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5 Traits of the Future of Civic Innovation

Sacramento, Calif.'s interim chief innovation officer reflects on what's next for government innovation.

by / August 2, 2016
Abhi Nemani Code for America

For those who might have missed Abhi Nemani, the city of Sacramento, Calif.'s interim chief innovation officer, give his thoughts on the future of civic innovation last week at a downtown meetup — he's posted his observations for all to see.

In a post on Medium, Nemani reflects on what's next for government innovation. Here are five standout snippets from Nemani's work:

Data-Science-as-a-Service: "Startups are emerging to provide data science expertise as a service for cities, providing insights at low cost, without additional staff, and at scale across the country."

Civil Service: "What’s demanded ... is both reform of the civil service policies and procedures to make it easier to quickly hire good people and training for existing city staff on how to better leverage their roles: the use of SaaS software, partnerships, new contracting mechanisms and 'small jobs' (e.g., Mechanical Turk, etc.)."

Open Data: Nemani identifies two trends: "integration of open data into existing consumer experiences/apps" and "the development of custom, issue-specific and action-oriented visualizations of the data."

Digital Services: Nemani said it will be "very difficult for most jurisdictions to build a digital services unit" like the federal government's 18F unit or the U.S. Digital Service (USDS) because of a lack of budget and not enough access to talent.

Civic Coders: Nemani acknowledges that Code for America's loose network of local volunteer groups — Code4Sac is one of dozens of such "brigades" — lack a sustainable model to continue operating. Nemani said some different models are sprouting up to offer support, whether through foundations or public-private partnerships.

This story was originally published by TechWire.

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