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On Open Data, Platforms and Public/Private Partnerships

Mark Headd and I were asked by Professor Peter Robertson to share our perspectives at the upcoming Academy of Management Conference. Unfortunately, our Engage Conference precludes us from attending in person, so we filmed a brief video to send on our behalf.

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We had a chance to discuss the Accela Civic Platform and CivicData.com and to share our thoughts on:

  • Challenges and opportunities agencies face when building open data
  • How standardization is essential to fostering innovation
  • The value of open data to agencies, developers and citizens
  • How public/private partnerships foster innovation
  • How a platform approach is essential for scale
  • How civic engagement and collaborative governance improve communities

These things are inextricably linked. Opening data fuels civic hacking and innovation. Standardization brings cross-jurisdiction visibility and scale and leverage to civic developers. Collaboration and true partnerships between agencies, developers and vendors like Accela incubates these civic innovations. A platform-based business model provides a defined target market for civic developers and makes it easier for agencies to purchase their products by simplifying procurement.

Collaborative governance is the foundational premise fueling our approach to better governing through civic engagement. By leveraging open data and civic engagement apps, communities like Palo Alto, California, promote this virtuous cycle—and drive economic development and a better place for citizens and businesses. It’s an interesting new kind of love story.

So let us know your thoughts. What are the values and challenges associated with open data and standardization? What are the cool ways this information can be used and shared to make for a more transparent and engaged government?

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