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Scheduled to take place in Austin in March 2013, the SXSW Visioning Assembly will be a collective dialogue with a large sample of SXSWi participants. Based on the Agora Process, developed by the Icelandic startup and political grassroots communities and used successfully in two National Assemblies, the Visioning Assembly combines elements of crowdsourcing and brainstorming on a large face-to-face scale with realtime collective feedback. Previous participants have characterized an event as one of the most beautiful, empowering, and fun events they have ever experienced.
In this session we will explain what the Visioning Assembly process is, share the interesting history of its development, and discuss why it is a perfect match for SXSWi -- audience participation will be expected!
Why should SXSW Interactive host a Visioning Assembly? SXSW Interactive brings together the most interesting people in the world of interactive media. Across dozens of stages, fascinating people address the most important (and most fun) topics in this wide-ranging field. A great session often has the feel of a great concert, with huge (or occasionally intimate) audiences sharing passion, energy, and new perspectives. Some of this audience interaction is captured in whispered discussion and via backchannel hashtags. The Visioning Assembly will allow this collective intellect, knowledge, and energy to be captured and directed towards a common good.
This January, 15 million people came out and had their voice heard in opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP act. Major technology organizations and startups, such as Mozilla, Wordpress, and Wikipedia, took their first ever leap into engaging into technology policy issues. The Internet spoke, and for a single day was virtually unified in its opposition to these bills.
So SOPA and PIPA are dead, right? Well, not actually.
In this session, we'll discuss how we're just at the beginning of a much longer battle. We'll examine what's at stake for the future of the open internet. What could change if things turn out differently? Why should entrepreneurs, technologists, creators, and members of the internet community care? What are the real issues that could effect each and every one of us if we don't continue in the direction of a free and open internet? And why does the internet need us now?
How did print and online coverage of SOPA impact the public's understanding of this proposed legislation? What outlets were most aggressive in tacking this story? If the blackout had not occurred, would this story have gained the attention it eventually did? Also, how will proposed legislation such as SOPA impact the media -- and how does this potential impact color various media outlet's coverage?
As January's SOPA showdown proved, intellectual property and digital fair-use questions no longer amount to a molehill on Capitol Hill. But if that episode revealed that Hollywood needs to reboot its understanding of IP politics, the run-up to it also exposed a frightening degree of ignorance in Congress about the Internet and the digital economy in general--in some cases, members all but bragged about not being familiar with the architecture of the online world. As long as the entertainment industry's interest in protecting its work from infringement collides with tech firms' desire to work free of government interference--and the growing awareness among citizens of the risks of copyright-protection mandates breaking their software or Internet services--these squabbles will continue. But can we at least get a better understanding among our elected representatives of the online machinery they propose to tinker with?
Blogger Rob Pegoraro will lead a discussion with Sen. Ron Wyden (D.-Ore.) about how Congress has approached Internet policy issues in the past, how the SOPA battle might have changed their views and what's likely to happen next.
SOPA and PIPA were neither the first time nor the last time entrepreneurs and innovators got involved in policy matters, but it can be a watershed moment in a sustained approach to active policy interaction and development. Engine Advocacy, a new group based in San Francisco is creating new ways for members of the startup community to get involved with their government, and help create a better environment for startups and high-growth business to thrive.
by Rohan Silva
What happens when you throw open the doors of government and let the public decide what happens? Join Rohan Silva, senior policy adviser to the British Prime Minister David Cameron, as he shares his stories about the British Government's adventures in crowdsourcing - and the UK's radical agenda to harness the best ideas and innovations to build a better government. Silva will also be talking about the future of open data, open government and technology policy in the UK - and the entrepreneurial opportunities being opened up in the UK and beyond.
A public right to data is key to unlocking the biggest enterprise opportunity of our time: integrating social media with public services. Open government combines transparency with citizen participation. This is the future of government. The Open Government Partnership is a new international initiative - bringing together more than 50 countries and international civil society - to share best practice in beating corruption, improving social justice and driving growth and innovation. The UK has put Transparency at the heart of its vision of social and economic growth and is one of the founder members of the OGP. This session also hears from other key founders of the OGP from around the world – including Samantha Power, special assistant to President Barack Obama and the architect of the initiative and Rakesh Rajani, a global civil society leader. The Future is Open: find out how to become an Open Government pioneer.
Startups are an important part of the American economy. Over the past three decades, companies less than five years old have accounted for nearly all net job creation in the United States. Yet, recent data on startups indicate that the startup engine is slowing down, as new businesses hire fewer employees than in the past. Led by U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Ks.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), policymakers in Washington are realizing the importance of entrepreneurs to job creation, innovation, and economic growth. To revive the startup engine and jump-start the economy, Senators Moran and Warner introduced legislation called The Startup Act.
The Startup Act is based on a simple premise: the easier it is for creative individuals to take risks and start a business, more jobs will be created. The Startup Act addresses the need to reduce regulatory burdens, rewards patient capital invested in startups, provides tax relief to help startups grow, supports research conducted at American universities that spurs innovation, and creates new opportunities for American-educated foreign students and entrepreneurs to stay in the United States where their high-tech skills and new ideas will fuel growth.
The Startup Act incorporates key recommendations made by President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, the Kauffman Foundation, and entrepreneurs across the country. Senator Moran will speak about his bipartisan legislation and the urgency of capitalizing on the unique attention policymakers are currently giving to startups.
by Adriana Cruz, Pike Powers and Tony Schum
“Keep Austin Weird” is more than just a bumper sticker. It’s a philosophy that has become a part of the Austin technology industry mindset and has helped make Austin a center of innovation. Learn about the city policies and the regional economic development initiative developed by local leaders have helped to create an environment where companies thrive and where companies want to relocate and expand. Can similar policies be implemented in other cities (in the US and around the world) -- or is the Austin experience unique? To this end, what kind of strategies are other municipalities embracing to encourage tech innovation and entrepreneurship?
Open government and transparency activists asked for it: data available through open APIs and digital formats. Now that we have some of it, the dark spots on the sun are beginning to appear. The data are sometimes poor cousins to the records actually used to administer government or do its business, created as side systems or even fake records for public consumption and suffering from neglect at the hands of their overtaxed makers. Balancing privacy with widespread data releases sometimes leave the records too general for use in holding government accountable, and leave crucial data locked in technological and physical file cabinets. Records stored on paper and its electronic siblings are the forgotten members of the family. The panel, representing three viewpoints on transparency and its role in democracy, will highlight successes and failures in the recent transparency and open government movements and suggest solutions for data users and providers.
by Erine Gray, Corrie MacLaggan and Celia Cole
In 2005, the State of Texas signed a contract worth close to $900 million dollars with an alliance of private firms to manage the eligibility process for applying for Food Stamps, TANF, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance programs. The project was a failure - so much so that Texas cancelled the contract just over a year later. Applications were lost. People went hungry. Kids lost health insurance. Technology projects failed.In 2009, Indiana cancelled a $1.3 billion dollar social service privatization contract - citing poor service delivery.Big changes were necessary to modernize the delivery of these important services in Texas and Indiana, no doubt. In the end, some really good things were done by both States and the private firms they hired. But there was a lot of pain in between that could have been avoided. People unnecessarily suffered. Three people in the know will discuss what went down so that we can all learn from the mistakes and help prevent them in the future.
This panel and interactive discussion will look at how cities around the world are approaching innovation that serves the public. From hackathons to apps competitions, open data to social media, practitioners will discuss their plans and lessons learned, with examples from Boston (Jacob), Chicago (Tolva), New York City (Sterne) and across the US and world (Vein and Nemani). Moderated by Abhi Nemani of Code for America.
Utah.gov's recent redesign delivers a fully immersive, search-centric, data-driven, and user sourced experience. Find out how the team in Utah has redefined online government using emerging technology, a cutting-edge layout and over four years of analytics.
The Utah.gov’s team revolutionized what a government search can be; displaying more enriched information based on location and time relevance and integrating social media at every level. User searches on Utah.Gov display immediately and include services, forms, jobs, and related agencies.
The team also leveraged technology to address browser variance, as Utah.gov saw a 400% increase in non-desktop use in the past two years. The new site delivers optimal experience to users regardless of device or browser.
This panel will discuss the team's process, along with the research and analytics that supported the design choices which led to the creation of the new "gold standard for government."
Whether integrating hospital ratings in your web search results, serving up Farmers Market open data, texting health tips to expecting mothers, or striving for no official website at all (what?!), your government is making moves to serve the public better in ways and places that make sense to you. This seemingly disparate collection of federal agencies are in fact collaborating in more ways than you might imagine to utilize new apps, tools, challenges, and technology allows for better citizen engagement, better access to information, and more creative thinking. As your government, we need to create an environment where we bring the information to the American people rather than making people search for the information.
9th–13th March 2012