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Austin Launches Innovation Office

As a testament to the hard work of the city and community, Austin City Council has approved room in the 2013 budget to form an Innovation Office that will continue to pursue open and new approaches to government.

As Council Member Laura Morrison noted last week, “We would like to put a stake in the ground… we are going to fund and move forward [on this].” (Watch the video here, starting at 22:00.) As CM Morrison notes, it’s about both the technology and the relationship between internal and external stakeholders that will help make this successful. If the current momentum continues, this shouldn’t be much of a problem for the city.

Some examples from this year that immediately come to mind include the participation of city employees at our hackathons in February and last weekend, well-received presentations to city and regional departments on agile software development and cloud computing, AustinGO public updates on continued development of the city’s web site (built in Drupal), the city’s attention to ideas generated on various sites, continued attention to populating the city data portal, the working group drafting an implementation of the December 2011 Council resolution for a citywide open government framework, apps built or improved during our events, and the many conversations we’ve facilitated between city employees and community stakeholders. More examples can be found in the Code for America Austin newsletter archives.

In short, the strength and engagement of Austin’s community is matched in few other places, if at all, and the history of engaged community groups working with city government is combining to write the next chapter of Austin’s open government story.

Questions? Comments? Hit us up @codeforamerica.