Open Data Policy Lab City Incubator Announces Inaugural Cohort

The GovLab
Sep 20 · 6 min read

This piece was originally published by Adrienne Schmoeker through the Open Data Policy Lab, an initiative by The GovLab and Microsoft to support decision-makers at the local, state and national levels as they accelerate the responsible re-use and opening of data for the benefit of society and the equitable spread of economic opportunity. See the original piece here.

Photo by Laura Ghise on Unsplash

In spite of a global pandemic, cities around the world are continuing to build and scale impactful, effective, equity-driven, and open data infrastructure to support their constituents. At the Open Data Policy Lab we call this work “data innovation.” Earlier this year, we announced the creation of the City Incubator program to support this work and provide leaders in city government with the tools and guidance they need to achieve their goals.

After reviewing applications that covered five continents, we’re excited to announce the ten participants for our inaugural Open Data Policy Lab’s City Incubator cohort and their data innovations:

Jennifer Bodnarchuk: City of Winnipeg, Canada

Promoting accessibility, equity, diversity & inclusion in Winnipeg by developing the first City of Winnipeg Diversity Dashboard. This dashboard will provide transparency and visibility of the municipal government’s workforce demographics and updates on the activities at this city to create a more welcoming and inclusive workplace culture and city.

Jennifer is the data lead on a cross-departmental Diversity Reports Working Group, which also includes: Justin Dallmann, Jordana Greenberg, Diane Burelle, Corrin Musey Denisuik, and Kirstian Lezubski.

Emri Brickner: Beer Sheva, Israel

Scaling and broadening the scope of a data product that combines city population data across various channels with both internal and external insight tools and datasets to support economic development, decision making and broader public transparency efforts.

Additional members of the Beer Sheva Data Team supporting this work include: Chief Officer for IT and Innovation Yehud Marciano, System Administrator Ehud Rothman, Business Intelligence Specialist Dor Yakov and GIS Specialist Yuval Helberg.

Andrea Calderon: City of Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States of America

Operationalizing the city’s equity ethos into a public geospatial tool, the Albuquerque Equity Index, which shows geographies of inequity in Albuquerque and helps evaluate the reach of city service distribution with the goal of increasing municipal investment.

Other contributors to this work from the City of Albuquerque include: Michelle Gricius, Geospatial Information Systems Manager; Haley Kadish, Performance & Innovation Officer and Michelle Melendez, Director of the Office of Equity & Inclusion.

Nicolas Diaz: City of Syracuse, New York, United States of America

Supporting a new model for equitably assessing the property tax value of properties in Syracuse, New York leveraging machine learning capabilities through A Fair Assessment.

Additional collaborators for this work from the City of Syracuse include Matthew Oja, Deputy Commissioner of Assessment, and Conor Muldoon, Deputy Chief Innovation & Data Officer.

Valentin Muresan: Timișoara, Romania

Helping a central team and program, the Timișoara Open Data Lab, establish data & AI ethics, standardization and policies, open data, and technology-supported citizen engagement; this new resource will promote economic development and improve citizen quality of life and open governance for Timișoara.

Siddhanta Neupane: Changunarayan Municipality, Nepal

Taking the Changunarayan Open Data Platform to the next level by developing necessary open data standards, policies and governance structures along with advancements in the geospatial functions of the platform.

An additional collaborator for this work includes Naxa, a technology provider working with the Municipality of Changunarayan.

Cindy Nicklin & Oliver Bjornsson: New York City, United States of America

To support COVID-19 recovery efforts, the NYC Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics launched the Recovery Data Partnership, a data collaborative enabling 80 city analysts access to 15 external datasets; through the City Incubator the team seeks to institutionalize this process to support future use cases and collaborations with third party datasets to support data-driven decisionmaking citywide.

Danny Perches: City of Springfield, Missouri, United States of America

Developing a public key performance indicator dashboard in order to demonstrate action and progress across the city’s various functions and improve trust with the public.

Henry Xavier Hernandez Rendon: City of Guayaquil, Ecuador

Launching a public market analysis geospatial open data tool, Citizen 360, to support businesses and other organizations and individuals in understanding potential investment opportunities in the city.

Other contributors to this work from the Municipality of Guayaquil include: Director of Technology Luis Fernando Baquerizo, Database Specialist Juan Luis Riofrio Pérez, Digital Transformation Director of EPICO (Innovation and Competitiveness Agency of Municipalidad de Guayaquil) David Ponce, Digital Transformation Analyst of EPICO Ernesto Ruales and Eduardo Bejar the Director of Fundapi (an open data nonprofit).

Luciano Pedro Santoni: Municipality of the City of Mendoza, Argentina

Digitizing and supporting datafication of road accidents in Mendoza City through a citizen science project engaging residents.

Other contributors to this work from the Municipality of the City of Mendoza are: Spatial Data Infrastructure Coordinator Cristian Chavarini; Director of Open Data and Citizen Participation Federico Morandini and members of his team, Maria Candela Grec and Emmanuel Cola.

From September 2021 through March 2022, program participants will receive the following support to help them realize their data innovations:

Dedicated Convenings:

Kickoff Workshop: September

Setting the stage, meeting each other, and “virtual mindset sprint” for a data innovation activity.

Meet the Mentors Workshop: November

A meet-and-greet event to identify additional opportunities to leverage the expertise of mentors moving forward.

Final Presentation: March

Presenting participants’ data innovations to a community of leaders in the civic technology and data innovation fields. A pitch training and practice session will be scheduled to prepare for this in February.

Ongoing programming:

Data Innovation Bootcamp: September–November

Built from the principles of the Third Wave of Open Data, these weekly sessions will include four key components: Theory; Tools; Try; and Talk. They will explore: Foundations of Data Innovation, Planning, Inclusive Innovation, Positioning, Launch Strategy and Sustainability.

Practitioner Discussion Series: November–February

Twice a month participants will learn from guest practitioners, who will provide a lecture on select subjects tailored to the needs and interests of the program cohort, followed by a group discussion.

Peer Knowledge Exchange: Monthly throughout the program

We strongly believe that innovation is a team sport and are excited for program participants to learn from and support each other throughout the program. Monthly Knowledge Exchanges, “show and tells,” will provide space for participants to share past work with each other.

Bespoke Guidance from Mentor Brain Trust: As needed throughout the program

Our Council of Mentors is a network of experts, many of whom have been public sector innovators themselves. Mentors will be matched with program participants for one-on-one guidance by the City Incubator program staff based on participants’ needs throughout the program.

City Incubator Program Staff Check-Ins: Throughout the program

The City Incubator Program Team has a wide range of experiences and are eager to support program participants however they can. During select periods throughout the program, participants will have a one-on-one meeting with a program team member and will otherwise be expected to report on progress weekly via email.

Data Innovation in Practice Series : Throughout the program

A series of webinars where the City Incubator participants can introduce the innovation they are working on to a public audience for feedback and/or knowledge-sharing.

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The Open Data Policy Lab’s City Incubator is supported by a variety of partners which include Microsoft, City Possible, Luminate, NYU CUSP, the Public Sector Network and OpenNorth. We are also fortunate to have an impressive cohort of mentors as a part of our Council of Mentors, available as a resource to support our program participants as needs arise. These mentors include Juan Murillo Arias, Alby Bocanegra, Joy Bonaguro, Mathilde Bras, Natalia Carfi, Ciro Cattuto, Natalie Evans Harris, Malcolm Fraser, Matthew Hooper, Hannah Kates, Leonid Kholkine, Jason Lally, Kris V. Libunao, Jacqueline Lu, Soizic Penicaud, Jonathan Pichot, Naysan Saran, Aimee Sprung, Iacopo Testi, Nils Walravens, Chris Whong, Dan Wu.

We invite you to learn more about the Open Data Policy Lab City Incubator Program here and sign up to join the Data Stewards Network and hear updates about the City Incubator as it progresses by signing up for our newsletter via this link.

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