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Civic Commons: NAGW 2011 Lightning Round
 

Civic Commons: NAGW 2011 Lightning Round

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Presentation by Jeremy Canfield of Code for America and Civic Commons at the NAGW conference.

Presentation by Jeremy Canfield of Code for America and Civic Commons at the NAGW conference.

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  • Code for America Fellows, with staff, advisors, mustaches
  • (set 1: multicolor dots) Government around the country are investing lots of time and money in new information systems. Right now, this largely happens in isolation (set 2: blue dots) As you ’d expect, governments typically build & buy similar kinds of tools (set 3: w/ orange lines) Civic Commons intends to build connections among governments, to make the most of opportunities for sharing and collaboration.
  • (set 1: multicolor dots) Government around the country are investing lots of time and money in new information systems. Right now, this largely happens in isolation (set 2: blue dots) As you ’d expect, governments typically build & buy similar kinds of tools (set 3: w/ orange lines) Civic Commons intends to build connections among governments, to make the most of opportunities for sharing and collaboration.
  • (set 1: multicolor dots) Government around the country are investing lots of time and money in new information systems. Right now, this largely happens in isolation (set 2: blue dots) As you ’d expect, governments typically build & buy similar kinds of tools (set 3: w/ orange lines) Civic Commons intends to build connections among governments, to make the most of opportunities for sharing and collaboration.
  • This is not a new idea. There are already great examples of governments coordinating on tech projects, sharing code, and learning from one another (Bryan give examples here)
  • Civic Commons intends to be a platform that supports this sharing and collaboration. (ideas build in one-by-one)
  • But next, we plan to develop this into a more “dynamic marketplace” - a catalog (that lives on top of resources like github, sourceforge, and others) that provides a government-oriented view of what tools are available and how they match up with the needs of the community.
  • Sneak peak of the marketplace
  • Okay I’ll go first. These apps cover a wide range of purposes and scales, and I’ll start with one that I’m really excited about. You’ve probably seen this one in the news: NASCIO collected about 30 agencies that were interested in deploying it. If 10 of those agencies stand it up… And that’s not even the half of it! This system is for tracking projects based on Drupal with some slick charts that give IT managers the ability to communicate their projects status and make decisions. It’s also good for dealing with zombie projects. Take this quote from departing CIO of the U.S. Vivek Kundra:
  • "The Dashboard has helped us shine a light on IT projects, providing performance data to fuel TechStat reviews, which have led to over $3 billion in cost reductions." The IT Dashboard led to 3 billion dollars in savings. And that was after only a little while in existence! If only 10 of those organizations deploy it and realize only 5% of that amount, they each get a cool 150 mil to play with.
  • Let’s look at one that’s a bit simpler. Where’s my school bus is a web app with a mobile optimized front end, meaning it works well on androids and iphones and any other of those wonderful little pocket computers. It’s in use by Boston, and came out of the citiy’s partnership with Code for America this year:
  • Soon after the fellows arrived in February the city got hit by one of it’s legendary snowstorms, and the city staff put the eager fellows to work in the call center. Among other things, the fellows learned that many of the calls are from parents trying to determine when their kids snow-delayed bus would arrive. The city had already outfitted the buses with gps locators, so it knew where they were, it was a simple enough for the fellows to get this information to parents. Now instead of waiting on hold or putting their kid out by the bus stop to potentially catch cold while waiting for the bus, parents can log-in and check out the location of their kids bus. Pretty smart: it saves the city the call volume and the parents the time spent on the phone, and perhaps more than one bottle of Vick’s Vapo-Rub. borne of blizzards, and yours, on the commons
  • Or let’s take a look at the enterprise addressing system, out of San Francisco. This is a master address database system; I didn’t know what one of those was either. It’s actually fairly simple: it’s the one database where all city data is mapped to physical addresses or parcels. SF is using it, smartly, to make sure that property listings are up to date, which doesn’t sound very sexy until you realize that making those parcels up to date means more tax revenue, which means more money for cool projects.
  • In the words of Paul McCullough, the ace at SF who helped develop it with vendor Farralon Geographics, it will help reduce data maintenance work. Don’t know about you, but data maintenance work is not my favorite kind of work. Another point this project brings up: The Civic Commons will have open source apps on it that you can download and stand up if you’ve got the pluck and the time and the prowess. But we know it ain’t always that easy, and sometimes it’s really nice to have a someone to get on the phone when things aren’t working smoothly, and sometimes it’s just easier to have tech vendors do the heavy lifting. We get that. And the Marketplace will have vendors associated with the products. So if you’re a vendor that has deployed an app, you can associate yourself with it, and if you’re a city you can find out who to talk to about it. Good idea?
  • Let’s go back to the snows of Boston, for another fellow created app. This one maps the fire hydrants of the Boston, and allows the citizens to adopt said fire hydrants. Why, you might ask, would anyone want to adopt a fire hydrant? Well, when the snowplow comes by and covers the thing in a few feet of snow, the city needs to make sure they get dug out so that there aren’t delays in putting out fires. Sometimes digging all these out can take a while for city crews, but this app allows citizens, who are probably out shoveling their walk anyway, to do it much faster than the city would have a chance. This introduces some neighborly accountability to the mix. So say –what’s your name: John. Say John adopts the hydrant at the corner of 2 nd and State St. If Suzy walks by and sees that Johns hydrant isn’t cleaned off, she can tell the system that it needs doing, which will tell John.
  • This, again, was a blizzard app. But maybe you work in Daytona Beach, and you don’t get that many blizzards. This is open source software, and you could pretty easily repurpose it for, say, watering trees, or whatever it is Daytona Beach city crews could use some citizen elbow grease on.
  • Speaking of apps ripe for repurposing, the federal register is the daily report of the government: everyday, it posts rules and rule changes of the executive branch agencies, as well as receives public comments. _______
  • And the federal Register. Beth Noveck, formerly at the White House is very excited about this. And to be clear: It is keeping track of lot of agencies, and I suspect there are other distributed organizations that make rules or petitions and might also like to get the word out about them. Maybe some of us even work for them!
  • Another Code for America App, this one by fellows John & Anna. See if this strikes you as familiar: you’re walking through your city, and you happen across a block you don’t normally go to, and see an amazing mural. You’re captivated, and want to know more. Maybe you snap a picture, maybe you even write down the cross streets if you’re not in a rush. But by the time you get home, what’s the chance of you looking up that mural, and even if you did, how would you find it? Google “tree ladder people”. Go ahead. I dare you. John was walking around Philadelphia, and saw all these amazing murals and wanted to know more, but, like many of us, forgot to look it up when he got home. He wanted to have the data then, when he was looking at it. Or, as Anna puts it:
  • I’ve played with it a bit and it’s very cool. It essentially turns the city into a guided museum walk. Maybe this app isn’t going to balance your budget, but it may just change the way the citizens feel about their city. And the way John set it up, it’s really easy to add another city’s art to it. He already has Phili and SF.
  • This is another really simple focused purpose app that has the potential to save a lot of dough and make the city’s documents a little more interactive. Pdfs can be pretty annoying for both citizens and the people who need to get the data out tof them.
  • Basically, this app provides a simple way to start to move off of a paper process without building a ton of infrastructure: Instead of putting pdfs online that citizens (or umm, other employees) have to print out and mail or fax, this app presents a way to easily revise the forms so that they can be typed into and submitted online, posting the data as a csv.
  • While we’re on the subject of back office flow, another tool that’s worth checking out is Joget. Joget is an open source workflow designer. It’s pretty powerful, and really great because it allows non-programmers to create functional workflows. Meaning, you can wire up call center that directs calls, or create the plumbing for a document approval process, or whatever. It’s pretty easy to use, and has a lot of uptake.
  • Don’ t take it from me: Check out what this systems analyst from the Cleveland Clinic said about it. I bet if you had a bit of pluck you could wire Joget up to smartPDF and mostly do away with those everpresent interdepartmental mailers. If you do, make sure we about it.
  • Okay so I know I’m not supposed to play favorites, but I love this app. The concept is so simple: It gets a list of people, and everyday it sends two of them at random a lunch meet-up request. I can’t always go (sometimes we have lunch meetings or I’m out of town, but the system is smart enough to ask someone else if I deny the request) That’s pretty much it. It’s also a fellow created-app, by Joel and Talin, and it’s been deployed both at Code for America and I believe in Honolulu. It’s great for getting to know people in your company that may not be on the same team in a pretty light-hearted way. I’ve found out all manner of interesting facts about my colleagues that I wouldn’t otherwise known. I’m not alone:
  • It’s really easy to get siloed at work on the projects you’re working on, and that’s just not healthy, either for you or the org. The smartest, most creative companies design their very workspace to encourage serendipity, to encourage people to run into each other and strike up conversations. I’m not sure if it’s like this in your agency, but I know that a lot of the decision making of GAO’s IT actually started in the hall or at the watercooler. People who are happy are more productive, and job satisfaction has a lot to do with the right amount of social support.
  • Okay friends: your turn. We can not do this without you. This is your marketplace, this is your community. We are all in a tight spot right now: budgets are flat or shrinking at the same time we’re told to not only keep the lights on, but to innovate. We’re told to do more with less, or in some cases, more with nothing. But we’ve got more than nothing. We’ve got each other. And together, that’s incredibly powerful. Together, we can build a commons that not only allows us to survive, but to flourish. What apps are you using that you could share with your colleagues?
  • Thanks. See you on the internets. Time for discussion.

Civic Commons: NAGW 2011 Lightning Round Civic Commons: NAGW 2011 Lightning Round Presentation Transcript

  • Apps  Lightning Round This session will focus on sharing information about applications available and soon to be available through the Civic Commons. We'll take a quick look at a number of the applications, what they do and take questions on them. We'll also invite participants to share information about the apps they know about. Jeremy Canfield & Michelle Koeth 
  • what this session is about, really.
    • who are these punks, anyway?
    • what is the Civic Commons? 
    •    
    • what is the Civic Commons Marketplace? 
    • applications, applications, applications.
  •  
  •  
  • what this session is about, really.
    • who are these punks, anyway?
    • what is the Civic Commons? 
    •    
    • what is the Civic Commons Marketplace? 
    • applications, applications, applications.
  •  
  • GRAPHIC: OPENPLANS the enormous opportunity
  • GRAPHIC: OPENPLANS the enormous opportunity
  • GRAPHIC: OPENPLANS the enormous opportunity
  • GRAPHIC: JESSICA HAGY/INDEXED
  • what Civic Commons does Find opportunities for collaboration Match needs and tools Research & communicate best practices Apply the extra effort to spark & sustain collaboration Build the legal and policy framework to institutionalize collaboration
  • what this session is about, really.
    • who are these punks, anyway?
    • what is the Civic Commons? 
    •    
    • what is the Civic Commons Marketplace? 
    • applications, applications, applications.
  • towards an open marketplace Needs Tools Support
  • the Civic Commons Marketplace
  • the Civic Commons Marketplace
  • what this Session is about, really.
    • who are these punks, anyway?
    • what is the Civic Commons? 
    •    
    • what is the Civic Commons Marketplace? 
    • applications, applications, applications.
  • IT Dashboard
  • IT Dashboard Vivek Kundra,  CIO of the U.S. (former) "led to over $3 billion in cost reductions." 
  • where's my school bus
  • where's my school bus "Blizzard got traffic moving at a crawl? Use your smartphone or computer to instantly check the bus location."      Where's My School Bus website
  • enterprise addressing system
  • enterprise addressing system "helps the city reduce duplicate data maintenance work, improves the accuracy, consistency, and quality of the data – and should lower the cost of delivering services to citizens."   Paul McCullough City & County of San Francisco
  • adopt a hydrant
  • adopt a hydrant "Boston ’s team was focusing on education… and then the 2011 blizzards hit"       Community Matters Blog
  • federal register
  • federal register  "Federal Register 2.0 is collaborative government at its best."          Beth Noveck  White House Deputy CTO (Former)
  • public art finder
  • public art finder "explore a city's art when you're most likely to care about it -- while you're walking down the street, wondering "who did that? or what is that about?" Anna Bloom  Fellow, Code for America 
  • smartPDF
  • smartPDF
    • "With SmartPDF, constituents and back office workers can improve their productivity and efficiency."
    Jay Nath   Director of Innovation   City & County of San Francisco
  • joget workflow 
  • joget workflow  "JOGET = simple workflow application builder.  Process driven web apps without writing code."           John Iosub Sr. Systems Analyst Cleveland Clinic
  • lunch roulette
  • lunch roulette "OMG I was looking for something like this! Our company is growing way too fast..."      Jessica Meher  Hubspot
  • Your Turn. What apps do you know about?
  • resources: IT Dashboard civiccommons.org/2011/05/it-dashboard-six-weeks-in/ Where’s my School Bus schoolbus.heroku.com/welcome Enterprise Address System civiccommons.org/2011/01/sf-eas-open-sourced/ Adopt a Hydrant codeforamerica.org/?cfa_project=adopt-a-hydrant Federal Register civiccommons.org/2010/10/govt-publication-two-approaches/ Public Art Finder codeforamerica.org/2011/04/29/meet-muralapp/ SmartPDF www.youtube.com /watch?v=OBsdTSpAyWg Joget www.joget.org/ Lunch Roulette codeforamerica.org/2011/06/20/lunch-roulette/
  • thanks. tell us: what's in your civic stack?   c4a.me/civcoms-app sign up for early access to the marketplace c4a.me/civcoms-access civiccommons.com                 twitter: @civcoms   [email_address]
  • what this Session is about, really.
    • who are these punks, anyway?
    • what is the Civic Commons? What does it mean to me?  
    •    
    • what is the Civic Commons Marketplace? 
    • applications, applications, applications.
    • BONUS : Let's Deploy Lunch Roulette!
  • let's deploy lunch roullete!
    • Because: why not?
  • 1 . verify it meets your needs
    • What does it do?
    • Can I get help from a vendor?
    • Is it under active development?
    • Is there a community around it?
  • 2 . find the app's code
    • (This will get easier very soon)
    •  
    • github.com/codeforamerica/lunch_roulette
  • 3 . get dependencies
    • we'll need:
    •     github
    •      ruby 1.9.2
    •      rails 
    •      linkedIn API key
    •      amazon AWS account
    •      heroku account
  • 4 . stand up a test instance
    • To the Terminal!
    •      #set up on local machine
    •      git clone  [email_address] :codeforamerica/lunch_roulette.git
    •      cd lunch_roulette
    •      rvm use 1.9.2 
    •      # optional
    •      bundle install 
    •      bundle exec rake db:setup 
    •      rails s
  • 5 . kick the tires
    •      Play with it. 
    •                              Bend it. 
    •                                                      Break it.
  • 6 . push to production
    •  
  • 6 . enjoy! flickr user: iateapie