San Francisco City Hall

What’s different about GovTech?

I’ve spent the last eight years building and selling products to governments. At the risk of oversimplifying what works in govtech, I think success comes from three factors.

Left to right: Eric Jaye, Bergen Kenny, Danielle Winterhalter (Photo: SpeakEasy Political)

The long tail of political mail

Danielle Winterhalter, SpeakEasy co-founder and director of strategic partnerships, shares how they’re addressing a fundamental aspect of lowering the barrier to entry, especially when it comes to political (snail) mail, which is still more relevant than you might think.

Photo: Kevin Harber

Federal government progress in IT reform

The U.S. Government Accountability Office released a status report on federal government technology reform progress, and it’s an insightful read more than anything on the the lack of synchronization between agencies and GAO.

Photo: Code for America

Bringing California open data to life

Okay, I admit it: Even as a champion of open data, I find that it’s often mundane to view data on a portal. Simple lists of datasets — and even the maps and charts you can create — don’t truly show the intrinsic value of data that’s been freed to benefit communities.

Nudging residents to better engagement

“Behavioral Insights for Cities” offers anecdotes into how governments can improve constituent engagement by implementing smarter messaging and design into print collateral, email, texts and online interactions.

Source: Wired

Obama ‘Wired’

President Obama served as guest editor for the November issue of Wired, and the entire print issue is worth investing in. Here are articles that might be of interest to those of you focused more on the civic and government technology fronts.

Photo: Esther Vargas

Driving smart city innovation with open sensor data (part 5)

While there is much technology that can be sifted into must-have, nice-to-have and maybe-someday categories without a negative impact on smart city advancement, there are a few basic pieces of technology cities will need in order to extract value from the real-time data that has already begun to flow through smart cities.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks during a visit to Capitol Factory, Austin, Tex., September 14, 2016. (DoD photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith)

Ash Carter wants to keep DOD weird

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced the DOD will open its third technology innovation “outpost” in Austin, expanding the reach of the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental that serves as a “bridge between those in the U.S. military executing on some of our nation’s toughest security challenges and companies operating at the cutting edge of technology.”

Photo: Jordi Martorell

Driving smart city innovation with open sensor data (part 4)

While it is commonly acknowledged that cities today produce massive amounts of data, it is less often noted that much of the data referenced is not actually produced directly by city systems, but rather by cities’ ecosystems of partners in domains such as transportation, waste and water management and energy services.

Delivering on Digital

‘Delivering on Digital’

I finished Bill Eggers latest book, “Delivering on Digital: The Innovators and Technologies That Are Transforming Government,” and highly recommend to public sector technology practitioners, especially governments who don’t have the resources to contract with a high-end consulting firm to build out a holistic strategy on their own.

Photo: U.S. Navy

DISA kicks off overhaul of federal background checks

The Defense Information Systems Agency has released a series of videos and request for information for the National Background Investigation System, created in the wake of security incidents that lead to data breaches of millions of federal government employees and contractors.