Meetups – a new way to arrange civic activities?

Hackathons, open government discussions, creating ArcGIS for local government are all events that seem to be using a particular technological tool in order to convene people – meetups!  Meetup.com is a social networking website that makes possible offline group meetings.  Users can enter in their zip code to find meetups close to their location.  Usually, these meetups are arranged around a particular topic, event, or interest.  In 2004, they were used to organize people for Howard Dean’s presidential campaign and now is a primary way of organizing for the tea party.

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IBM Smarter Cities – the future of cities?

IBM Smarter Cities focuses on improving “information to make better decisions”, “anticipating and resolving problems proactively”, and the coordination of “resources to operate more efficiently” through advanced analytic solutions usually offered ““cloud computing, analytics, mobility, and social business” in the areas of public safety, health and human services, education, infrastructure, energy, water, and the environment (link).   IBM works with city leaders to “select appropriate analytics programs” and either provides its own or partner’s software for an “annual licensing fee.” (link)

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Gamification – a way to drive participation

Gamification, in short, “integrates game dynamics into your site, service, community, content, or campaign, in order to drive participation” (link).   Game design can include levels, badges, leaderboards, ways to socialize, or rankings in order to incentivize people to want to participate.

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Microtasking – a new way to accomplish big projects

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Microtasking is using an internet site (such as Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, Crowdflower, Microtask, and others) to crowdsource tasks (usually small) that require human intelligence.  People who participate can be paid or unpaid. Workers are generally paid as contractors.

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Video Conferencing – New And Improved Possibilities

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Video conferencing is not a new technology. However, recently video conferencing has begun to be improved and applied in new and interesting ways to accomplish agency’s goals and save money. Workers can use IP-based, high definition cameras in office or conference rooms, use software-based communications tools such as Cisco Jabber which make video calls from one computer to another possible, or use free internet services like Google Hangouts which provide video conferencing.

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Estonia’s E-Government – A model to look towards and replicate?

imagesEstonia’s e-government has been widely praised for its simplicity and ease of use. All Estonian citizens are assigned a personal ID code rather than using a social security number, taxpayer number, etc. Secondly, Estonia uses Public-key infrastructure (PKI) which allows citizens to be able to have a “signature” for government transactions. This digital signature has been applied to mobile phones and ID cards allow Estonians to be able to electronically vote, file taxes, maintain business and property records, and register births and deaths.

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RFP-EZ – a new way for the government to do contracting?

RFP-EZ is a “web-based application that is comprised of five different systems (SOWComposer, BidMaker, BidMonitor, RFP-EZ Marketplace, and Portfolio Browser), all meant to make it easier for small businesses to sell their services to government buyers, and for contracting officers to buy small dollar value services” (https://rfpez.sba.gov/faq). It was launched by the Small Business Administration (SBA) through the Presidential Innovation Fellows program.

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