Challenge: Developing a Community Needs Platform/Solution - California Health and Human Services Agency

Imagine a place where government can leverage data and information from communities and external partners while enabling discussions, encouraging collaborations, and sharing skills. This space/solution would allow for communities to share needs, ideas, provide insight, and leverage lessons learned around specific areas of focus.

What do we want to achieve?

In order for us to collectively improve the health and wellbeing of all Californians, we must set bigger goals, use bolder strategies and be better partners.  We want this space/solution to stimulate innovation and ultimately, shape our programs and services, help provide input on priorities, and improve public policy.

The ultimate goal is to connect communities and government in an open feedback loop. By opening lines of communication and building a bridge between civic tech, communities, and  government we will bring together the people that hold different pieces of the larger puzzle to help design solutions and move the needle on the specific health and human services issues: 

·       Civic technologists/coders know how to build apps and visualizations, but they may lack an insight regarding specific real-world health and human services issues.

·       Community members and community partners who face health issues every day and are eager to share insights around these challenges and needs and help design solutions that will address them.

·       Government staff can benefit from further insight on the community health priorities and specific needs that need to be solved. 

We are challenging you to envision the solution that will connect government staff with the people experiencing the need as well as civic tech community who have tools to help build solutions around these needs. The platform where people can pose challenges or problems, advertise skill sets, volunteer their particular skills to solving posed problems, discuss relevant issues, and leverage data to produce better program and policy outcomes. 

As a part of this challenge you might provide input on specific community need (as a use case) and specific data that might help address that need.

The State has a wealth of data, and the CHHS Open Data Program is working to make these data available in open formats.

Given the data available, what other data would the public like to see?

What is the compelling community need or use case for prioritizing the publishing of these data? How can data on the portal be improved?



In 2012 California leaders in health and healthcare from the public and private sectors came together to develop a ten year plan to make California the healthiest state in the nation. They identified six goal areas and key indicators to measure our progress towards this goal of becoming the healthiest state in the nation.

Let’s Get Healthy California’s goal areas and indicators highlight a broad health and health care areas of focus. These broad areas of focus are a lens and a pipeline though which to engage the public, hone in, capture and understand specific community need and area of opportunity.  

Let’s Get Healthy California happens through collective impact; sharing and inspiring ideas, and connecting people, stories, and data. “This is a very bottom-up effort where we want to provide the tools, and the resources, and hopefully the inspiration for people to take charge of their own health – because at the end of the day, that’s really what has to happen.” Secretary Diana Dooley

In 2016 CHHS launched Let’s Get Health California interactive website to engage citizens in sharing insights and designing solutions that will transform the health of our state. 

California Health and Human Services OPEN DATA PORTAL

Since its launch in 2015, 12 CHHS departments have published close to 200 dataset on the CHHS Open Data Portal. Open Data has provided the common ground for thoughtful engagement with external resource partners to support our goals and objectives. It has been the catalyst for the departments to start thinking about how government can more effectively engage and interact with people to drive and inform our work; how we design our programs and services and create more efficient programs that provide better results for the people we serve.

Demand-Driven Open Data (DDOD)

While a seamless resource connecting data, people, and use cases may be a vision of the near future, the concept is already being explored and the case is being made for innovation driven open data at the federal and local levels. The Health and Human Services Idea Lab is pioneering a Demand-Driven Open Data (DDOD) program, where they are working to provide systematic and sustainable two way conversations between data users and data providers. This will hopefully allow the government to prioritize the data it makes available to users based on their expressed needs.

·       Demand Driven Open Data Website

·       Demand Driven Open Data Discussion Forum (GitHub)

·       Use Cases (Wiki)

·       Use Cases (

San Francisco’s Open DataSF 

Another example here in California is San Francisco’s DataSF program, where citizens can access the city’s data portal, have conversations about the city’s data and view use cases, apps, and visualizations created with the data. These examples illustrate how people are using data today, and sets the stage for taking the potential of open data to the next level.

Open Opportunities

Open Opportunities is creating a network of federal employees that will lead to a more effective, efficient, responsive government by sharing skills and collaborating on projects that support the mission of an agency or the government as a whole.

OpenOpps is the open source platform that supports the Open Opportunities program. As open source software, it can be deployed by state or local governments or in the private sector. It is free to use by anyone who can has technical operations staff and passion to start a new program, and we welcome everyone who would like to conribute to improving the platform.

·       Open Opportunities (Website)

·       OpenOpps Platform (GitHub)

City of Philadelphia Open Data 

The City of Philadelphia has created several pathways to engage constituents.

Discussion Board  allows anyone to post a question or comment on the Open Data Philly discussion group.

Data Inventory is a detailed list of every dataset that exists within city government with imbedded commenting feature that helps gauge public demand and inform prioritization of data releases.

Data Inventory Publication Schedule provides visibility into the city of Philadelphia’s data release schedule and allows for public to comment and provide feedback.

How to get in touch with CHHS: 

If you have an idea, insight or you’ve developed a concept solution to address this challenge --- we want to know!


Contact us at or tag us @CHHSAgency 

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