Dustin Haisler, chief innovation officer, e.Republic Inc. Dustin Haisler, chief innovation officer, e.Republic Inc. Jessica Mulholland

Dustin Haisler, a former government CIO who helped pioneer new uses for mobile technology and social media in the public sector, has become Chief Innovation Officer for e.Republic, Inc., publisher of Government Technology and govtech.com.

Haisler gained widespread attention as the CIO of Manor, Texas, where he launched a QR code initiative that fed civic information to mobile phone users and a crowd-sourcing platform known as Manor Labs that let citizens submit and vote on suggestions for improving the town. Haisler will lead a series of new initiatives for e.Republic around public-sector innovation, namely e.Republic Labs, which will act as a catalyst and incubator for the development and scalability of a new generation of government and civic technologies.

“My role with e.Republic is to catalyze innovation in government,” Haisler said. “There’s an ecosystem forming between government agencies, private-sector companies, independent developers and civic organizations -- and e.Republic has relationships with all of those pieces and can be a connector.”

The e.Republic Labs endeavor, writes e.Republic CEO Dennis McKenna in an open letter, provides a fresh set of tools to assist in meeting the company's mission to foster public-sector innovation. "It stems from our belief that thinking differently and acting collaboratively are the most powerful ways to make permanent, positive change happen," he wrote.

Under Haisler's direction, e.Republic Labs will "serve as a catalyst and connector for the development, deployment and scalability of a new generation of government and civic technologies that are redefining what it means to do the public’s business," McKenna wrote.

And Haisler has a history of promoting public-sector innovation – both from within government and as a member of the private sector.
 
In 2009, Haisler led an effort to put QR codes on points of interest in downtown Manor, a small town near Austin, letting citizens use smartphones to access historical information and data about city services. The QR code initiative drew attention from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and was featured in a 2009 blog post on open government innovation.
 
A year later, Haisler launched Manor Labs, a website that let residents submit their own ideas and vote other peoples’ ideas up or down. The most popular suggestions went to city officials for review and possible implementation. Manor Labs was the subject of a Government Technology cover story in May 2010. Haisler also was named one of Government Technology’s Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers in 2009.
 
After leaving government, Haisler became director of government innovation for Spigit, a company that makes crowd-sourcing and innovation management software. While at the company, Haisler ran a New York City initiative called Idea Market that used the Spigit platform to let 15,000 city employees submit and vote for ideas to improve the city. Since 2012, Haisler has run his own company – KlabLab – which is dedicated to improving government and education through innovative technologies and ideas.
 
“Working with large and small agencies as well as the private sector has given me this interesting 360-degree perspective of how innovation is perceived from all different angles,” Haisler said. “But it’s really just about finding creative ways to work through constraints based on the assets, the partners and the people you have.”