Open data and digital inclusion efforts are two important components in a municipal IT portfolio. Both working to increase access to information and technology, the efforts have a mutually beneficial relationship. Despite this, these initiatives often remain separate in strategy and implementation.
Earlier this month, the Office of Innovation and Technology was honored in CIO Magazine’s “CIO 100” for strategically integrating its open data and digital inclusion efforts. The CIO100 is a relatively prestigious award and typically honors private sector organizations that exemplify the highest level of operational and strategic excellence in information technology. It was an honor for the Office of Innovation and Technology to be included in this year’s award, but one that was well-earned.
The Office of Innovation & Technology has redefined civic technology by purposefully developing and integrating its open data work with an equally robust focus on digital access and inclusion. By strategically linking the two initiatives, the work of each complements and enhances the other. Open data efforts are maximized when equally robust digital inclusion work increase access to technology among the population and gives users the ability to consume information and applications. The City of Philadelphia has released over 190 data sets onto the OpenDataPhilly portal, has provided services to about three quarters of a million clients at its Keyspot computer centers, and has also developed a portfolio of civic technology tools such as the Philadelphia Property Search and the AVI calculator, among others. By strategically integrating two often separate initiatives, the City of Philadelphia has elevated each to a higher level of value.
Chief Innovation Officer Adel Ebeid said, “We appreciate this recognition because it credits our entire organization and isn’t typically awarded to government. One reason we’ve been able to advance public facing initiatives like open data and digital inclusion is that we’ve strengthened our internal capacity to provide day-to-day technology support for city departments, and that’s a credit to our whole organization.”