This Partnership is Already Paying Dividends
Politicians in Richmond talk often about ‘change’ but they can never quite define it, let alone deliver it. Decades have passed with no new investments in transportation. Our slow economy has strained our ability to fund education. In short, we haven’t found a way in Virginia to invest in our families—or our future.
It’s not this way everywhere. Government at the federal, state, and local levels in U.S., and others from around the world, are already using information and technology to collaborate with their citizens to solve problems, spur innovation, and create economic growth.
The stories below highlight communities, businesses, and government departments that are already ‘partnering for progress’. They’re doing more with less while still managing to solve difficult problems in the process.
Growing Our Economy
- Tech-focused publisher Tim O’Reilly says it best in terms of the potential for governments collaborating with their citizens to transform economies: “This is one of those amazing outcomes where the government does something small that has a huge impact on the economy.”
- As this blog post makes clear, opening-up government creates a veritable ‘goldmine’: “There are literally thousands of new opportunities to improve government and to improve society—and to make a fortune while doing it.”
Making Us Healthier and Safer
- Imagine if community health data were as useful an accessible as weather information online. Just check your smartphone! Tools already exist to measure things like the incidence of disease in our communities, the performance of our hospitals, and the cost of getting sick.
- We can more easily put our heads together to help make our kids healthier and more active.
- We should all have the ability to easily visualize Medicare data about the health of our communities, identify an unlabeled bottle of pills in our medicine cabinet, look at reviews of local doctors, easily find the wait times in our emergency rooms, or quickly assess how an area can affect those with asthma. All of this is already possible.
- Would you like to see the results of a particular restaurant’s health inspection? New York City has the answer.
- We can pull-together crime data for our neighborhoods for all to see, making us safer and helping to bring the crime rate down. This technology has already helped many communities, including Los Angeles.
Helping Us Save for Retirement
- Figuring out how your 401(k) is performing and comparing it to other plans shouldn’t be rocket science—and thankfully it no longer is.
Monitoring Climate Change
- We’re developing the tools that can end the debate over global warming and allow policymakers to make better decisions on how to protect our environment.
Getting Input from Citizens
- Federal government agencies are reaching out to citizens on many different issues and using incentives to help—from publicity to cash prizes. One of the challenges: making our kids healthier and more active.
- Local governments, including Richmond, are using an ingenious, web-based tool called SeeClickFix to help do everything from identifying potholes to removing graffiti.
Other Cities and States are Taking the Lead
Virginia needs to play catch-up with cities and states that have already opened the doors to collaboration with their citizens.
- Our neighbors in Washington, D.C., have led the way in soliciting help. Now, the city regularly debuts new information that makes it a better place to live one click at a time.
- San Francisco is also a market leader in using the information at its disposal to partner with citizens and local businesses. Their government fosters an environment of creativity and innovation.
- New York City has followed the lead of D.C. and San Francisco in getting more connected.
- Think this trend is only for big cities? Check-out what they’ve been able to accomplish in tiny Manor, TX, including creating a marketplace of ideas.
- Meanwhile, gubernatorial candidates in New York and Rhode Island won their races in 2010, in part, on a platform of opening their governments to more innovation and transparency.
- The State of California has gone one step further, already mapping data on the environment, land use, and demography.