Civic Tech News — What Works Cities Initiative in Seattle

https___img_evbuc_com_https%253A%252F%252Fcdn_evbuc_com%252Fimages%252F21095394%252F25356730269%252F1%252ForiginalSince 2015, the City of Seattle has been working quietly on a number of programs to make our government more data-driven, results-oriented, and innovative. We passed a new open data policy that balances transparency and privacy. We are shifting to a new model for performance management, both within the City and with our contractors. We are using design thinking to explore new approaches to big issues such as youth unemployment and homelessness, with a 5-person team in Mayor Murray’s Office of Policy & Innovation dedicated to one project at a time. What has made such big changes possible in such a short period of time? The common thread is Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Inspired by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s experiences using data and design thinking to improve that city, Bloomberg Philanthropies has created a number of initiatives that make it possible for other cities to explore what “works.” These include What Works Cities (hyperlink: http://whatworkscities.bloomberg.org/about/), a national initiative for mid-sized cities to improve use of data and evidence in decision-making, and Innovation Teams (hyperlink:http://www.bloomberg.org/program/government-innovation/innovation-teams/). Under Mayor Murray’s leadership, our city is taking full advantage of both. Seattle is one of the pilot cities in What Works Cities and currently has an Innovation Team in its second year of operations.

What Works Cities Panel: Chrissie Grover-Roybal, Tina Walha, Tyler Running Deer and Candace Faber

What Works Cities Panel:
Chrissie Grover-Roybal, Tina Walha, Tyler Running Deer and Candace Faber

 

On May 26, Seattle IT hosted a panel discussion at the local Impact Hub to share the work these groups are doing with the broader public. The panel was moderated by Candace Faber, the City’s Civic Technology Advocate, and featured:

  • Tyler Running Deer, Seattle’s Organizational Performance Director, who has been leading the City of Seattle’s engagement under the What Works Cities program,
  • Chrissie Grover-Roybal, Innovation Fellow with the Government Performance Lab at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and
  • Tina Walha, Director of the Innovation Team in the Mayor’s Office of Policy and Innovation.

 

Over 60 people attended May 26 Event at Impact Hub

Over 60 people attended May 26 Event at Impact Hub

The City of Seattle joined What Works Cities in August 2015 as one of eight cities in the first national cohort, setting goals for three projects: to research and establish a Citywide Open Data policy and program; to design and develop a Citywide, central organizational performance program; and to explore, analyze, and establish a pilot results-driven contracting practice to improve the outputs and outcomes of contracted services to the public.

 

The first two projects are complete from the What Works Cities perspective, having now been institutionalized in the City through dedicated full-time positions in Seattle IT and the Mayor’s Office as well as new roles for existing staff across departments. The performance team is working on a strategic framework and a toolkit to help city departments better use data and information to manage services and programs, anticipated to be complete by mid-2016. The third project, led here by Chrissie Grover-Roybal, is still in progress, and reorients the structure and management of homeless services contracts to focus on improving outcomes for people experiencing homelessness.

 

The Innovation Team spent its first year examining strategies to increase access to opportunity and decrease the impact of violence among Seattle’s young Black men, ages 14 to 24. This year, the team will be focused on addressing Seattle’s homelessness crisis. To learn more about the Innovation Team, check out http://murray.seattle.gov/innovationteam.

Hacking for Oceans and Fish — Seattle IT Dives Deep at Fishackathon

All Earth Day weekend long, April 22-24, teams of Seattle technologists joined together at Impact Hub Seattle to explore how we can use data and technology to protect our fish and oceans. “Seattle is defined both by technological innovation and commitment to environmental sustainability,” said Candace Faber, City of Seattle’s Civic Technology Advocate. “What better way to celebrate Earth Day than for both sides of that community to tackle the overfishing challenge together?”

Photo of Fishackathon Participants

Seattle Fishacking Teams 2016

A global event, Fishackathon was coordinated by the U.S. Department of State and held simultaneously in 41 different sites on six continents. Its goal was to find solutions to world fisheries and ocean issues, anchored in 9 narrowly scoped challenges submitted by global experts. In Seattle, the event was organized by Microsoft, Vulcan Inc., the University of Washington, and Open Seattle, with support from Seattle IT. Civic Technology Advocate Candace Faber and Open Data Manager Bruce Blood both supported the event.

Photo of fish hackers at work

Fishackers at work

Hackers had access to multiple public, global databases that track things such as vessel identification, as well as expert mentors from the University of Washington’s School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences and Vulcan’s Illegal Fishing programs, among others. World-leading expert Ray Hilborn gave the keynote, and local celebrity chef Ethan Stowell personally served fresh, sustainably caught seafood on the first night.

Photo of happy fish hackers

Fishackers Tackle Overfishing

Seattle’s teams created apps and prototypes aligned with several of the challenges. The most popular were fish identification and monitoring lost fishing gear. One team also took on a challenge not listed, visualizing GIS data from a boat’s point of view rather than a bird’s-eye. King Triton, Seattle’s winning team, developed a solution that uses fishing vessel data to catch those breaking international and other laws governing the fishing industry.

The team’s proposal will be submitted to the U.S. State Department’s global competition and the winner will be announced on World Ocean’s Day, June 8, 2016. The winning team will receive a $10,000 cash prize, and their solution will be funded by a third party developer funded by the State Department.

Photo of Teams receiving awards

Candace Faber, City of Seattle’s Civic Tech Advocate, Lures Hackers with Prizes

Thank you to the event sponsors and mentors, and also to Smart Catch restaurants, the Living Computer Museum, and the Seattle Aquarium for their prizes.

David Keyes, City of Seattle’s Digital Equity Manager, Wins Charles Benton Digital Equity Champion Award

Picture of David Keyes

David Keyes
City of Seattle Digital Equity Manager

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) has named David Keyes, Digital Equity Manager for the City of Seattle, the first recipient of the Charles Benton Digital Equity Champion Award.

“The NDIA is proud to recognize David Keyes, who has championed a holistic approach to closing the ‘Digital Divide’,” said Angela Siefer, NDIA Director.  “David’s approach goes beyond computers and wires to include affordable broadband service, the skills needed to make the most of technology, and the content and services relevant to user’s lives.”

Named for Charles Benton, the founder of the Benton Foundation, the award was created by NDIA to recognize leadership and dedication in advancing digital inclusion:  from promoting the ideal of accessible and affordable communications technology for all Americans, to crafting programs and policies that make it a reality.

In nearly 20 years of public service in Seattle, David Keyes has used data to document community needs and direct programs, been committed to racial and social justice, and built a movement over time by engaging local elected officials, businesses, education partners, and community organizations in solutions.

“In 1997 David was appointed Seattle’s Community Technology planner and within a couple of years he was a leading figure nationally in the movement we then called ‘community technology’,” said Siefer.  “Despite being busy leading the City of Seattle’s model digital equity programs, David continually lends his leadership skills and thoughtful guidance to state and national efforts.”

Keyes will be presented his award on May 18, 2016 at Net Inclusion: The National Digital Inclusion Summit in Kansas City by Adrianne B. Furniss, Executive Director of the Benton Foundation.

Get Online Seattle provides online job resources & tools

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NEWS RELEASE

Get Online Seattle provides online job resources and tools

SEATTLE (July 17, 2014) The City of Seattle has launched Get Online: Jobs & the Internet, an online toolbox for residents who are new to job searching on the web. The Seattle.gov/getonline web site and print materials provide information to help understand and manage your online presence, use the right tools for your job search, and tips for making job connections both on and offline.

Get Online Seattle education materials also promote options for affordable home Internet and locations with free access to computers and the Internet.

“Using the Internet is critical to finding and applying for jobs,” says Michael Mattmiller, Acting Chief Technology Officer for the City of Seattle. “This campaign is part of our effort to advance digital equity – ensuring all Seattleites have access to and proficiency using internet-based technologies.”

Jobs & the Internet is the second topic of the ongoing Get Online Seattle campaign to provide residents with the necessary skills to navigate the Internet, find content relevant to their needs, and access affordable Internet. The first topic focused on health resources, including what to look for in a reputable health site and what sites to avoid. The next Get Online Seattle campaign, to be launched in October, will focus on learning and education resources.

Visit www.seattle.gov/getonline for more information about the jobs campaign, resources and tips for use. Posters and leaflets are also available via the web site or by calling 206-233-7877.

The Get Online Seattle: Jobs & the Internet campaign is run by the City of Seattle’s Community Technology Program in partnership with the City’s Citizens Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board, Seattle Public Library, Seattle Goodwill, and YWCA Works.

The City of Seattle’s Department of Information Technology’s Community Technology Program works to ensure all residents have the opportunity to access online city services and get online for civic and cultural participation, education, and employment. For more information, visit http://www.seattle.gov/tech/.

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Contact Vicky Yuki at vicky.yuki@seattle.gov or 206-233-7877 for more information

Report highlights how Seattleites use technology

SEATTLE 5/23 At a launch event last night, the City of Seattle released new findings on technology access, adoption and interaction by Seattle residents. These findings are based on feedback from 2,600 residents via online and phone surveys and in-person focus groups in multiple languages about their use, concerns, and barriers to using the Internet, social media, cable TV and online government services.

“This data shows that we’re making great strides in technology, but a digital gap still exists between our neighbors,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “We’re already using the data in this report to influence how the City of Seattle interacts with our neighbors and to better target our outreach and engagement strategies.”

Every four years the City of Seattle conducts community research to find out how Seattle residents are using technology.The technology adoption study findings were detailed at the interactive launch event, and are available online at www.seattle.gov/tech/indicators. The summary of findings and recommendations are available in multiple languages.

“The continued rise of smart phone and tablet use provides outstanding opportunities for government to reach more residents,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee. “The information from the focus groups will help us improve services and how we reach all communities. We will take action on improving access to web services by making them available in multiple languages.”

Since 2000, the City’s Community Technology Program has been collecting extensive and statistically valid data on residential use of cable TV, broadband adoption and uses (including health, work, education, finance and civic engagement), barriers to broadband adoption, use of online city services, and customer service needs. The measures used were based on goals for a technology-healthy city developed in collaboration with the City’s volunteer Technology Advisory Board.

Nine focus groups were also conducted to help understand the needs of communities who are often under-represented in the online and phone surveys or may be technologically-underserved.

Findings of the report include:

  • The report finds that 85 percent of Seattle residents have Internet at home and that more residents now own laptops than desktop computers.
  • Since 2009, Seattle has seen mobile phone ownership grow by 11 percent (80 to 89 percent), and has seen a 66 percent growth in the number of residents with smart phones (35 to 58 percent).
  • Broadband and cable TV prices continue to be of concern, but increasing broadband speed is important to those surveyed, with high interest in using higher bandwidth applications.
  • Cable subscribership has dropped 13 percent in the past four years as options for viewing video over the internet have grown.
  • Lower income residents have lower-speed broadband service, though a broad cross section of Seattle residents are interested in using higher speed internet services for activities like medical appointments or taking classes.
  • The study funds that there is still a significant gap in access to internet and the skills to use it, though the digital equity gap is more focused in skills and uses of the internet than on basic access.
  • Email was noted as the preferred way for residents to give their opinion to a community group or the City.
  • Education and age are the most significant factors differentiating technology access and adoption, but the data also shows important differences based on the income, ethnicity, and abilities of those surveyed.
  • The research also found that those with less education tend to make less use of the internet than users with more education.

For more information, visit www.seattle.gov/tech/indicators or contact communitytechnology@seattle.gov or 206-386-9759.