2011 GovFresh Awards

2011 GovFresh City of the Year: New York City

Mayor Bloomberg unveils Road Map for the Digital City with Chief Digital Officer Rachel Sterne on May 16, 2011. (Photo Credit: Spencer T Tucker)

Mayor Bloomberg unveils Road Map for the Digital City with Chief Digital Officer Rachel Sterne on May 16, 2011. (Photo Credit: Spencer T Tucker)

New York City was honored as the ‘City of the Year’ in our  2011 GovFresh Awards. We asked NYC Chief Digital Officer Rachel Sterne to highlight the work done in 2011, what made it happen, and share what’s to come in 2012.

What happened in NYC this year?

2011 has been a thrilling year for technology in New York City. Last January Mayor Bloomberg created NYC Digital and we hit the ground running with a focus on improving the way we serve New Yorkers through digital technology. Our first order of business was publishing the Road Map for the Digital City, which gathered information about the state of the City’s technology initiatives and outlined our plans to realize New York City potential as the leading Digital City in the world. Shortly afterwards, we hosted the City’s first-ever hackathon, Reinvent NYC.GOV. Thanks to the over one hundred individuals who participated, it was a great success and attracted developers from across the country who built innovative prototypes re-imagining the City’s website. With our Engage NYC initiative, we’ve developed workshops and training sessions for communications staff across City government. We unveiled NYC Open Data, a repository of over 850 government datasets, and an accompanying Tumblr for striking data visualizations to make our data more accessible to the broader NYC community; we grew to over 200 social media channels with more than 1.5 million followers across City government; we’re constantly reaching out to the city’s burgeoning start-up scene and getting input from entrepreneurs; we’ve joined the Mayor to recognize homegrown startups Foursquare, Tumblr, and Etsy with official visits, and to open new offices with Facebook, Twitter and Yelp– the list goes on and on.

And of course there’s the Applied Sciences NYC Initiative which heralds the creation of a brand-new engineering campus in New York City. Just this week, Mayor Bloomberg announced that Cornell and Technion were chosen to develop the campus on Roosevelt Island, which will be a game-changer for both the city’s tech scene and its economic future.

What’s your secret? How does a large city like NYC inspire and maintain civic innovation?

Listening to public needs and taking a metrics-based approach to innovation is at the core of our strategy. The Mayor often remarks that New York City is the intellectual capital of the world. We’re fortunate to benefit from the phenomenal input, ideas and efforts from the public, from the tech community, and from inside City government.

We make it a priority to connect government folks with technology partners, to bridge those sectors, and to provide New York City government employees with the support and freedom they need to be effective communicators and innovators.

An important part of our mission is to provide the resources needed to help City agencies realize their own digital media goals and leverage technologies to achieve their objectives.

We know that New Yorkers who engage with their government through these digital channels will feel empowered and want to get involved even further – that’s the most satisfying part about all of our efforts, and it really speaks to Mayor Bloomberg’s commitment to the power of technology and innovation within government.

Who all deserves a shout-out?

Mayor Bloomberg’s leadership has fueled innovation in City government. New York City is the greatest city in the world, and the Mayor decided that we needed to have the most innovative City government, too. And the hard work of the many talented digital and communications staffers across New York City government has been crucial. The Social Media Advisory and Research Taskforce (http://on.nyc.gov/o0P3Ta), a group of digital pioneers from across City agencies, has been instrumental in embracing new technologies and evolving policies. And we all know there is still so much more we can do.

We’ve also been fortunate to partner with some of the greatest tech companies in the world, many homegrown in NYC, including Bitly, Buddy Media, Facebook, Foursquare, Google, Soundcloud, Twitter, Tumblr, and YouTube. We use their tools and products all the time, and their help has made a world of difference. In addition, we are hugely appreciative to devoted technologists who have helped us innovate, both virtually and in person, at the Reinvent NYC.GOVhackathon, and by creating applications using NYC’s OpenData platform.

But above all, the New Yorkers who engage with the City online every day deserve the biggest shout out of all. They are playing a huge role in New York City government and helping us to improve our own efforts every day.

We’ve also been fortunate to partner with some of the greatest tech companies in the world, including Bitly, Buddy Media, Facebook, Foursquare, General Assembly, Google, Soundcloud, Twitter, Tumblr, and YouTube. We use their tools and products all the time, and their help has made a world of difference. In addition, we are hugely appreciative to devoted technologists who have helped us innovative both virtually and in person, at the Reinvent NYC.GOVhackathon, and by creating dozens of applications using NYC’s OpenData platform.

But above all, the New Yorkers who engage with the City online every day deserve the biggest shout out of all. They are playing a huge role in New York City government and helping us to improve our own efforts every day.

What can we expect in 2012?

As great as 2011 was, 2012 will be even better. We’re going to completely relaunch nyc.govand make it the best government website across the globe. Our goal is to make it as convenient and quick as possible for residents to get the information and services they seek.

We’re going to increase and improve our social media channels too – there are a lot of interesting projects and campaigns in the pipeline. We will introduce a new Citywide social media management platform, in addition to the launching and relaunching of Citywide social media verticals including a Foursquare badge, Facebook page, Tumblr, and our great @nycgov Twitter feed. Stay tuned, because it’s going to be very exciting.

2011 GovFresh Citizen of the Year: Adriel Hampton

2011 GovFresh Citizen of the Year: Adriel Hampton

Fresh off off getting recognized as the 2011 GovFresh Awards ‘Citizen of the Year,’ we asked Gov 2.0 Radio host and founder and NationBuilder Chief Organizer Adriel Hampton to share more about his work and what drives him.

What efforts over the past year have you been involved with that you’re most proud of?

Gosh, there are a lot. I was really happy to work with my great SF City Attorney colleague Jen Drake on the SF version of the global “Let’s Do It!” movement with local cleanups and blight mapping as part of “Let’s Do It SF!.” Also with Jen, I helped create the “Local Lifesavers” project in SF, supporting the great “PulsePoint” emergency response app from the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District and organizing local basic emergency response trainings. CityCamp was a big part of my year, from the first camps in Oklahoma City and Raleigh to an SF unconference at the SF Department of Technology offices and a hackathon in December with Javier Muniz and the great folks at Granicus in SF supporting the work of local nonprofits and good government activists.

I did some fun feature writing for the new “Social Media Monthly” magazine, including pieces critical of Google+’s identity policies and supportive of Occupy Wall Street.

We had several great months of “Third Thursdays” civic tech mixers in SF. I co-founded SF Tech Dems to help connect technologists with Democratic Party leaders in SF and California.

I was really happy about the continued success of Gov 2.0 Radio, aided tremendously this year by the addition of Sydney-based open government expert Allison Hornery as a co-host. I helped Karen Suhaka launch her new legislative data company Legination and its BillTrack50 product. I helped draft and organizing support for a new digital open records law that California Sen. Leland Yee has announced he will sponsor.

I left the City of San Francisco to join NationBuilder and help it grow to supporting more than 300 active advocacy groups, politicians and filmmakers around the world.

What drives you to do what you do?

Ha! Sometimes I wonder that myself. I guess I’m just really concerned that as individual citizens we need to be involved in “being the change.” I can be as cynical and full of fear about the future as anyone when I think about our economy and government, but I’ve decided that the best thing I can do with my energy is to fight for what I believe in – open, accountable and efficient government, a strong social safety net, and the advancement of democracy and human equality through technological innovation. And when I can’t have personal direct impact, I can certainly use my skills and networks to advance and promote the work of others.

There is a speech by novelist Haruki Murakami I first read this year that sums up a lot of how I feel:

“We are all human beings, individuals transcending nationality and race and religion, fragile eggs faced with a solid wall called the System. To all appearances, we have no hope of winning. The wall is too high, too strong — and too cold. If we have any hope of victory at all, it will have to come from our believing in the utter uniqueness and irreplaceability of our own and others’ souls and from the warmth we gain by joining souls together.”

What civic advice do you have for your fellow citizens?

It’s easier than you think to make a major difference. Organizing matters. Presence matters. Perseverance matters.

2011 GovFresh Public Servant of the Year: Matthew Esquibel

2011 GovFresh Public Servant of the Year Matthew Esquibel

Photo courtesy of Matthew Esquibel

Fresh off off getting recognized as the 2011 GovFresh Awards ‘Public Servant of the Year,’ we asked the City of Austin’s Matthew Esquibel, Programmer Analyst Supervisor for Internet/Intranet Web Design in the Office of Communications & Technology Management, to share more about his work.

What are you working on in Austin that inspires you most?

We just launched a new Open Source website (austintexas.gov) and Open Data Portal (data.austintexas.gov) this week. It was the culmination of a lot of work between the city and the community and puts Austin in a great position to advance our goals of transparency, efficiency and collaboration. It is great to work with a variety of teams and individuals who believe so strongly in these initiatives. I am particularly excited about the City of Austin’s 2012 partnership with Code for America and look forward to working with them to bring great solutions to Austin.

What general trends do you see in government technology and open government that are changing the way government works?

I think there is a strong trend to try and learn lessons from the private sector and startup companies and to figure out how to apply those strategies to how government does business. It is clear that there is a large gap between the agility and innovation you typically find in a startup company and the business-as-usual approach often found in government. Focusing on open platforms, open data,agile project methodologies and collaborative community/non-profit partnerships–government is finding ways to do things smarter and we are starting to see the positive effect.

What big plans does Austin have for 2012?

2012 is all about building on the open platform and data initiatives we started this year. In many ways, our work in these areas is just beginning. We are obviously very excited about our partnership with Code for America and know that this relationship will really help keep the momentum going. We definitely want to show the world that being open to new solutions and partnerships will lead to great things for Austin and government in general.

Who gets a shout-out?

I definitely want to recognize the leadership at the City of Austin who have embraced open platform and data initiatives–it is crucial to have support at all levels to be successful. I also want to thank the web project team leaders Chris Florance and Charles Purma who never gave up on helping to push these initiatives forward–and the staff of the web team who did all the awesome work to implement them. Also, the Austin community, particularly OpenAustin, for being an articulate and energizing force. Raja, the Master Blaster! And finally, Mackenzie Kelly, a neighbor I have never met, but appears to be equally deserving of this honor.

Connect with Matthew on LinkedIn and Twitter at @escribbles and Austin Government at @austingovonline.

2011 GovFresh Awards winners

2011 GovFresh Awards

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2011 GovFresh Awards. Thank you also to our judges and partners. This was an incredible experience for us to be part of.

So many of you are doing such great work for your communities. Thank you everyone for all you’ve done this year.

Congratulations to the 2011 GovFresh Awards winners.

Winners

Note: You can find out more about the winning apps and cities on the Civic Commons Marketplace.

Judges

Alissa Black

Alissa BlackAlissa Black is the Government Relations Director at Code for America. Through its fellowship program, Code for America recruits passionate technologists into public service to help governments become more open and efficient. Alissa has extensive experience in technology and local government, most recently leading the Open311 effort with the City of San Francisco, and she holds a Masters in Urban Planning from NYU. Connect on Twitter.


Kevin Curry

Kevin CurryKevin Curry is a co-founder and director of CityCamp and is co-founder of Bridgeborn, Inc. CityCamp is an international unconference series and online community dedicated to innovation for municipal governments and community organizations. Since the inaugural event in Chicago, January 2010, there have been 18 CityCamps in 16 cities, including San Francisco, Denver, Raleigh, and Minneapolis. CityCamps have also been held in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, St. Petersburg, Russia, and London, England. Connect on Twitter.


Kristy Fifelski

Kristy FifelskiKristy Fifelski is an award-winning speaker, trainer and advisor on digital strategy and social media. She serves in many advisory roles related to online government and has served over 10 years in public service. Kristy manages web services and social media for the City of Reno, Nevada, and formerly served on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Government Webmasters. She is the host and creator of GovGirl.com, a video blog exploring online government. Kristy earned a Master’s Degree in Communication from Northern Illinois University, where she graduated with honors. Connect on Twitter.


Nick Grossman

Nick GrossmanNick Grossman is Managing Director of Civic Commons and Open Cities Evangelist for OpenPlans. For the past 10 years, he has developed products and grown businesses that help cities work better. In 2010, Nick co-founded Civic Commons, a new nonprofit initiative that helps governments collaborate around technology development projects. Since 2006, Nick led new product and business development at OpenPlans, building enterprise open source software for cities. He is also an advisor to Code for America and a visiting researcher at the MIT Media Lab. He is a graduate of Stanford University. Connect on Twitter.


Dustin Haisler

Dustin HaislerDustin Haisler is currently the Director of Government Innovation for Spigit, Inc., and former Assistant City Manager and Chief Information Officer for the City of Manor, Texas. Dustin helped launch Manor’s open innovation platform, Manor Labs, in conjunction with the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford University. Dustin graduated Magna Cum Laude from LeTourneau University with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration. Connect on Twitter.


Alex Howard

Alex HowardAlexander B. Howard is Radar‘s Government 2.0 Correspondent for 
O’Reilly Media, where he reports on technology, open government and online civics. Connect on Twitter.


Nigel Jacob

Nigel JacobWith an extensive background in collaborative, citizen-facing technology projects, Nigel Jacob co-founded the Office of New Urban Mechanics. Nigel also serves as Mayor Menino’s advisor on emerging technologies. In both of these roles, Nigel works to develop new models of innovation for cities in the 21st century. Prior to joining the City of Boston in 2006, Nigel worked with a series of technology start-ups in the Boston area. Nigel is also a fellow at the Center for the Advancement of Public Action at Bennington College, where he conducts research on cutting edge models of civic engagement in urban settings. Connect on Twitter.


Nick Judd

Nick JuddNick Judd is the managing editor of techPresident, a news site covering how technology is changing politics, government and civic life. Prior to joining techPresident’s parent company, Personal Democracy Media, he reported on politics and local government for several publications in and around New York City. Nick also did a stint as an urban public policy researcher at the think tank Center for an Urban Future. Connect on Twitter.


Teresa Lee

Teresa LeeSince January, 2004, Teresa has been the webmaster for the City of Prattville, Ala. She also serves as the public information officer and city photographer. Teresa is currently working on an open government project for Prattville that will be the first of its kind in the State of Alabama on the municipal level. She serves as South Region Director for the National Association of Government Webmasters. Connect on Twitter.


Sarah Schacht

Sarah SchachtThe Betty White of Gov 2.0., Sarah Schacht is the Founder and Director of Knowledge As Power & OpenGovWest. Transparency, civic engagement designer. Open legislative info/tech advisor. Connect on Twitter.


Luke FretwellLuke Fretwell is the founder of GovFresh. He spent the first part of his career inside the Beltway before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he has worked in and now advises start-up companies, businesses and government on product, content, Web, branding and social media strategy. He holds degrees in Government & Politics and International Relations from George Mason University. Connect with GovFresh on Twitter.


Partners

Code for America

National Association of Government Webmasters

CityCamp

Civic Commons

OpenPlans

Gov 2.0 Radio

GovGirl

Meet the 2011 GovFresh Awards judges

Last week, thousands of votes were cast across every category in the 2011 GovFresh Awards. Our judges are now reviewing and selecting their picks and winners will be announced on Monday, December 19.

We thought you’d like to meet them.

Alissa Black

Alissa BlackAlissa Black is the Government Relations Director at Code for America. Through its fellowship program, Code for America recruits passionate technologists into public service to help governments become more open and efficient. Alissa has extensive experience in technology and local government, most recently leading the Open311 effort with the City of San Francisco, and she holds a Masters in Urban Planning from NYU. Connect on Twitter.


Kevin Curry

Kevin CurryKevin Curry is a co-founder and director of CityCamp and is co-founder of Bridgeborn, Inc. CityCamp is an international unconference series and online community dedicated to innovation for municipal governments and community organizations. Since the inaugural event in Chicago, January 2010, there have been 18 CityCamps in 16 cities, including San Francisco, Denver, Raleigh, and Minneapolis. CityCamps have also been held in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, St. Petersburg, Russia, and London, England. Connect on Twitter.


Kristy Fifelski

Kristy FifelskiKristy Fifelski is an award-winning speaker, trainer and advisor on digital strategy and social media. She serves in many advisory roles related to online government and has served over 10 years in public service. Kristy manages web services and social media for the City of Reno, Nevada, and formerly served on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Government Webmasters. She is the host and creator of GovGirl.com, a video blog exploring online government. Kristy earned a Master’s Degree in Communication from Northern Illinois University, where she graduated with honors. Connect on Twitter.


Nick Grossman

Nick GrossmanNick Grossman is Managing Director of Civic Commons and Open Cities Evangelist for OpenPlans. For the past 10 years, he has developed products and grown businesses that help cities work better. In 2010, Nick co-founded Civic Commons, a new nonprofit initiative that helps governments collaborate around technology development projects. Since 2006, Nick led new product and business development at OpenPlans, building enterprise open source software for cities. He is also an advisor to Code for America and a visiting researcher at the MIT Media Lab. He is a graduate of Stanford University. Connect on Twitter.


Dustin Haisler

Dustin HaislerDustin Haisler is currently the Director of Government Innovation for Spigit, Inc., and former Assistant City Manager and Chief Information Officer for the City of Manor, Texas. Dustin helped launch Manor’s open innovation platform, Manor Labs, in conjunction with the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford University. Dustin graduated Magna Cum Laude from LeTourneau University with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration. Connect on Twitter.


Alex Howard

Alex HowardAlexander B. Howard is Radar‘s Government 2.0 Correspondent for 
O’Reilly Media, where he reports on technology, open government and online civics. Connect on Twitter.


Nigel Jacob

Nigel JacobWith an extensive background in collaborative, citizen-facing technology projects, Nigel Jacob co-founded the Office of New Urban Mechanics. Nigel also serves as Mayor Menino’s advisor on emerging technologies. In both of these roles, Nigel works to develop new models of innovation for cities in the 21st century. Prior to joining the City of Boston in 2006, Nigel worked with a series of technology start-ups in the Boston area. Nigel is also a fellow at the Center for the Advancement of Public Action at Bennington College, where he conducts research on cutting edge models of civic engagement in urban settings. Connect on Twitter.


Nick Judd

Nick JuddNick Judd is the managing editor of techPresident, a news site covering how technology is changing politics, government and civic life. Prior to joining techPresident’s parent company, Personal Democracy Media, he reported on politics and local government for several publications in and around New York City. Nick also did a stint as an urban public policy researcher at the think tank Center for an Urban Future. Connect on Twitter.


Teresa Lee

Teresa LeeSince January, 2004, Teresa has been the webmaster for the City of Prattville, Ala. She also serves as the public information officer and city photographer. Teresa is currently working on an open government project for Prattville that will be the first of its kind in the State of Alabama on the municipal level. She serves as South Region Director for the National Association of Government Webmasters. Connect on Twitter.


Sarah Schacht

Sarah SchachtThe Betty White of Gov 2.0., Sarah Schacht is the Founder and Director of Knowledge As Power & OpenGovWest. Transparency, civic engagement designer. Open legislative info/tech advisor. Connect on Twitter.


Luke FretwellLuke Fretwell is the founder of GovFresh. He spent the first part of his career inside the Beltway before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he has worked in and now advises start-up companies, businesses and government on product, content, Web, branding and social media strategy. He holds degrees in Government & Politics and International Relations from George Mason University. Connect with GovFresh on Twitter.


2011 GovFresh Awards entries and voting now open

2011 GovFresh Awards

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 collaboratively empower both.

So much is happening in the civic technology community – website redesigns, new websites, open data initiatives, apps, camps, developer contests, hackathons and more – it’s hard to get a perspective on or truly appreciate the collective work of these dot-dogooders both inside and outside government.

That’s why we created the 2011 GovFresh Awards.

It’s time to recognize and honor all that’s been accomplished this year.

It’s time to say thank you.

Here are the categories. Start entering and start voting.