In Citizen Science, Commons Lab, Crowdsourcing, Foresight, Governance, Technology and the Law on July 31, 2013 at 10:15 am
The Commons Lab of the Science and Technology Innovation Program is proud to announce the release of The Power of Hackathons: A Roadmap for Sustainable Open Innovation. Hackathons are collaborative events that have long been part of programmer culture, where people gather in person, online or both to work together on a problem. This could involve creating an application, improving an existing one or testing a platform.
In recent years, government agencies at multiple levels have started holding hackathon events of their own. For this brief, author Zachary Bastian interviewed agency staff, hackathon planners and hackathon participants to better understand how these events can be structured. The fundamental lesson was that a hackathon is not a panacea, but instead should be part of a broader open data and innovation centric strategy.
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In Citizen Science, Commons Lab, Crowdsourcing, Foresight, Governance, Technology and the Law, Uncategorized on June 27, 2013 at 12:31 pm
A demo of the SeaSketch platform being used to combat whale strikes in the Santa Barbara Channel.
As part of the Commons Lab’s ongoing initiative to highlight the intersection of emerging technologies and citizen science, we present a profile of SeaSketch, a marine management software that makes complex spatial planning tools accessible to everyone. This was prepared with the gracious assistance of Will McClintock, director of the McClintock Lab.
The SeaSketch initiative highlights key components of successful citizen science projects. The end product is a result of an iterative process where the developers applied previous successes and learned from mistakes. The tool was designed to allow people without technical training to participate, expanding access to stakeholders. MarineMap had a quantifiable impact on California marine protected areas, increasing their size from 1 percent to 16 percent of the coastline. The subsequent version, SeaSketch, is uniquely suited to scale out worldwide, addressing coastal and land management challenges. By emphasizing iterative development, non-expert accessibility and scalability, SeaSketch offers a model of successful citizen science. Read the rest of this entry »
In Commons Lab, Crowdsourcing, Governance, Guest Blogger on June 11, 2013 at 11:57 am
As of this afternoon, we have 79 conflicting opinions about the best way for citizen science to support environmental research. It’s entirely our fault—we asked.
As an AAAS fellow with EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD), I’ve spent the past few months immersed in the best of federal creativity. The ORD Innovation Team looks for new and better ways to solve environmental problems—and looks across the agency for ideas about how to do so. That means their brainstorming sessions don’t just involve a few people sitting around a table. Online ideation sessions help the team gather, and develop, the best suggestions. They also come with their own set of challenges.
Most online ideation platforms let you do three basic things:
- Collect new ideas in response to a question or problem. Every person who logs onto the system can add their thoughts, and every idea appears as its own blog-like post.
- Discuss and build on posted ideas. People critique, support, or add to what’s already been posted—these appear as comments on the original posts.
- Vote on ideas. Suggestions with more interest get pushed toward the top of the list, allowing more people to see and comment on them. This also makes it easy to pick out, at the end of the session, the ideas that have garnered the most excitement.
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In Commons Lab, Foresight, Governance, News and Events, Technology and the Law on May 22, 2013 at 10:13 am
In our recent post on the Open Data Policy, we mentioned Project Open Data as an exciting manifestation of collaborative government concepts put into practice. To learn more, we reached out to GitHubber Ben Balter, former Presidential Innovation Fellow and previous contributor to the Commons Lab. Ben also provided input on agile development for our paper on the National Broadband Map.
How did GitHub become a part of this project?
I was working as a Presidential Innovation Fellow when the process to create the Open Data Policy began. Anyone within government is used to seeing documents circulate with no real idea of when it was edited, by whom, whether it was the most current version, and so on. This is very opaque. So while we’re working on open data policy, the process itself was very not open. Open source developers within the Innovation Fellows started talking about using GitHub to create the actual document. Lowering the barrier to entry was always the idea—we want people editing this and sharing their perspectives. Read the rest of this entry »
In Commons Lab, Foresight, Governance, News and Events, Technology and the Law on May 9, 2013 at 12:08 pm
FCC Visualization of Low Power FM Availability, built on open data and explained on GitHub.
Today, the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Science and Technology Policy jointly released a new Open Data Policy directing agencies to implement specific structural reforms. In conjunction with an Executive Order prioritizing open and machine readable government information, these adjustments are forward looking and exciting. They speak to a general understanding that a deliberate approach to the way that data are processed and released can exponentially enhance their value.
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In Commons Lab, Foresight, Governance on April 9, 2013 at 11:37 am
The Government in the Lab blog has an interesting April 8 post looking at current government foresight efforts, including initiatives at the Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Air Force and Department of Veterans Affairs, among others at the federal and state levels. Thinking about the long-term future becomes particularly important when the short-term budget outlook is so bleak, the post concludes.
“Strategic foresight is not futurist forecasting, nor is it the sole purvey of Popular Science magazine, the World Future Society, or the Jetson Family,” the blog says. “It is about having the imagination to be prepared for what may come, regardless of which scenario occurs – it’s a mindset, not a process.” The post suggest the need for greater cross-agency work on foresight, emphasizing the need to show the value of foresight to policymakers (including the costs of not being prepared).
The post also references Leon Fuerth’s recent report on the subject, Anticipatory Governance. Fuerth visited the Wilson Center late last year to discuss the report, while the Science & Technology Innovation Program in January held a launch event for the Global Futures Intelligence System and the 2012 State of the Future report.