Manor reaches The White House

The White House The City of Manor’s open innovation platform, Manor Labs, is featured on the White House’s Open Government Initiative blog (Open Government Laboratories of Democracy).

Innovation is possible even in small cities with very small budgets. I hope that we can work with more cities to innovate new solutions for the public-sector.


Just as the federal government is using online brainstorming with government employees and the public to generate ideas for saving money or going green, state and local governments are also using new technology to tap people’s intelligence and expertise. The City of Manor, Texas (pop. 5800) has launched “Manor Labs,” an innovation marketplace for improving city services. A participant can sign up to suggest “ideas and solutions” for the police department, the municipal court, and everything in between. Each participant’s suggestion is ranked and rewarded with “innobucks.” These points can be redeemed for prizes: a million points wins “mayor for the day” while 400,000 points can be traded for a ride-along with the Chief of Police.

Manor is also one of the few cities currently using bar codes (known as QR or Quick Response Codes) to label physical locations around town. These bar codes can be scanned with a mobile phone to communicate historical and touristic information, data about the cost of a municipal services, or emergency management information. Manor is experimenting with techniques for providing different information to different audiences. If a resident scans a QR code outside a home for sale, she gets the floor plan and purchase price; the building inspector sees the inspection history; and the policy officer receives information about the current occupant.

You can keep up with the City of Manor’s innovative efforts at the new Manor 2.0 GovFresh page.

About Dustin Haisler

Dustin Haisler is Director of Government Innovation at Spigit. He can be reached at or on Twitter at @dustinhaisler.

1 Response

  1. I leave town for one day and, sheesh! Good piece Alex. For the doubters, please: New York City has done more for an open gov/open data/apps ecosystem than any city in the world. The apps competition, the Ideas platform, the hackathons, meetups, wrangling of data from 40 city CIOs, Mayoral leadership, a great Chief Digital Officer, Investor Bar as part of BigApps where entrants get to meet some of the world’s best VCs, a similar successful effort from the MTA, and big success stories from entrants.

    I don’t know Hana Schank or Dominic Cambell, and they don’t know BigApps. Hana downloads one of 150 apps, doesn’t find parking spaces, and condemns the whole initiative. Launching any kind of crowdsourcing app and getting huge network traction is difficult, City support or not. That said, Roadify is awesome and has a killer new version coming soon. Hana should have checked in with the contestants herself before writing, like maybe this one:

    BigApps has done more for civic open data than any other city. BigApps has done more for economic development — its sponsor is NYC Economic Development Corp — than any other city open data initiative. $4M to $5M in software created each year in exchange for $20K-$50K in prize money, provided by a sponsor. Yes it will continue to lead, and yes it can and will get even better every year.

    BigApps is a win-win-win. Software developers win because of the attention. The city gov wins because of the out-of-the-box ideation and creations they don’t have to pay for. And citizens win because they get better quality of life through software, and more transparency from open data. 

    Everyone agrees that developers don’t want a one night stand. You need an ecosystem to succeed. NYC and NYC BigApps is a shining example of it. Blog post to come.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.