Is your community and local economy prepared to take advantage of open government, civic technology, and open data?
Open Minnesota will build an engine for public open data use, civic technology creation engaging start-up companies and technology volunteers, and help hundreds more government units get cost-effectively connected to the best global open government lessons for local adaptation.
Open Minnesota is inspired by high levels of public interest in the first year of Open Twin Cities activity. This includes strong government, business, education sector, media, and nonprofit interest.
Open Twin Cities is hosted by E-Democracy.org as a Code for America brigade. Open Twin Cities has helped with events like CityCampMN, Hack for Minnesota, Visualizing Neighborhoods, the government sponsored Capitol Code event and more.
This momentum is outstripping volunteer capacity and this work is viewed by most foundations as a government responsibility, thereby limiting Minnesota’s opportunity. This public service activity is squarely tied to the purposes and goals of government. Advancing open government and civic technology will also benefit from a nimble and collaborative nonprofit-based effort that directly engages many stakeholders including the public.
To be a national leader, Minnesota must expressly take open government education, open data promotion and civic technology generation statewide. Engaging all kinds of very diverse communities from technologists and designers to immigrants, lower income residents, and the disabled will broaden the impact of open government and civic technology in the public interest.
As leading government agencies and local governments across Minnesota get their own pro-active open data set sharing policies and systems in place, Open Minnesota proposes to exponentially build value on that in-house government activity with a new and innovative public-oriented, community-engaging educational outreach initiative. As digitally-driven open government principles (now signed on by 63 nations including the United States) foster greater transparency, accountability, and civic participation across communities and specifically in government decision-making, the development of innovative civic technology using government open data for innovative public services, economic efficiency, and economic development must be accelerated and the benefits shared across the entire state.
To date, mega cities dominate nationally in seizing the civic technology and open government opportunity. The Smart Chicago Collaborative is a leader and a working model to uniquely replicate at the statewide level in Minnesota. No city in Minnesota has the scale to compete nationally on its own. On our current bootstrapped civic path, greater Minnesota cities, rural Minnesota, and even Twin Cities suburbs will absolutely be left behind. Now is the time to act when Minnesota still has an early adopter opportunity for state-level leadership.
In addition to Smart Chicago, we are inspired to bring the best advice, models, and resources of the Open Government Partnership, Open Data Institute, Code for America, Open Knowledge Foundation, Sunlight Foundation Labs, GovLab, mySociety, and others to people and organizations across Minnesota.
This unofficial diagram displays the three areas of Open Government identified in the the U.S. Federal government Open Government Directive: