If you ask Peter Corbett, CEO of iStrategyLabs, to pitch you some of his marketing ideas, he will reject you.

"I'm not going to walk in and present ideas," he said.

"What I will do is sit in a room and we're going to talk about ideas until we find one that's so exciting that you can't wait to bring it to life with us."

Such collaboration has been standard operating procedure for Corbett since he launched his "digital word of mouth" agency two years ago. Based in Washington, D.C., iStrategyLabs seeks to bridge the digital and physical worlds, using social media and technology to produce content and connect citizens.

With an extensive multimedia background, Corbett is the force behind numerous creative, interactive marketing campaigns, like Geico's fake dating site, iheartcavemen.com.

But the company is best known for creating Apps for Democracy, an innovation contest with cash prizes, where D.C. residents created new applications using public-sector data. The 30-day contest cost the district $50,000, and produced 47 Web, iPhone and Facebook apps worth $2.3 million.

"This contest set a model for how governments can engage citizens to develop innovative technology solutions," Corbett said.

Apps for Democracy's success led to copycat programs globally.

"If state and local governments realize that the most valuable assets they have are citizens, they are going to solve their problems so much faster," he said. "Using digital media to understand how to reach and harness the power of citizens is the promise of government 2.0 and revitalized American democracy."

Russell Nichols  |  Staff Writer