Will Wilson is a former GOVERNING correspondent.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Today's Washington Post has a nice story on DC chief technology officer Vivek Kundra. The opening of the article especially underscores how Kundra not only uses technology in aid of public policy, but how he finds creative ways to invest in technology:
In October, he launched a contest called "Apps for Democracy" to encourage developers to create applications for the Web and cellphones to give District residents access to city data such as crime reports and pothole repair schedules.
"I expected to get maybe 10 entries, but we got 47 apps in 30 days," Kundra said. He said he spent $50,000 for the contest and prize money, and estimates he saved $2.6 million over what it would have cost to hire contract developers.
The article also quotes Virginia Secretary of Technology Aneesh Chopra. Chopra developed a similar "Venture Governmentalist" approach (which I wrote about in July), with the twist that Chopra solicits grant proposals from government employees and offices themselves.
Both Kundra and Chopra advise Barack Obama on tech issues -- which may itself provide a good hint as to what the president-elect might be looking for in his promised tech czar position.
And incidentally, both Kundra and Chopra will be speaking at GOVERNING's Outlook in the States and Localities conference next month.
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.