Digital Cities: Your ‘Digital Awareness’ Is Worthless

Civic Innovation in Flux

A pretty sweet sign though — Portland, Oregon

Lesson 1: Bureaucracy Kills Innovation (duh…)

  • Mobile-first design and development
  • Crowdsourced ideas for new applications from the citizens
  • Agile (iterative) development
  • Talented and creative technologists hired to create these products

…civic tech product viability is entirely dependent on political sponsorship…treated as “pet projects” of bureau commissioners…

Lesson 2: Avoid Half-Baked & Duplicative Products

Oh, an HDR and Slow Shutter Speed shot…nice — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Lesson 3: Innovation != Technology

…take a skeptical approach to adding new layers of technology onto civic services…

Lesson 4: Let Citizens Direct Your Efforts

  • Launched Contracts Hub as a dashboard of all city procurement opportunities available to the public
  • Deployed a transparent evaluation toolkit for citizen innovation ideas
  • Streamlined the internal clearance procedures for establishing city partnerships with small business owners

Innovation is Fleeting without Collaboration

  1. Lack of executive sponsorship (i.e. “pet projects”)
  2. Bureaucratic turnover prevents commitment by innovation personnel
  3. Unpolished and abandoned applications drive down motivation for engagement by citizens and city officials




digital citizen

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Brian Rollison

Brian Rollison

digital citizen

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