The state of California has launched a $25K Find a New Way innovation contest that gives residents a chance “to identify areas of improvement within the state government and share their untapped expertise to create solutions.”
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.
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.
“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.”
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:
An increasing number of people are starting to suggest that the concept of the â€œapp contestâ€ (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.
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 couldnâ€™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.
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.
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.