Sometimes imagination and inventiveness needs a title. For Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, that title happens to come in three flavors: chief innovation officer, chief data officer and director of civic technology.
The trio of titles represents a green light for inventiveness and a call to fulfill the mayor’s IT vision to support entrepreneurs and establish Philadelphia as a leader in business growth and innovation.
In 2011, Nutter ushered in what some might call a new era of IT thinking when he appointed the city’s first chief innovation officer, Adel Ebeid, followed by Chief Data Officer Mark Headd, and in 2012, a director of civic technology, Tim Wisniewski. The three IT positions work in a cohesive way to bring about tangible civic change for Philadelphians.
Ebeid said many of the mayor’s plans that were conceived in 2012 were realized last year. Among them were major gains in stabilizing and securing the city’s technology infrastructure, upgrading aging systems, and launching an open data and transparency initiative that released more than 60 new data sets to the public.
These successes prompted Nutter to formally inaugurate a Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics during the year, managed by his three-person team and used as a testing ground for civic tech pilot projects and programs. The new office took top honors from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ 2012-2013 Mayors Challenge for its Philadelphia Social Enterprise Partnership, a new procurement process that enables entrepreneurs and social innovators to respond to city RFPs.