Civic Hacking: Business models driving Government Innovation

| September 4, 2014

Governments are improving their relationship with business and are releasing open source data to SMEs in an effort to provide the best public services for the community. Ahead of CeBIT’s GovInnovate Summit, Lindsay Banffy spoke with Mark Headd about important role ‘Civic Hacking’ plays.

When it comes to business innovation, Small and Medium Enterprises regularly demonstrate their ability to ‘punch above their weight’.

Their lean and contemporary structures have forced many SME’s to become early adopters of technology and their business productivity and efficiency is thriving as a result.

That’s why governments at all levels are turning to SME’s as the new trend of ‘Civic Hacking’ is emerging. Governments now realise the potential of releasing open source data into the hands of SME’s and citizens to help improve public service delivery.

Business operators now have the opportunity to access raw government data from multiple agencies and provide feedback regarding how to improve the interaction between businesses, customers and government departments. Insights from both a business and customer perspective allows the Government to develop new online interfaces to streamline business processes making them more efficient and user-friendly.

The business community benefits from faster, better and more efficient interaction with government, whilst the government also benefits from tapping into innovative, entrepreneurial thinking and creative problem solving to improve their front and back end service functionality. It’s an opportunity to draw on Australia’s collective business intelligence and help government agencies meet the increasing demand for digital engagement and real-time response with its business partners and customers.

Mark Headd, Technical Evangelist for Accela Inc. (U.S) believes there is an increasing recognition from the Australian Government of the important role civic hacking can play in transforming public service delivery.

“Governments realise they don’t have all the answers and don’t necessarily have the resources to sift through their collections of data,” he said.

“They are committed to improving their relationship with business in an effort to provide the best public services for the community.

“Governments understand that a collaborative approach with their business partners and customers is an effective way of meeting their needs”.

According to Mr Headd, the willingness of governments to provide access to open data sets is a sign of things to come.

He predicts improvements in technology such as the establishment of ‘civic clouds’ will make it even easier for SME’s to access data from across departments and agencies.

“It will make it possible for technologists to use their business insights to build useful tools for business and customer engagement.

“Governments will progressively do more to encourage both business and public engagement as they continue to discover better ways of doing things,” Mr Headd said.

Mark Headd, Technical Evangelist, Accela Inc. (US) will provide deeper insights into ‘Civic Hacking, Open Data and the Future of Government Innovation’ at GovInnovate from 25-27 November, National Convention Centre, Canberra.

Lindsay Banffy is the Social Media and Communications Officer for CeBIT Australia’s GovInnovate Summit.