Panel: Hidden Signals Challenge

Recently I took part in scoring entries for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Hidden Signals Challenge, a competition that “calls upon data innovators from a wide variety of fields—from data science, to civic tech, to epidemiology—to develop concepts for novel uses of existing data that will identify signals and achieve timelier alerts for biothreats in our cities and communities.”

Here’s a blog post published today about that process:

Meet the Review Panel: 17 Experts in Data, Health, and Public Safety

Panel: Big Data & the Public Good for the Illinois Humanities

Today I moderated a panel for Illinois Humanities about how big data can serve the public good. Here’s how they described it:

What is the relationship between information technology, urban space, and the public good in the age of big data? Where do “smart cities” initiatives like the Array of Things – which doesn’t collect any information about individuals – fit into contemporary conversations about privacy and surveillance? How can the arts and humanities help our society think through these issues?

Alongside the discussion, we’ll also release the second issue of a chapbook set accompanying the Data, Democracy and the Human Story program series, featuring contributions from Chicago-area artists and writers.

Here’s a pic from the stage:


Here’s a Smart Chicago blog post covering the event. Snip:

Dan O’Neil shared some of the best practices that Smart Chicago has gleaned: do engagement work as openly as possibly, document your process and planning, invite everyone, and “fetishize the outputs.” One recent example of model of engagement is Smart Chicago’s work with the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force Community Forums.

PANEL: Social Media and Digital Tech in Service Development

Today I participated in this panel: Social Media and Digital Tech in Service Development

Social media provides us with a unique opportunity to listen to and understand citizen needs and to launch innovative programs and services that address them. While social media commentary is often overlooked when programming decisions are made, social good organizations can gain significant insight from community residents by paying attention to what they’re saying online, and by analyzing the data gathered from this medium.  This panel will focus on examples of social and digital media projects that work to address issues within the community and will touch on digital strategies and tactics your organization can use to both engage and serve constituents.

PANEL: Looking at Infrastructure: Smart Cities & Smart Government

Today I participated in a panel discussion about Smart Cities. We covered a lot of ground, including equity.

Looking at Infrastructure: Smart Cities & Smart Government – Embark on a panel discussion regarding the issues associated with smart city projects ranging from infrastructure considerations to imperatives regarding privacy, ownership, and stewardship of data, to funding issues and policy issues which can detract or enhance the outcomes of these initiatives.

  • Moderator: Sol Salinas, Managing Director, Accenture Digital-Mobility
  • Mohamad Nasser, Sr. Director of M2M Product, Platforms & Marketing, Sprint
  • Dan O’Neil, Executive Director, Smart Chicago
  • Karen Weigert, Chief Sustainability Officer, City of Chicago
  • Paul Steinberg, CTO, Motorola Solutions
  • Omar Elrafei, Business Development, Eluminocity

Panel: Mind Bytes— Current and Future Urban Challenges: The Role of Big Data and Technology

Today I participated in a panel for Mind Bytes. Here’s a description:

Projections show that urbanization, combined with the overall growth of the world’s population, could add another 2.5 billion people to urban populations by 2050. Exponential growth in urban density and cities brings numerous challenges and opportunities, both in the short and long term. Various types of data are being collected and analyzed today that may provide answers to the big questions faced by cities in the 21st century. This panel will discuss current and future urban challenges, and how big data and technology is being used and can be used in the future to overcome them.

I covered the need for more focus on social science, in addition to data science, in efforts to help cities grow in equity.

I also got a lot out of a question from the audience about data, tech, privacy and Hollywood— we should do more to engage with audiences of Criminal Minds, CSI, and Person of Interest, and other such shows about the ramifications and reality of the plots and devices.

Panel: “Design Thinking and Learning Together”

Today I participated in a panel discussion with Susan Patterson, co-director, KCIC, Knight Foundation; Kelly Ryan, CEO, Incourage Community Foundation;  Emmett D. Carson, Ph.D., CEO, Silicon Valley Community Foundation;  and Chris Daggett, president & CEO, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.

We talked about the work our organizations have done together in the Knight Community Information Challenge deep dive cohort.

Here’s video:


Panel: The Future of Story Telling in a Data-driven World

Today I participated in a panel in the Tech Breakfast Club: The Future of Story Telling in a Data-driven World. Here’s a description:

Experts from Narrative Science, the Smart Chicago Collaborative and Nuveen Investments will share examples of how marketers are marrying data and natural language technologies to automate routine reports and craft stories that haven’t previously been told.

Panelists were Katy De Leon, Vice President, Marketing, Narrative Science; Daniel X. O’Neil, Executive Director of the Smart Chicago Collaborative; and Andrew Champ, Vice President, Marketing Services, Nuveen Investments. Facilitated by Dan O’Brien, Chief Executive, Tech Image.

I talked about the raw info that is tossed off all the time by municipalities— building permits, restaurant inspections, and other daily detritus of the city. This stuff can be used as nodes of knowledge for those who are paying attention.


Presentation: The Promise of People in Civic Tech and Moderator: The Intersection of Technology and Civic Life at Treefort/ Hackfort

Today I presented at Hackfort, the technology focus of Treefort Music Festival, in Boise, Idaho.

The presentation was “The Promise of People in Civic Tech”:

I also moderated this panel discussion:

Discussion around creating heroic, and at times disruptive, outputs with technology that have civic impact. Moderated by Daniel X. O’Neil with panelists: Brandon Zehm, TSheets; Michael Hollenbeck, Proskriptive; Jason Hausske, One4All and Treefort’s own Lori Shandro Outen.

Panel: “Real Talk About Civic Tech” at SXSW

Today I participated in this panel at SXSW:  “Real Talk about Civic Tech

“Civic tech” attempts to apply the benefits of the Internet to government. It has begun to grow into being a force impacting national and local policy. As it becomes more mainstream, critics question how impactful these tools and approaches are for citizens. Does civic tech produce more responsive governments and stronger communities? Or does it widen the gap between the digital haves and have-nots? This panel will discuss tools and approaches that have and have not worked and what needs to happen next.

Real Talk About Civic Tech SXSW 2015 Event Schedule