Civic Innovation19 January 2013

I am excited to start working with the Smart Chicago Collaborative as a civic innovation program manager.

The Smart Chicago Collaborative (SCC) is a non-profit devoted to using technology to make lives better in Chicago. Their work is, in broad terms, three-fold: increasing access to technology in Chicago; providing Chicagoans the skills required to use technology; and enabling civic innovation with open data and open government services. SCC is supported by a number of entities, most notably the Chicago Community Trust and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

In the role of civic innovation program manager, I'm positioned at the intersection of the SCC, local governments, and the Chicago civic developer community. I'll work with developers to increase the number and quality of civic applications, and to increase the adoption of existing tools and services. I'll also manage SCC infrastructure and contribute code to grow and improve SCC-supported tools.

SCC has supported a number of impressive technology projects in Chicago. I first became involved back in 2011 when I assisted with porting Code for America's Adopt a Hydrant application to Adopt a sidewalk, a free tool for Chicago residents to volunteer to clear sidewalks in their neighborhoods during snow storms. Other projects built by or supported by SCC include Clear Streets, built on the city's open plow tracker data; a flu-shot locator, used by the Chicago Department of Health; Chicago Early Learning, a resource for finding and comparing child care providers in the city; and many more.

Chicago is a leader in open data and civic innovation, evidenced by initiatives like Open311 and Mayor Rahm Emanuel's executive order mandating city departments to publish and maintain their data. There is a robust and vibrant developer community that I feel is capable of building amazing applications. Groups like Open City, the Code for America Brigade, and OpenGov Chicagoland are collaborating and building the next wave of civic applications. I am honored to be a part of the community and look forward to a productive and innovative 2013.

Want to talk about this a bit more? Send a tweet to @cgansen or email me at