Civic Tech Roundup: August 17

Introducing a new feature on the Seattle IT TechTalk blog: the Civic Tech Roundup. Twice a month, we’ll feature news, must-reads, and upcoming events in civic tech, curated especially for Seattle’s civic-minded tech community. To suggest content, including upcoming events, email us at civic.tech@seattle.gov.

In the news

  • For those still wondering what civic tech even is, here’s a quick overview from today’s GovTech.
  • This month, the print edition of GovTech magazine featured Seattle civic entrepreneur Ethan Phelps-Goodman on the cover, in a story (available online) that also features national leaders such as Code For America Founder Jen Pahlka. The article quotes Open Seattle organizer Seth Vincent and several members of the City of Seattle IT department. Author Colin Wood writes, “civic tech — the place where government interests intersect with community-minded activists who are ready to donate their time and talents — is the public sector’s fastest-moving innovation inlet.”
  • The Bay Area Startup-in-Residence program (STiR) is entering its second cohort of civic-minded, tech-enabled startups helping city governments tackle their challenges. This is impressive, but perhaps the biggest innovation news in the piece is the fact that it triggered a simplification of the procurement process in the San Francisco City government, rolling up 17 separate requests for proposals into a single form. Learn more about the 14 startups working with Bay Area governments in the article.
  • Finally, GeekWire ran a lengthy interview with Civic Technology Advocate Candace Faber (that’s me), outlining the need for technologists to get involved in civic issues beyond creating apps.

 

Must-reads

  • The Surprising Place Where Activists Are Fixing Society’s Problems,” in this month’s Inc. magazine, highlights activists-turned-entrepreneurs who see technology as a potential solution to social problems. Benjamin Jealous, a former head of the NAACP, is quoted saying, “All of us had been national, progressive advocates, leading organizations that needed urgently to solve big problems, and we found ourselves banging our heads against a brick wall. Here [in Silicon Valley] was an opportunity to do things that had proved impossible in Congress.”
  • Exploring Online Engagement in Public Policy Consultation: The Many or the Few?” Many civic tech products are focused on engaging the public in solving their own problems. Is this always the right approach for government? What are the implications for members of the public whose needs deserve consideration but cannot participate as directly in the decision-making process? That’s the subject of this academic paper from Helen Liu of the University of Hong Kong, published in this month’s Australian Journal of Public Administration and available in full online.
  • vTaiwan: Public Participation Methods on the Cyberpunk Frontier of Democracy,” explores the seeds of collaboration between Taiwan’s government and its open-source community, resulting in a virtual policy development engine that has since expanded beyond addressing cyberpolicy. This is perhaps a counterpoint to the essay above, with author Liz Barry noting, “The fact that these methods are working at a national scale in Taiwan suggests that, in an age of mass digital participation, we can reclaim the democratic process for including the people’s voice in creating laws.”
  • Design and the Self,” an essay by Khosla Ventures’ Irene Au, summarizes all the reasons why design matters – including how it makes us feel, with implications for cities that also want to be the best versions of their “selves.”

 

Upcoming events 

  • Thursday, August 18 (tomorrow!), 3:00-5:00 pm: Data Science for Social Good Presentations at University of Washington (details + RSVP)
  • Friday through Sunday, August 19-21: Maker Land open air camping + maker event, Seal Rock, Oregon (details + RSVP)
  • Saturday, August 27, 10:00 am-10:00 pm: Hack for Healthcare at University of Washington Startup Hall (details + RSVP)
  • Looking ahead: Seattle Design Festival, September 10-23

 

BONUS: Request!

The Civic Tech Roundup needs a logo! A pixelated lasso, perhaps? An adorable gathering of techie things on a picnic blanket? Or maybe even a different name to go with a more compelling image? If you’re inspired and willing to contribute, please reach out.

Note: If you love civic tech, we recommend keeping up with the news via GovTech (esp. Jason Shueh and Colin Wood), Civicist, and the Code for America blog, as well as local Code for America brigade Open Seattle

Seattle IT’s New Director of Security, Risk, and Compliance: Dena Solt

photograph of Dena Solt

Dena Solt:  Director of Security, Risk and Compliance

Hired in July, Dena fills the final position on Seattle IT’s Executive Team where she leads the effort to keep the City’s—and its customers’—data secure and privacy protected.  To do that, Dena sees her challenge as “responding to day-to-day security and privacy matters while getting an understanding of the vast and complex City of Seattle, its systems and operations.”  One of her first priorities is to develop a prioritized and cohesive multi-year strategic plan for the City’s information security, risk, compliance, and privacy program—a plan that will ensure information assets are stored and protected in a manner that meets or exceeds corporate, compliance and regulatory requirements, and builds the public’s trust in government.

That is a tall order for somebody still new to the City of Seattle; Dena acknowledges that success depends on “developing, and empowering a team of proactive, collaborative, knowledgeable individuals to help carry out the plan.”  She says she feels fortunate that her staff and the other Seattle IT employees she has met are “incredibly talented, knowledgeable, and dedicated.” One of the first accomplishments in building out the new Security, Risk, and Compliance team was the appointment of Chief Information Security Officer Jeff Brausieck, who will be joining the team on August 10th.

While Dena may be new to the City, she is not new to her role.  She comes to Seattle IT with more than eighteen years of experience in technology, information security, risk management, compliance, and privacy.  She has worked on four continents and lived in South Africa prior to moving to the state of Washington thirteen years ago.  A Certified Information Security Auditor, she has assisted a wide range of public and private sector organizations, participated in various security industry initiatives, and served as Director of Corporate Risk and Compliance for drugstore.com/Walgreens, where she managed security, privacy, compliance, internal audit, payment processing, and IT finance.

When she’s not working, Dena enjoys adventure travel, photography (she is now venturing into astrophotography,) and spending time with friends and family, including her 20-year-old son when he is home from college.

Both personally and professionally, Dena sees Seattle IT as a great fit. “I decided to join Seattle IT after meeting Michael Mattmiller and the IT leadership team who I can now proudly refer to as my colleagues,” she notes. “I wholeheartedly believe in the vision and direction and simply could not turn away from the opportunity to work with you all to tackle the challenges, mitigate the risks, and be part of the solution.”

Do you have an opinion on Wave Broadband services?

waveWe’d like to hear from you!

Wave Broadband’s cable franchise to operate in the City of Seattle expires November 2017.

As part of the franchise renewal process, the City is gathering input from community members on future cable-related interests and needs.

If you’re a Wave Broadband customer, we’d like to hear from you:

In-person

June 29, 2016, Wednesday, 7-8:30 p.m. at the Jefferson Community Center, 3801 Beacon Ave S, 98108

July 20, 2016, Wednesday, 6:15-7:45 p.m. at the Douglass Truth Library, 2300 E Yesler Way, 98122

  • Co-Sponsored with the City’s Community Technology Advisory Board

On-line

Comment form: www.seattle.gov/tech/cable-renewal-response

Survey: www.surveymonkey.com/r/CityOfSeattleWaveCableSurvey

Via email

cableoffice@seattle.gov

Over the phone

206.684.8498

Seattle Channel Wins Two Regional Emmy Awards

seattle channel logo

SEATTLE CHANNEL, Cable 21

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 6, 2016

Contact: Lori Patrick, (206) 733-9764
lori.patrick@seattle.gov

               

Station recognized for historic/cultural programming

SEATTLE – Seattle Channel is the recipient of two Northwest Regional Emmy Awards for historic/cultural programming, one for a segment about the Georgetown Steam Plant and another for an animated short film about a local World War II veteran.

 

The city-operated station was recognized Saturday, June 4 at the Northwest Chapter of the National Academy of Arts & Sciences’ (NATAS) Emmy Awards ceremony.

 

“Seattle Channel’s in-depth coverage of City Hall and Seattle’s diverse communities helps residents stay informed, engaged and connected with their city,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “I congratulate the station on its work and its commitment to inspiring civic engagement.”

 

A CityStream story about the Georgetown Steam Plant, now the Georgetown PowerPlant Museum, won in the historic/cultural segment category. A blast from Seattle’s past, the plant was built in 1906 mostly to power the city’s electric streetcar system. The segment was produced, photographed and edited by Ralph Bevins. Watch the winning segment: http://www.seattlechannel.org/explore-videos?videoid=x57291.

 

Shiro Kashino, a World War II veteran who grew up in Seattle’s Central District, is the subject of an animated short film, An American Hero: Shiro Kashino, which won in the historic/cultural program category. The feature, part of Seattle Channel’s Community Stories series, draws from the graphic novel Fighting for America: Nisei Soldiers, written by Lawrence Matsuda and illustrated by Matt Sasaki. The piece was produced and directed by Shannon Gee, animated by Randy Eng, with audio engineering and sound design by Thomas Cavit and writing by Lawrence Matsuda. Watch the winning feature: http://seattlechannel.org/CommunityStories?videoid=x59988.

 

“Seattle Channel is a catalyst that helps bring people together and develop a better understanding of our changing city,” said Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell, chair of the Council’s Education, Equity and Governance Committee. “The station’s inclusive programming features a variety of voices on subjects ranging from public policy to the people and cultural traditions that comprise Seattle.”

 

In the 53rd annual Northwest Emmy Awards, Seattle Channel competed against commercial and public television stations in the Northwest NATAS five-state region which includes Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. This year, the station received 17 Emmy nominations in program categories including overall station excellence, arts/entertainment, health/science, politics/government, interview/discussion, promotion/program campaign as well as photography and editing.

 

“Seattle Channel is committed to producing quality content with depth and impact,” said John Giamberso, Seattle Channel general manager. “Our public-affairs programs spark informed civic dialogue and our arts features and documentaries entertain and inspire. I applaud our talented team for its dedication to excellence in local programming.”

 

Seattle Channel is a local TV station that reflects, informs and inspires the community it serves. Seattle Channel presents programs on cable television – channel 21 on Comcast (321 HD) and Wave (721 HD) – and via the Internet at seattlechannel.org to help residents connect with their city. Programming includes series and special features highlighting the diverse civic and cultural landscape of the Pacific Northwest’s premier city.

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.

Meet City of Seattle’s New Chief Privacy Officer (CPO): Susan Goodman

Susan Goodman

Susan Goodman

Susan Goodman knows a lot about data and information – how to collect, maintain, manage and dispose of data, carefully. She also knows about the delicate balance between transparent government and protecting its citizen’s Privacy.

Susan brings impressive credentials to Seattle. She has a Master’s Degree and is a Certified Information Privacy Professional with extensive experience – in the US and globally – in both the public and private sectors, in-house and as a consultant. From the City and County of Albany, NY, to NY State Govt., the Public Utilities Board of Brownsville, Texas, the Town of Wethersfield, CT, Consumer Reports, Bank of America, Citigroup and others – she developed, led and enhanced Records Management and Privacy programs. Susan was also an adjunct professor of Records Administration at Wayne State University. She speaks at conferences and contributes to technical publications to advance Privacy and Information Governance.

Under the leadership of Mayor Murray, in November 2014 the City launched its Privacy Initiative, led by the Seattle Police Department and Department of Information Technology. The initiative defined how the City collects, uses, and disposes of data in a manner that balances the needs of the City to conduct its business with individual privacy. Seattle is one of the first cities in the nation to establish its own privacy principles to protect personal information. City partners and vendors are instructed to follow the same guidelines.

As Seattle’s Chief Privacy Officer, Susan looks forward to collaborating with all City departments, the Community Technology Advisory Board, the Council, Seattle’s advocacy committee and others to continue to build and to lead a cutting edge Privacy program and to earn the public’s trust in how the City collects and uses data.

“I was very impressed with the City of Seattle and Seattle IT and how forward thinking it is,” she said.  “Protecting the private information of Seattle residents, and gaining public trust, is critical to enabling the City of Seattle to provide its residents with valuable, advanced technologies and services.”

Susan’s husband Alan is a retired Social Service Executive Director who directed the Red Cross September 11th Recovery Program, working closely with FEMA and other emergency services in the wake of the disaster. Susan began her role with the City of Seattle on May 2.  Welcome to Seattle, Susan!

For more information on the City’s Privacy Initiative, visit http://www.seattle.gov/privacy.

City of Seattle Wins 2016 EPEAT Sustainable Purchasing Award

photo of the awardThe Green Electronics Council (GEC) today announced the winners of the 2016 EPEAT Sustainable Purchasing Awards, which recognize excellence in the procurement of sustainable electronics. EPEAT is a free and trusted source of environmental product ratings that makes it easy for purchasers to select high-performance electronics that support their organization’s sustainability goals. EPEAT is managed by the Green Electronics Council.

The City of Seattle was one of 38 award winners representing a wide range of organizations, including national and provincial/state governments, leading academic institutions and the healthcare sector.

Read the EPEAT press release.

Mayor Murray announces agreement with Shenzhen to advance biomedical research

Mayor Ed Murray announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Seattle and the City of Shenzhen, China, to support biomedical research and the establishment of a joint institute between the University of Washington School of Medicine and Shenzhen-based BGI, one of the world’s largest genomics organizations.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) commits both cities to greater cooperation on issues of medical research and health care. UW and BGI signed a separate MOU in Shenzhen agreeing to collaborate on development of the joint institute.

“This agreement between the Cities of Seattle and Shenzhen will encourage and support meaningful cooperation between two global leaders of innovation in medical research and technology,” Murray said. “Ultimately, it will create new opportunities for our biotech and health care industries, and help advance pioneering medical technology that will benefit patients, doctors and communities around the globe.”

“We at the UW are looking forward to working alongside BGI in charting the future of genomics research, especially in accelerating the application of new sequencing technologies to human health,” said Dr. Jay Shendure, an M.D./Ph.D scientist and professor of genome sciences at the UW, and a national advisor on precision medicine initiatives.

The joint institute is part of BGI’s goal of developing an innovation center in Seattle. The City of Seattle looks forward to working with BGI on the process to develop this significant addition to the city’s innovation economy.

Shenzhen, a coastal city of over 10 million people, is considered the high-tech and life sciences hub of China. “With a sound foundation in the fields of biotech and health technology, a host of well-positioned industries have taken shape in Shenzhen, including gene medicine, polypeptide medicine, anti-tumor medicine, medical imaging equipment and life information monitoring,” according to the MOU.

The MOU was signed during the third day of a Murray-led trade delegation to three cities in China, which includes Hong Kong and Hangzhou. The mission is part of an ongoing effort to encourage more foreign direct investment in Seattle, expand economic opportunities for local companies, and establish international partnerships.

“We are thrilled to be part of this historic moment between Seattle and Shenzhen,” said Kristi Heim, president of the Washington State China Relations Council. “Deepening the partnerships between our two cities will support economic growth, scientific advancement and long-term collaboration in public health and environmental protection.”

The agreement builds on two earlier MOUs signed in 2015 between Seattle and Shenzhen pledging cooperation issues such as low carbon urban development, electric vehicles, information technology, life sciences, and people-to-people exchanges. Murray also hosted visits by Shenzhen Mayor Xu Qin and former Deputy Mayor Tang Jie.

The trade delegation includes: Murray, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, representatives from the Washington State China Relations Council, the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle, Alaska Airlines, Amazon, Boeing, Microsoft, Vulcan, and the University of Washington.  They met with government officials and business representatives in Hong Kong and Shenzhen before Murray is joining a separate group of e-commerce companies on a trip organized by the Washington State China Relations Council to the City of Hangzhou.

For most of its history, Seattle has had deep cultural connections to China. Throughout the trip, Murray will seek to deepen those ties as he meets with local officials and business representatives.

Seattle Channel Receives 17 Emmy Nominations

seattle channel logo

Originally Posted April 4, 2016 by Seattle Channel

Seattle Channel is honored to receive 17 Northwest Regional Emmy-award nominations from the Northwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS). The station’s nominations include overall station excellence with the channel competing against some of the region’s commercial and public television stations.

The 2016 nominations were announced Friday night and highlight the quality of several Seattle Channel series, including public-affairs program City Inside/Out; documentary series Community Stories; weekly magazine show CityStream and several Art Zone segments.

“These nominations underscore Seattle Channel’s commitment to helping Seattle residents connect with their city from its history, to its artists, to its public policies,” said John Giamberso, Seattle Channel general manager. “I congratulate the staff on its work.”

The Northwest regional Emmy awards will be announced June 4. The NATAS region includes five states: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.

Here is a listing of Seattle Channel’s 17 Emmy nominations:

Overall Excellence – Seattle Channel
• Seattle Channel • John Giamberso, general manager

Arts/Entertainment – Feature/Segment
Art Zone: Ernie Sapiro: Musician Project:  Ralph Bevins, producer/photographer; Valerie Vozza, photographer
Art Zone: Glenn Rudolph: Ralph Bevins, producer/photographer/editor

Arts/Entertainment – Program/Special
Community Stories: Enfu: Ian Devier, producer; Shannon Gee, senior producer

Historic/Cultural – Feature/Segment
CityStream: Taiko!: Ian Devier, producer
CityStream: Georgetown Steam Plant: Ralph Bevins, producer/photographer/editor
Art Zone: Louie Gong: Valerie Vozza, DP/editor; Kathy Tuohey, producer

Historic/Cultural – Program/Special
Community Stories: An American Hero: Shiro Kashino: Shannon Gee, producer/director; Randy Eng, animation; Stephen Thomas Cavit, audio engineer/sound designer; Lawrence Matsuda, writer

Health/Science – Program/Special
CityStream: Science Fun: Megan Erb, senior producer; Shannon Gee, producer; Randy Eng, photographer/editor; Roberta Romero, host

Politics/Government – Program/Special
City Inside/Out: Juvenile Justice: Susan Han, senior producer; Brian Callanan, host/producer; Matt Peterson, photographer/editor

Interview/Discussion – Program/Special
Art Zone: Duff McKagan Interview: Nancy Guppy, senior producer/host; Ralph Bevins, photographer/editor; Peggy Lycett, editor
City Inside/Out: Rental Rules: Susan Han, senior producer; Brian Callanan, host/producer; Matt Peterson, photographer/editor

Promotion/Program/Campaign
Seattle Channel: It’s Not What You Think: Ian Devier, producer/editor/photographer; Kevin Patnik, creative director; Lori Patrick, producer/communications manager; Bryan Cox, art director; Judy Stuhmer, senior designer; Molly Beier, project manager

Photographer/Video Essay
Art Zone: Hak Bo Lee: Valerie Vozza

Editor/Program
Community Stories: Enfu: Ian Devier
Art Zone: Ernie Sapiro: Musician Project: Ralph Bevins
Community Stories: An American Hero: Shiro Kashino: Shannon Gee and Randy Eng

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.