemented by states and municipalities.

Panel: Fellows Seminars | Robin Carnahan: “Democracy 2.0: How the Next Generation of Leaders Can Save a System in Crisis”

This evening I spoke at this event:

Oct. 28 at 4:30 p.m: Technology and Governing: How New Technologies,Civic Entrepreneurs, and Start-ups Are Impacting How Citizens View Government

How can tools like crowd sourcing and e-volunteers be used effectively in the public sector? How might individuals interested in creating innovative ways for government to provide services to citizens to launch civic start-ups of their own? SPECIAL GUESTS: Peter Levin, former Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of the U.S. Veterans Administration (VA), Daniel O’Neil, Executive Director of the Smart Chicago Collaborative, a civic organization devoted to making lives better in Chicago through technology. New attendees welcome; free & open to the public.
Great program. Listening to Peter Levin was awesome.

Speaking: Testimony to Cook County Finance Committee

Today I spoke on behalf of the technology portion of the FY 2014 Cook County Budget. Here’s the full text:

Remarks to the Cook County Finance Committee in Support of the Cook County Bureau of Technology FY2014 Budget

Good morning Mr. Chairman and Commissioners. My name is Daniel X. O’Neil, and I am the Executive Director of the Smart Chicago Collaborative, a civic organization devoted to improved lives in Chicago through technology. Our founding partners are the City of Chicago, the MacArthur Foundation, and The Chicago Community Trust.

We also work very closely with the State of Illinois and the great County of Cook in order to do our work. I’ve interacted with a number of the members of this body in the course of my service at Smart Chicago and in my efforts in the open data movement. I very much appreciate the time I’ve spent with some of you, and I’d like to work with each of you on these matters.

I also serve, along with my friend and colleague Blagica Bottigliero, as co-chair of President Preckwinkle’s New Media Council, where we are charged helping the County develop a digital strategy to better engage, serve, and connect with the public.

In that capacity, I’ve come to greatly value the leadership of Cook County Chief Information Officer Lydia Murray. She is a clear thinker with a practical approach to solving the long-festering technology issues facing County government.

I appreciate the focus on reducing waste to save taxpayers’ money, the spirit of collaboration with the City of Chicago, the sound investments in improving Internet connectivity, and the attention paid in this budget to the baseline applications that make core County functions run.

I’m excited about the public website redesign project. The planned features of responsive design and a focus on the mobile experience can allow the County to make a giant leap in communication with the public.

The investments in core systems like the Criminal Justice Data Sharing System, revenue collection, and case management will lead to better service for the public.

I am especially looking forward to the planned improvements in the transparency, efficiency and accessibility of the County’s property tax system. That is sorely needed and long delayed.

I strongly urge you to support the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget of the Cook County Bureau of Technology. Thank you for your time.

Here’s a pic from the back of the room:

Cook County Finance Committee Meeting, John Daley, Chairman, with Veteran

Writing: “Author at the Table” for the Carl Sandburg Literary Awards Dinner

Tonight I was honored to be an “Author at the Table”—  a local author chosen to sit with guests at the annual Carl Sandburg Literary Awards Dinner for the Chicago Public Library Foundation.

Here’s some pics:




And here’s a video of the scene before hitting the stage:

Here’s the complete bios of all the authors: