An Opportunity to ‘Restart Government’s Thought Process’

San Jose City Hall San Jose City Hall Flickr user Dvotygirl

Last week, GovExec State & Local spoke with Lea King, executive director of the Silicon Valley Talent Partnership, about how the public-private partnership is helping local cities like San Jose, California, tackle civic challenges by talent-brokering pro bono private-sector assistance.

This week, Code for San Jose posted video excerpts of some of the discussions from the California Open Data Roadshow’s July meeting in San Jose. The city’s chief information officer, Vijay Sammeta, was one of the featured speakers and talked about the possibilities and promise of open data and how there’s “a real hunger” by public-private partnerships to “consume our data and build build new economies.”

Watch the video below or read excerpts of Sammeta’s remarks below.

Sammeta: . . . Whether it’s a tale of two Californias or the tale of two San Joses, when we look at the opportunities and certainly coming out of a dot-com bubble burst and then the Great Recession here, many governments—and San Jose is not alone—in their investments in systems and technologies have been put on pause. . . . But that’s really an opportunity. . . . We have an opportunity to reboot and restart government’s thought process.

We have almost every major piece of technology out for RFP or the technology director is taking too long to put out that RFP. In the pipeline of projects is that opportunity to expose that data to our community. And so as we look at those opportunities—certainly the transparency aspect, there’s certainly opportunities around improving performance in government. I know our budget office just added two positions for data analytics around the performance of government.

Then the third piece I really kind of think of with San Jose and the open-data opportunities is certainly how we help not only the private sector be successful but ourselves be successful. . . .

There’s a real hunger for that public-private partnership and public-private nonprofit partnerships to consume our data and build new economies. And I think that will not just be for the upper 1 to 5 percent but really crosscut all sections our community. And certainly, when you start any new economy you have to build things. It’s not always digital, right?

Some of the most frequent data sets that are asked for are for traffic conditions and things like that. Near-market opportunities where they can consume our data and deliver new solutions to the marketplace. And I think we’re at the very early stages of that and we’re very excited about a new economy kind of  growing out of the traditional kept-in-a-silo data set for government and that opportunity is right in front of us and is taking off here in San Jose and other communities around the county.

(Image by Flickr user Dvotygirl via an Attribution 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license)


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