2011 GovFresh Awards entries and voting now open

Every day, tech-minded citizens across the country are doing good by their communities, literally geeking out about how they can help re-define the relationship government has with its citizens, using technology as a democratic tool to empower both.

Open government hackathons matter

Open government hackathons matter

The civic hackathon – a gathering (either virtual or physical) of technologists for a few days or weeks to build civic-themed software – remains one of the more durable manifestations of the open government movement.

Quotable: ‘Don’t get blinded by this shiny little iPhone app that’s going to get developed …’

Watching FEDTALKS videos and found this money quote from iStrategy Labs CEO Peter Corbett discussing the Word Bank data catalog and apps contest:

“The most important thing you’re going to do is build a body of hundreds if not thousands of technology developers who really want to use their skills to ameliorate the world’s hardest problems. That’s what’s you guys (should) focus on at World Bank. Don’t get blinded by this shiny little iPhone app that’s going to get developed. That’s not the story. That is totally not in the game. So, what’s the game? It’s about having a body of people, a community of people, that are really passionate about your data, your problems and the solutions that the constituents you serve have.”

Government spending cuts: Who knows best?

The recently announced UK Government Spending Challenge, has this week, invited members of the public to send in their ideas on how to get value for public money.

The UK Spending Challenge was announced last month, but was initially only open to public servants. As Chancellor George Osbourne explained above, the response from public servants has been impressive. It has yielded over 60,000 ideas in just two weeks:

A ‘glass half full’ view of government app contests

An increasing number of people are starting to suggest that the concept of the “app contest” (where governments challenge developers to build civic applications) is getting a bit long in the tooth.

There have been lots of musings lately about the payoff for governments that hold such contests and the long term viability of individual entries developed for these contests. Even Washington DC – the birthplace of the current government app contest craze – seems the be moving beyond the framework it has employed not once, but twice to engage local developers.

Developers for Glory

Although it may be simple to conflate the Apps for Democracy and Apps for America contests with the exciting new Apps for Army contest, they really couldn’t be more different. Together they represent an exciting experiment in what it takes to pull communities together around a problem. Though they all offer cash prizes to the winners, they each took a slightly different approach, with different results.

Contest: Best Gov 2.0 Video

If H1N1 can have a rap video then so can Gov 2.0. Recently, Dr. John Clarke’s H1N1 Rap won the flu prevention video contest sponsored by the Department of Health & Human Services. Dr. Clarke’s innovative approach using social media to spread an important message got me thinking:

“Gov 2.0 needs a video.”

In an effort to inspire creative govies, Gov 2.0 enthusiasts, civic songwriters, comedians, poets and musicians, GovFresh is sponsoring a ‘Best Gov 2.0 Video’ contest.

Digital Democracy Contest aims to ‘Empower students to engage 21st Century government’

The Global Networked-Intelligence Contest (GNIC.org) and Sunlight Foundation have partnered to promote the Digital Democracy Contest, an effort to engage social studies classes through a Web-based game that helps students “navigate and evaluate government information online.” The program includes lessons plans, information videos and a competition to help students practice research skills.

The contest is funded by a MacArthur Young Innovator Award.