New Story: Emanuel to nominate Brenna Berman to be city’s chief information officer

Today Smart Chicago was reffed in this article about Mayor Emanuel’s appointment of Brenna Berman to be CIO for the City of Chicago. Snip:

DoIT is working with groups such as the Smart Chicago Collaborative, a tech-focused civic backed by the city, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and The Chicago Community Trust. The Smart Chicago Collaborative is sponsoring a program that will help developers continue building ideas developed during hackathons over a three- to four-month period. One group that will go through this process is the winning team from a public safety-themed hackathon held in May: CAPStagram, a mobile application that allows residents to attach a photo to a community concern report sent to their local Community Alternative Policing Strategy district.

“Brenna is a great thinker and a great partner in trying to bring those apps that can actually serve people and lead economic development in this city,” said Daniel X. O’Neil, executive director of the Smart Chicago Collaborative, who worked closely with Berman while she was deputy.

Emanuel to tap Brenna Berman as Chief Information Officer

Announcement of the Winners of the Illinois Open Technology Challenge

Today I presented awards to the winners of the Illinois Open Technology Challenge at the Cultural Center in Chicago.

Here’s the press release from Governor Quinn with the official announcement of the winners:

Governor Quinn Announces Winners of Illinois Open Technology Challenge
Unprecedented Release and Compilation of Municipal Government Data Fuels Competition to Develop Civic-Minded Apps. And a snip:

ILOpenTech is an initiative of Governor Quinn’s Illinois Innovation Council and is managed by the Illinois Science & Technology Coalition (ISTC) in partnership with the Smart Chicago Collaborative. The program is focused on making Illinois’ open data platform, Data.Illinois.Gov, available and applicable to communities statewide through trainings, community meet-ups and hackathons, bringing together technology developers with civic leaders and community groups. The challenge was sponsored by the Chicago Community Trust, Comcast, Google, Illinois Innovation Council, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and The Motorola Mobility Foundation.

ILOpenTech is the state’s first sustained, engaged initiative outside the Chicago metro area to work hands-on with local governments and developers on the collection and publication of open data. It has created a strong foundation for starting or accelerating open data projects statewide by helping municipalities understand the nuts and bolts of using open data to drive innovation.

In advance of the competition, ILOpenTech worked with 12 government IT professionals in the four pilot communities to compile and publish 138 new sets of data about local government operations to Data.Illinois.Gov: 34 in Champaign, 15 in Rockford, 12 in Belleville and 77 from the 42 communities in the SSMMA.

Here’s a set of photos at the event.

Writing: Seeing open government & civic innovation as drivers of economic development

Today I wrote an article for the Illinois Science & Technology Coalition’s Catalyst publication. Seeing open government & civic innovation as drivers of economic development. Snip:

Yesterday was a big day in Illinois for open government and innovation. The Illinois Innovation Network website was launched, the second quarterly Illinois Innovation Index revealed new data on STEM education and employment, and Gov. Pat Quinn announced the four winning entries of the Illinois Open Technology Challenge. The Smart Chicago Collaborative has worked over the last few months with the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition to run the Illinois Open Technology Challenge in order to bring governments, developers, and communities together in a common mission to use public data and create digital tools that will serve today’s civic needs and promote economic development.

There has been a lot of action in the open data space in the Chicago area, going back at least to the Apps For Metro Chicago competition where the State, County, and City governments collaborated to publish data and award prizes for apps.

But before we launched this project, there was no sustained effort to encourage this work in the rest of the great state of Illinois.

In many cases, like the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association, there was already a wealth of published data. In others like Belleville, we were doing greenfields open data work with great city employees who were eager to get involved. We met tech people in Rockford who were already doing great things around civic apps and connected with the robust incubator community at the Research Park in Champaign.

We spent months traveling around the state, organizing events and connecting people. The common thread, everywhere we went, was a thirst to use technology to make lives better inside communities.

We tried to direct that energy into apps and websites that could support the formation of businesses and stimulate the state economy. The civic technology sector of the technology industry is a burgeoning field, and we have the talent, focus, and policies for it to continue to be centered here in Illinois.

Knight News Challenge Open Gov Round

I served as a Reader for the Knight News Challenge Open Gov Round. It was a great experience that helped me sharpen the focus of my work in the civic innovation sector of the technology industry.

Some of my writing was reffed in the preview blog post:

News Challenge on open gov launches Feb. 12

One of our goals for the News Challenge is to involve more people in the use of technology to solve community problems. “Dozens of developers looking at each other in conference rooms over pizza is never going to lead to making lives better… without the active involvement of real residents expressing real needs and advocating for software that makes sense to them,” wrote Daniel O’Neil of the Smart Chicago Collaborative recently. We hope to help extend the spirit of open gov beyond those conference rooms, and to catalyze partnerships between hackers, civic innovators, governments, journalists and others. As a social investor, we feel the time is right to help advance the field.

Here’s a pic from Round 2 judging:

In Miami for Round 2 Judging of News Challenge for Open Gov

The winners are all deeply deserving. Here’s a snip from the announcement blog post,  Announcing the winners of Knight News Challenge: Open Gov

The News Challenge wouldn’t be possible without the involvement of many people outside Knight Foundation. I want to thank all who contributed ideas and comments to the site especially the eight people (Chase Davis, Hannah EavesElise HuErin Kissane,Jessica LordDaniel O’NeilDan Schultz and Kio Stark) who served as readers and helped us curate conversations on the site, the 18 who came to Miami on April 15-16 to help us review the final 40 entries, and to Seamus KraftDaniel O’NeilAron Pilhofer, Laura RamosJuliana RotichPeter Spear and Tom Steinberg for taking the time to participate with us in final round interviews.