October 2015

how do you visualize government data for citizens?

Lourdes German, Founder & Director of the Civic Innovation Project  and Fellow at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy was pleased to present on a panel addressing these themes at the National Code for America Summit, occurring September 30, 2015-October 2, 2015 with experts that included Derek Eder, partner at Data Made, Gordon Feller, Cisco Systems Director of Internet of Everything, Claire Micklin, from the University of Chicago, and Adam Hecktman, Microsoft Chicago Director of Technology and Civic Engagement.  Click here to read our recap of the session. 

upcoming EVENT

MICROSOFT OFFERS FREE TECHNOLOGY WORKSHOP FOR COMMUNITIES: "Gaining Insights From Civic Data by Transforming Data Into Information" 
Host: Microsoft
Speaker: Stanislav Novoseletskiy (View Bio Here
Date, Time: October 22, 2015, 6:00 p.m. (RSVP HERE)
Location: Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center New England, 1 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, Massachusetts  
Event Summary: Microsoft is offering a free technology workshop for government decision makers. This interactive technical road-map will focus on patterns and practices to enable you to draw useful conclusions from data. Microsoft will cover the fundamentals of gaining insights from data and show examples. These will include data discovery, profiling, quality enhancement and governance, manipulation, modeling and visualization (reports and dashboards). The session will also showcase DataZen, a new technology recently made available by Microsoft to all SQL Enterprise customers free of charge and will be presented by a Microsoft platform services expert who will answer questions and discuss your challenges. Space is limited so please register today to secure your spot! 

About the Presenter: Stan is a 10 year Microsoft veteran with extensive background in information systems. My goals are to enable organizations to achieve improved efficiency through the use of effective business and technology processes. I am a strong believer in positive change and transformation. In my many years of helping business and government agencies succeed I've come agree with a idioms such as "When you fail to plan, you plan to fail" and "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it". Professional experiences include architecting, designing and implementing business and technical solutions for NYPD (Counter-Terrorism Division), Dept. of Criminal Justice Services, University of Florida, Dept. of Environmental Protection, ABC, SHARP, GMAC, AETNA, Lazard, KPMG, as well as a number of government agencies.


The Civic Innovation Project is pleased to offer users of our innovation gallery access to online courses, at no-cost, via the edX platform. The Civic Innovation Project endeavors to transform how leaders innovate. Innovation requires not just awareness of leading tools, but also education that can help establish the base of knowledge a user needs to work with emerging technologies and data responsibly and effectively. By presenting users with select online courses, available via edX, alongside technology resources and demos in our civic innovation gallery, we support individuals seeking examples of civic technology to advance data-driven decision making and citizen engagement in government with leading expert guidance. Last week our innovation gallery expanded to include visualizations that require the use of CSS and Java and we began presenting courses by edX to help individuals seeking to acquire those core skills. Click here to see how we have integrated edX into our Civic Innovation Gallery

Founded by Harvard University and MIT in 2012, edX is an online learning destination, offering high-quality courses from the world’s best universities and institutions to learners everywhere. With more than 600 courses, edX offers courses in computer science, engineering, date analysis, statistics, education, and more. A nonprofit, edX's mission is to increase access to high-quality education, to enhance teaching and learning on campus and online, and to advance teaching and learning through research.  Click here to learn more about edX.


This week, the White House announced a new “Smart Cities” Initiative.  The initiative will dedicate $160 million to advance research and innovation that can support new technology collaborations that are intended to help local governments tackle civic challenges via community-led solutions. Areas within the scope of this effort include the reduction of traffic congestion, crime, economic growth, climate, as well as the delivery of city services.  Click here to read the White House Fact Sheet on the Smart Cities Initiative and learn more.



Innovators Jeffrey Litt and Dave Lago were recently recognized for their invention of MBTA Ninja  - an application that helps individuals across Massachusetts have a unique window into train delays, affording them insights from real riders of one of the major transportation systems in America - the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.  The application, which you can explore at this link - - allows commuters to report problems and confirm incidents. It was conceived at a Code Across Boston hackathon event in early 2015, and is drawing acclaim by users and the civic technology community at the Code for America National Summit. We invite you to learn more about this advancement in civic technology for transportation here

expanding our innovation gallery

Last week our innovation gallery expanded to include visualizations created with the resources from the HighCharts Company in Norway. This expansion allows us to offer tools and resources created with Java and CSS, in an interactive demo environment where users can see a finished visualization, and then click on multiple tabs across the top of the demo and see the code instantly, and link to HighCharts instructions to implement the resource and license the code for their own projects. Click here to see how we have integrated HighCharts into our Civic Innovation Gallery


Profiles in Civic Innovation is a Civic Innovation Project series capturing the stories of creative and visionary leaders that are implementing grass-roots efforts at the forefront of the government innovation landscape.  In this edition read about Dan Jackson and Jules Sievert, leaders of the NuLawLab, an interdisciplinary university innovation laboratory that is imagining, designing, testing, and implementing pioneering approaches to legal empowerment for communities across the globe and using student innovators to drive this mission forward.  Click here to read the full Profile.


Profiles in Civic Innovation is our series capturing the stories of creative and visionary leaders that are implementing grass-roots efforts at the forefront of the government innovation landscape. In this edition read about Mark Kim, the Chief Financial Officer of the District of Columbia Water & Sewer Authority (DC Water). Under Mark Kim’s leadership, DC Water was able to do what no other governmental body in America has ever done to solve a problem dating back to the 1800s by issuing 100-year Green Bonds. The invisible infrastructure that delivers water and sewer services to citizens across America is critically important, and financing the massive infrastructure that sustains these essential services requires creativity and a fresh perspective. Our interview with Mark explores his leadership role in introducing innovation that encompassed creativity in finance and governance that ensured the long-term financial sustainability and viability of water and sewer services for more 2.2 million residents in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia who are served by DC Water.   Click here to read the full Profile.


The current economic recovery has been long, slow and uncertain, particularly for Cities in the United States. In a new analysis, Cities and Unequal Recovery,  Christiana McFarland and  Emily Robbins from the National League of Cities dig deeper to uncover economic recovery in cities from the perspective of those held most accountable for local outcomes: chief elected officials. City leaders reported overwhelmingly that their local economies have improved over the past year. Leading that growth? New business starts, business expansions, retail sector health, and improving property markets. The top impediments (workforce skills, housing affordability, demand for basic needs like food and shelter), however, directly counter these drivers of growth and pose concerns for the long-term sustainability and competitiveness of local economies. Click here to read the full report.


The Statistics Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) is committed to the advancing new emerging ideas in the global statistical eco-system. In September, 2015 the United Nations celebrated World Statistics Day and the launch of the 2015 Millennium Development Goals Report by announcing the #WSD2015 Data Visualization Challenge competition. The challenge called upon individuals to use their creativity and imagination to build an infographic or dynamic visualization featuring the latest data from the 2015 MDG report, which responded to a myriad of developmental policy questions. The goal of this challenge was to further the United Nations mission as a global leader that compiles and disseminates global statistical information and support countries’ efforts to strengthen their national statistical systems.  Click here to read about how the United Nations is uniting a global community of data scientists via this initiative and others.