I moderated the Open Government panel at the Personal Democracy Forum 2012 in NYC this week with USA CTO Todd Park, as well as with the recent CIOs of NYC, DC and the head of Treasury's smart disclosure initiative. A big topic of conversation was how to make City Innovation programs sustainable. How Do apps and projects created by citizens scale and make a difference, rather than just an exiting demo? Who might pay, especially given the mismatch between government procurement and rapid innovation?
(Examples of such innititaives are upsingapore.com/ and summerofsmart.org/home/ which we created at GAFFTA .org, and the great work of Code for America)
Todd is brining the energy, zeal, open mindeness and rigor of a terrific entrepreneur (which he was before joining government) to the USA CTO role. During our session he brought three themes together that can help make hackatons and urban innovation programs more strategic: 1) The RFP -EZ platform of the White House Innovation Fellows which aims to streamline and speed up the ability for government to procure services that cost $100k or less, which would really help kicksart innovation programs 2) linking that effort to cities (a focus of deputy white house CTO Chris Vein) and to civic hackathons--- so that ideas that bubbled out of those programs could be part of the RFP-EZ program, and 3) using kickstarter-like programs like programs to help vet and also pay from these projects. (spacehive.com/ is a great UK example.)
Todd is issuing an invitation for all of us in the City Innovation space to join the RFP-EZ and other white house innovation fellow conversations and work to have our respective efforts inform one another. I think its a great opportunity to make citizen innovation strategic innovation for our cities!