5 Finalists for American Idol Gov 2.0 Edition


We all know that there’s mixed feelings on the latest installment of American Idol (not that I watch it but my wife keeps me updated) and I find that the same is true with Gov 2.0.
We all know that there’s mixed feelings on the latest installment of American Idol (not that I watch it but my wife keeps me updated) and I find that the same is true with Gov 2.0. In case you’re not sure what Gov 2.0 is, make sure you watch this recorded webcast from Tim O’Reilly and check out this visual breakdown of Gov 2.0 components from Dr. Mark Drapeau.

I had the opportunity to attend Gov 2.0 Expo in Washington, DC and I am really energized with various Gov 2.0 initiatives underway worldwide. More importantly, it’s encouraging and exciting to know that leading innovators are involved with shaping Gov 2.0. I still can’t believe that I met the father of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners Lee yesterday. During the keynote, he brilliantly deconstructed a bag of chips to stress the value of linked data. Click here to watch the recorded presentation.

Wouldn’t it be a great way to motivate government agencies and engage the public if there was an American Idol Gov 2.0 Edition? Well, let me get it started. Here are my 5 finalists:

1. Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT)

Have you heard of how MassDOT/MBTA crowdsourced the development of real-time bus schedule tracking apps? They launched a competition and it’s amazing how the public embraced it and developed applications in such a short period of time.

Why a finalist? By opening up the real-time bus schedule data, they were able to:

– Address a fundamental question “Where’s my bus?”
– Innovate a way of engaging the general public in developing solutions that benefits the public. Literally “By the people, for the people”.
– Cut through bureacratic procurement process that’s as fast as a ball of wax rolling down a flat rubber floor.
– Deploy various real-time bus tracking solutions at minimal costs (the apps that were developed are open source)

Click here to watch the recorded video presentation about this initiative.

2. Water Services of City of Bryan, TX

Thanks to Kathy Sierra, I learned about how the water services of Bryan, Texas made the citizens all passionate and excited about reading water quality reports. Really? yes! How did they do it? Two words: Pin-Up Calendars.

Why a finalist? By being creative, they were able to:

– Stir excitement and passion among water services employees (I imagine folks got in shape in preparation for next year’s calendar).
– Educate the general public on water quality
– Engaged the citizens on consuming the information and passing it along (imagine how many people “Liked” it on Facebook)

Click here to watch a recorded video presentation about this initiative.

3. City of Los Angeles, CA

Being tasked to provide the same services with 30% less budget, Los Angeles CTO Randi Levin led the initiative to move their in-house email and calendaring infrastructure to Google’s cloud offering.

Why a finalist? By adopting cloud based services, they were able to:

– Provide a better email + calendaring platform
– Deliver a savings of $5M
– Gain an ROI of close to $20M

Click here to watch a recorded video presentation about this initiative.

4. City of Washington, DC

Apple was brilliant in mass marketing the App Store concept. Well, what impressed me more is how the City of Washington, DC created a Gov 2.0 version of it. Welcome to the DC App Store. Not only can you build and use DC-related apps, but you can rate it as well. Now that’s what I call “Power to the People”! My favorite app is the DC Wi-Fi Hot Spot map.

Why a finalist? By allowing citizens to interact with DC government through various apps, they were able to:

– Reduce government bottlenecks
– Engage citizens in developing, using and rating DC-centric applications
– Provide access to real-time DC information

5. Loudoun County Virginia

Have you ever wondered if there’s school for your kids on a bad winter day? These days, residents of Loudoun County, VA doesn’t have to worry thanks to Alert Loudoun – it’s a secured alerting system that is used furing major crisis, emergencies and county related events.

I know this is not unique to Loudoun County – there are a lot of other government institutions leveraging this as well.

Why a finalist? By providing relevant information to constitutents, they are able to:

– Deliver the right information at the right time
– Prevent accidents (Imagine people going out in bad road conditions)

How about you? Let me know who your finalists are and why (provide relevant links if you can) by posting on the comments section below.

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