Jonathan Reichental

How Palo Alto is leading the digital city movement

Palo Alto, Calif., Chief Information Officer Jonathan Reichental discusses his “digital city” vision, including how he leveraged the local developer community to help build city applications, bringing a “hacker ethic” to bureaucracy and the importance of supportive leaders in managing IT and cultural change.

Voter ID and Civic Innovation

Since 2008, there has been a wave of voting law changes that impose barriers to the ballot box. Georgia Rep. John Lewis, a veteran of “Bloody Sunday,” called the new laws “the most concerted effort to restrict the right to vote since before the Voting Rights Act.”

The right to vote is being chiseled away by voter ID laws that require voters to show government-issued photo ID in order to vote.

Cost of Freedom Project Logo

In December, the Department of Justice blocked South Carolina’s voter ID law on the grounds it would make it harder for minorities to vote in violation of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Mississippi and Texas voting ID laws also must be pre-cleared but Texas is not waiting. The Lone Star State filed a federal lawsuit in an effort to speed up a decision.

Strict photo ID requirements will be in place in at least five states – Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Tennessee and Wisconsin — In November. With Election Day less than nine months away, voters without an official photo ID cannot wait for the challenges to play out at the Justice Department and in the courts.

In Wisconsin, for instance, voters must navigate “The 4 Proofs.”

I am a founding member of the Election Protection Coalition. Still, looking at the infographic makes my head hurt. More worrisome, it discourages voters from completing the application process. So I presented the problem of TMI (read: disenfranchisement by design) at Random Hacks of Kindness and the Hackathon for Social Good. Citizen programmers developed solutions to quickly provide voters with information on how to get a voter ID.

During Social Week Washington, DC, I gave a demo of the Cost of Freedom web-based app developed by Kin Lane, API Evangelist for CityGrid.

Users in Wisconsin can forget about “The 4 Proofs.” Instead, in four clicks or less, they will be able to access information about the state’s voter ID requirements, how to obtain a certified copy of their birth certificate (the document that’s typically produced to establish one’s identity), and the location, hours and directions to the Office of Vital Records using public transit.

I also gave a live demo of the Cost of Freedom text-based app developed by Jack Aboutboul, Twilio’s API Evangelist. Twilio is making an in-contribution of text message services to promote voter education.

To commemorate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we plan to launch the Cost of Freedom App on April 4, 2012.

I will post regular updates about the Cost of Freedom Project and other initiatives that are using civic innovation to protect the right to vote. The conversation about voter ID also gives us an opportunity to raise awareness about disruptive technologies in the public sector beyond election administration.

For more information, please visit us at Facebook.com/CostofFreedom. You can sign up to receive notice when the Cost of Freedom App is launched. Continue reading

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.

Bloomberg: How cities can ‘Moneyball’ government

New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg has a blog post on how cities are collaborating to better leverage data analytics and maximize taxpayer return on investment. The post cites examples from major American cities and how they’ve leveraged data, especially 311 logs, to realize efficiencies.

Neighborland

Here comes the Neighborland

Neighborland is a new ideation crowdsourcing startup that gives citizens a “fun and easy way for residents to suggest new businesses and services that they want in their neighborhood.”

Crowdsourcing, ideas and innovation in government

Join Gov 2.0 Radio producer Adriel Hampton for a conversation with IdeaScale co-founder Rob Hoehn. In the fourth of our series on crowdsourcing, innovation and ideation in the government and enterprise, Rob talks about how business clients are learning from the government, being SaaS before the cloud was cool, and what his company learned about Section 508 while working to help implement the U.S. Open Government Directive.

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Getting the BrightIdea: Crowdsourcing in government and enterprise

Gov 2.0 Radio talks with Matt Greeley of BrightIdea. BrightIdea has powered innovation campaigns for the government of Ireland, City of San Francisco and has a new contract with the U.S. State Department. It’s also the platform behind the $200 million GE Ecomagination Challenge. We talk with company co-founder Matt Greeley about challenges and best practices in ideation, innovation and crowdsourcing for government and enterprise.

Leveraging your community through crowdsourcing

Richard White on Leveraging Your Community: San Francisco startup UserVoice allows governments, politicians, nonprofits and businesses small and large to harness the ideas and feedback of their employees, communities and citizens online. Gov 2.0 Radio host Adriel Hampton talks with CEO Richard White about best practices for local government use of this kind of feedback tool, and some of the best and worst examples of the platform in action.

FedSpace wants your ideas

The General Services Administration is now soliciting ideas for FedSpace, the intranet for federal government employees. As they did during the Open Government Directive, they’re using the crowdsourcing platform IdeaScale to manage submissions.

How to pick a citizen idea platform

Today, more than ever, there has been lots of talk about open innovation, idea collection, ideation and many other terms used to describe the collection of citizen feedback. Most idea collection platforms have been lumped together and only compared on the basis of price alone. Based upon our research at Manor Labs, in collaboration with the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford University, we have come to the conclusion that there are two distinctly different platforms for idea collection.