KCK and KCMO Gear Up for Innovation
Mayor Joe Reardon joined UG staff and government officials from the City of Kansas City, Missouri early this morning at the Kauffman Foundation to explore how both cities can take advantage of a unique opportunity to explore, in a collaborative way, how to utilize the power of technology to better serve the public in the 21st Century.
"When government organizations step outside of their typical comfort zones to engage and enhance citizen interaction by way of improved communications, the entire community will benefit," says Brett Deichler, Project Management Professional for the Unified Government.
The UG and KCMO were selected in October to participate in the 2013 Code for America Fellowship Program. The two Kansas Cities were the first ever to submit a joint application to their fellowship program.
"What does the collaboration process look like?" asked Bob Sofman, Chief Program Officer for CfA, to the group.
Sofman led the thought provoking conservation that focused on the idea of reengagingcitizens through the use of computer applications and establishing the framework of the collaboration process between the two cities.
"So what’s exciting about working with the two Kansas Cities is we’re going to really be able to build a model in working with both cities to figure out what is the most effective way for the cities to collaborate. Throw on top of that, the opportunity that Google Fiber offers to really create applications that are enabled by high bandwidth, high speed, and thick pipes. I think there’s going to be some really remarkable applications coming out of both cities," Sofman says.
Beginning early February of 2013, a team of CfA fellows made up of web geeks, city experts, and technology leaders will work with a group of staff from both KCK & KCMO.
While there are still a number of older residents that are intimidated by technology or don’t realize the need for it, Sofman says the evolution of technology is making it easier for the end user; regardless of their age or techn savvy.
Sofman says, "Our focus on engaging the community is going to be really exciting and that’s not just engaging the tech community and building applications on top of open data, but it’s engaging everyday citizens in the work of government."
"If both the Unified Government and the City of Kansas City, Missouri can effectively collaborate during this program to bridge the existing communication gap between capturing big data, developing practical business solutions, and reporting relevant business intelligence both internally and externally, the entire Kansas City region will benefit as a whole from the direct improvements in both operational and financial capacity," says Deichler.
The goal is for the Unified Government and the City of KCMO to work collaboratively throughout the lifespan of the fellowship program to not only identify various opportunities for technical advancement, but more importantly, will work closely together to help regionalize these forthcoming technical transformation efforts on both sides of the state line.
In addition to KCK and KCMO, Las Vegas, Louisville, New York City, Oakland, San Francisco, San Mateo County, California, South Bend, Indiana and Summit County, Ohio will take part in the program. The nine municipal governments were competitively selected from an impressive list of 29 candidates. They were selected for their dedication to civic innovation and openness.
KCK and KCMO were also selected by Google for the deployment of their ultra-high speed fiber project in 2011.
For more information about the CfA program, please visit http://www.codeforamrica.org.