One of the reasons I moved from a successful 20-year career innovating in the private sector to spending time serving the public sector wasn’t because it was a premier place to innovate. In fact, I was attracted to the public sector exactly because it was the opposite.
It seems everyone is focused on big data. And why not? Today the world is producing an extraordinary volume of data. Our prolific machines and interactions are now venting a massive scale of data exhaust unprecedented in our short digital history. Big data is spinning up stunning visuals that are providing completely new understandings. Suddenly we’re embedded in the zettabyte era.
On one hot day last June, along with civic hacking events in 83 cities participating in the first-ever National Day of Civic Hacking, the City of Palo Alto, California, held an outdoor festival of civic innovation. Approximately 5000 people showed up to discover and be inspired by a wide range of technology-related talks and solutions for delivering government in completely new ways. While some software hacking took place, the focus was on beginning both the education and conversation on defining civic innovation and answering why it is so important to all our communities. The festival was a success and was highly praised by the community and at a special event at the White House later in the summer.