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The California Citizens Redistricting Commission is the winner of the 2017 Roy and Lila Ash Innovation Award for Public Engagement in Government from the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School. Like most states, the once-a-decade process of drawing new legislative boundaries in California was hardly an exercise in participatory democracy. The... Read More

Portrait of Emily Middleton
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In 2011, the Louisville Metro Government launched its Open Data Portal. There were two main reasons for the launch. One was the election of Mayor Greg Fischer, who was determined to better use data to drive performance improvement and transparency in government. The second was pressure from the local civic tech community, which had lobbied the metro government for years to make its data... Read More

portrait of Mashal Hussain
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In working towards the Sustainable Development Goals, the Bangladesh government has embraced the idea of “govprenuership” — entrepreneurship by the government — which allowed for collaboration with organizations and parties that were working on some of the same issues with which the government was actively engaged. One result of this collaborative effort was the a2i Public Service... Read More

Portrait of Wen Hoe
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Open data and open government are often confused with each other. The phrase “open government” was first introduced in the 1950s, a call for public accountability after little government information disclosure during WWII. However, in recent years, the two ideas have been conflated. Former President Obama’s Open Government Directive called for executive branch agencies to “publish... Read More

Portrait of Hollie Russon Gilman

While gridlock has taken hold in a paralyzed Washington, DC, mayors across the country are taking a pragmatic approach to solving local problems and its time for tech to reach out to them. “For years now, Washington, DC, has been paralyzed by partisan gridlock. . . Rather than complaining, cities have started innovating, and we’ve seen this incredible appetite for ideas among mayors,”... Read More

Zouhair Mazouz
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Tunisian millennials triggered the Arab Spring. Armed with the mobilizing potential of social media, they successfully forced out the dictatorial regime of Zin El Abidin Ben Ali. Subsequently, Tunisia underwent significant economic, political, and security crises. But thanks to constructive compromise and a vigilant civil society, it valiantly overcame such hardships. In a region marred... Read More

portrait of Kaitlin Burroughs
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Pokémon Go, the mobile monster-catching game that three weeks ago took over the phone screens and attention spans of millions of people seemingly overnight, is the first digital sensation that has bridged the gap between the traditional, mostly private domain of video games and mobile technologies and the “real” world — known in the tech community as “augmented reality” games. Both public... Read More

Juliette Keeley
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How do you get rural Kenyan communities to fund solid waste management projects? This is the question that SAFI, a Kenya-based non-profit focused on sanitation projects, asked itself. In particular, could mobilizing communities to partake in participatory budgeting increase local funding for waste management projects? Participatory budgeting (PB) has gained popularity as an innovative... Read More

Darren Levine
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Ideas for change and improvement are within each of us, but how do we unlock this creative potential? This is the question we are exploring in our work as an Innovation and Research Unit. We believe unlocking creative potential begins with nurturing the right conditions within the organization — conditions that provide all staff, irrespective of position, title, or years of service, with... Read More

Noah Stern
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How governments are partnering with Waze to share data and reduce traffic. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy struck the eastern seaboard and left damage and chaos in its wake. The response plan of the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) included delivering fuel to lessen the widespread gas shortages, but they had no easy way to determine which gas stations still had power or where... Read More

Sean Thornton
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How well do you know your city? Your neighborhood? Even your block? When it comes to public information, it’s a simple question without a simple answer. Even with open data portals available in most major cities, it can be a challenge to find specific or relevant data in a sea of online lists, tables, and spreadsheets. Chicago’s new OpenGrid initiative aims to help resolve this dilemma... Read More

Debs Schrimmer
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In January 2015, we piloted a new type of “Senior Fellowship” program, a six-month partnership where one alumni Fellow worked with the City to develop new approaches and tools to support deep and broad community engagement. During this project, the City of Boulder and Code for America partnered on “Housing Boulder,” the community engagement process that would inform Boulder’s 2015/2016... Read More

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