U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park (Photo: FedScoop/David Stegon)

NC DataJam Coming April 22

Raleigh, NC – The first part of a Data Palooza is coming to HUB Raleigh on April 22, 2013 from Noon to 6pm.

The NC DataJam registration site has all the details!

What is a Data Palooza, you ask? It is a sort of hackathon that has been used by Todd Park, the United States Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Assistant to the President. Todd has been a champion of using open innovation strategies and the Lean Startup approach to government initiatives in his role at Health and Human Resources (HHS). The innovation events at HHS evolved into Data Paloozas. Now as CTO, Todd is bringing Data Paloozas to other areas of government.

We found a June 2012 McKinsey & Company interview article titled: Unleashing government’s ‘innovation mojo’ which includes a good description of the Data Palooza in Todd’s own words:

The approach we took at HHS was to convene a group of 40 leading minds in the technology and health care arenas, and we put a pile of data in the room and said, “If you had this data, what would you do with it?”

Over the course of about eight hours, they brainstormed different applications and services. At the end of the meeting, we challenged them to come to the first Health Datapalooza—90 days later—and see if they could actually build what they had just brainstormed. The two criteria for products and services at Datapaloozas are that they must provide concrete value and have a sustainable business model; the Datapalooza is not meant to showcase stuff that’s purely academic or theoretical. Well, these innovators showed up 90 days later with more than 20 brand-new or upgraded products and services.

The Datapalooza had two important effects. One, it inspired entrepreneurs and innovators to get involved. Two, it gave us ammunition to liberate more data. Some folks within the government were adopting a “wait and see” attitude about data liberation. They weren’t ideologically opposed—it’s just that they said, “We’ve got a lot to do, so why should we invest in this?” We invited them to the Datapalooza, and when they saw that in 90 days these amazing innovators had taken open data and turned it into fully functional new products and services to advance their mission, they were blown away.

So NC DataJam will hopefully provide us with ‘ammunition’ to liberate more data from the municipalities in NC! If you go, let us know what you think of DataJam.

Raleigh Data Portal image

Raleigh Opens Data

Raleigh, NC – On Friday, March 15, 2013, Raleigh announced the launching of an Open Data Hub, Open Raleigh. While it has been released in a Beta form, this effort has the promise of creating a unified data platform across municipalities in the Triangle and hopefully ultimately across North Carolina.

We at Technology Tank look forward to working with Raleigh and other municipalities to make the data we all own to be open for self-service access while making sure that personally identifiable information is kept secure.

UPDATE: Raleigh Open Data Portal The naked link is:

Open Raleigh
City of Raleigh Geoportal
News & Observer Article

Triangle Startup Weekend Logo

Education Disruption Coming to Raleigh

Raleigh, NC – The “Triangle Startup Weekend – Education” will be held at Hub Raleigh from March 8-10, 2013 and will be the first Education themed Triangle Startup Weekend event ever.

Read more

Technology Tank Fellow Ian Cillay (left) discusses Open Data with Jason Hare, Open Data Program Manager for the City of Raleigh (right)

Talking Open Data

Cary NC – Last night, Technology Tank Fellow Ian Cillay and myself met with Jason Hare, the Open Data Program Manager for the City of Raleigh to discuss Open Data and the upcoming Cary Open Data Day.  Jason will be a speaker at Cary Open Data Day.

There were quite a lot of interesting things discussed at the meeting about Open Data:

  • Jason may be one of the only people in the US with the title of ‘Open Data’ anything!
  • Open Data, Open Source and Open Government all mean different things.
  • Europe has privacy policies much stricter that the US and they don’t see why we cannot get control of information with personal identifying information.  Maybe the many overlapping jurisdictions in the US all having different laws on the privacy issue for one thing?
  • There needs to be a common structure as municipalities create Open Data structures to allow apps to work as people move from Municipality to municipality. Just think if the electrical charging connections for electric cars were different in every city; no one would make electric cars…
  • The City of Raleigh has taken over support of the Raleigh Greenway App using City of Raleigh resources – data sets.  The Greenway App was originally developed out of a 3-day Raleigh CityCamp.  Raleigh has decided to be the authoritative source of this important information tool.

Jason was very complimentary about the report of the Cary Technology Task Force, and has read the 239 page report (pdf) to the Cary Town Council.  The report was described to Jason as a ‘suggestion’ of what the Cary citizens want from the Town in the way of Technology interaction.  Jason feels that the Town of Cary received quite a jewel with the report.

Raleigh started their Open Data efforts with a 5 sentence directive, and Jason has been working with citizen groups, City staff and Internet governing bodies to define the policies and practices necessary to make Open Data possible for Raleigh.  Raleigh is pursuing Open Data as an economic development tool.  If large amounts of data become easily available (without the personal identifying information which would lead to privacy concern issues) then entrepreneurs will move in to make the data available in many useful ways.  Successful businesses will bring economic vitality and increased tax revenues for the City.

Raleigh is looking at Open Data as a necessary City infrastructure, much like streets, street lighting, fire hydrants, etc.  Not a bad way to look at something that we all own.

A Raleigh Code for America Brigade will be coming to Cary Open Data Day to assist with the nascent Open Data efforts in Cary.  Make sure you register for Cary Open Data Day so you can learn more and participate.