Want to make some money? Federal agencies have recently been given the authority by Congress to sponsor competitions for individuals, groups, and companies to develop new ideas and technology innovations for a chance to win potentially lucrative prizes. These competitions can range from new mobile outreach technologies to web-based data analytics tools to even vehicle-to-vehicle communications; the government is looking for breakthrough technologies from the minds of the most innovative and forward thinking Americans, many of whom are at SXSW. This session will highlight some of the coolest prizes for technology development that the government has been involved in to date, including the DOT’s Connected Vehicle Challenge, the VA’s Open Source and blue button projects, and NASA’s centennial challenges. Additionally you will learn about some prizes government did NOT play a role in to explore what role the government should be playing in these activities moving forward.
by Jimmy Schulz
Jimmy Schulz attended SXSW in 2011 and announced during the panel session „Make Citizens Social: Digital Participation in Public Services“ that next year he would report the results of the implementation of “Adhocracy” in the German parliament. The Inquiry Committee “Internet and digital society” has been experimenting with the application of Liquid Democracy ( www.demokratie.de ) this last year. New forms of democratic participation thanks to technical innovation can help reduce public dissatisfaction with politics. Significantly, these tools can improve transparency, which is important for political legitimization and helping people better understand and identify with political decisions. Jimmy Schulz would like to report on the initial results of the application of these tools in the German Parliament.
Will we someday look to the government technologist as a Web superstar? An innovation idol? A technology trailblazer?
In this session we will explore how government technologists deal with the demands of meeting customer needs in a world where private industry sets the pace. Can government ever be as cool as their corporate counterparts? Are the challenges of doing more with less, attracting emerging talent and maneuvering through excessive politics and bureaucracy too much to overcome?
New and groundbreaking partnerships between government and private sector, non-profits and community groups may provide the answers to these questions. Fellowship programs like Code for America, community crowd sourcing like Austin’s OpenAustin and business partnerships may just give the government geek a shot at being one of the cool kids.
The bulk of social media and Web 2.0 use in Congress and state legislatures has until now largely been composed of personal tweets and posts by legislators and staff, pushing communications out without engaging in true conversations with constituents. Innovation in this area has lagged the private sector.One Texas Senate committee is changing that. Charged by Chairman John Carona to “push the envelope so hard it’s no longer stationery,” the Business and Commerce Committee is moving out with social media. They began by examining the legislative process and identifying each point where lobbyists and advocates have special access to information or legislators, then looked for technologies that would level the playing field, open the process to the public, or help generate consensus. As a testbed, the committee is currently tackling a tough issue –payday lending – and they’ll tell you what they’re doing, what’s worked and where they think Gov2.0 is going.
9th–13th March 2012