The City of Philadelphia Submits GetGovPhilly to Knight Foundation’s News Challenge


The City of Philadelphia’s GetGovPhilly submission via whiteboard.

On February 12, the Knight Foundation’s News Challenge challenged the world with the following question: How might we improve the way citizens and governments interact?

The intentionally broad prompt calls for a range of solutions—small and intricate—to use open government to connect with citizens in a meaningful way. The annual contest takes submissions from almost any person or entity, pushes those submissions through a public feedback process and chooses semifinalists to refine their ideas.  Finally, after 3 months, the Knight Foundation selects a group of winners to receive a share $5 million and access to its international network of advisers.

This week, the Innovation Management group within OIT entered its submission to the News Challenge: GetGovPhilly.

GetGovPhilly is a virtual and physical government app store. Through a multi-pronged approach, GetGovPhilly personalizes government interaction with a customizable dashboard, a catalog of apps, and physical locations for face-to-face assistance with government technology.

Through a customizable dashboard, citizens can choose and filter government-centric information that best fits their needs. That means that a citizen can have a feed of upcoming community events, transit schedules or crime data—all specific to his/her neighborhood.  With the Open Data Initiative, the possibilities for these apps are endless; the creation of such a dashboard will take open data—centralize its applications on a desktop or mobile device—and help citizens live better, more informed lives.

We all know, however, that virtual solutions do not solve every problem (or help every constituent) especially in Philadelphia.  That’s why the GetGovPhilly submission incorporates physical locations too. A GetGovPhilly Store, modeled after the Apple Store, would serve as a place for citizens to walk-in, preview new government apps and get help customizing their dashboard. Serving these constituents would be Gov Gurus who could offer individual assistance to Philadelphians who aren’t as experienced with mobile technology. GetGovPhilly Stores would also partner with local community organizations to offer technological support and a physical location in every neighborhood.

The GetGovPhilly submission creates an interaction with government that’s more engaging and relevant to Philadelphians on both sides of the digital divide.

The City of Philadelphia’s Innovation Management team warmly welcomes comments, suggestions and questions on the GetGovPhilly submission.

For more about the Knight Foundation’s News Challenge, click here.

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