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Accela Insights

Better government through civic engagement

CityCamp Palo Alto: Thoughts on Civic Hacking from Dr. Jonathan Reichental

Accela is a proud sponsor of the upcoming CityCamp Palo Alto, part of the National Day of Civic Hacking. The event, scheduled for June 1, 2013, will include panel discussions, technology demos, music and amazing food. Jonathan Reichental, the City of Palo Alto Chief Information Officer and the Founder and Co-creator of CityCamp Palo Alto, sent along some thoughts on civic hacking, which I've posted below. Read, comment, join us for a day of Civic Good and let us know if you will inspire and be inspired. Why Civic Hacking is Good News for Government and Our Communities by Dr. Jonathan ReichentalCity of Palo Alto Chief Information OfficerFounder and Co-creator of CityCamp Palo Alto Hacking 101 When US Navy warplanes returned to base after bombing missions during World War 2, engineers would use hacksaws to cut pieces off broken aircraft and apply them to good planes to get them to fly again. Thus,......
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What Does Civic Good Mean to You?

Earlier this week, we announced the availability of the Civic Cloud and, in parallel with that launch, you’ll notice some changes in how we talk about what we do for government agencies, how we work with partners and developers and how we engage citizens. I want you to understand what we’re trying to accomplish, why we're confident we can build our business and provide a lot of value to a lot of agencies, and how you can help tell the story. Today, Accela manages thousands of services and millions of transactions daily for more than 500 public agencies worldwide, connecting governments directly to people and streamlining processes such as permitting, licensing, asset land management and public health & safety. It’s fair to say that we have a heritage and a tradition of powering civic excellence. Our business strategy is 1) to build on that strength and to expand our market opportunity and c......
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Bring Code for America to Your City

We've been doing a lot of great work with Code for America (CfA). Whether participating in civic hackathons or partnering for their 2013 Fellowship Program, we're working together to demonstrate our commitment to civic innovation. Our friends at CfA are actively seeking local governments who want to participate in their 2014 Fellowship. As many of you know, the Code for America Fellowship is a year-long program focused on civic collaboration and innovation. The Fellowship partners talented teams of developers, designers and entrepreneurs with change agents from local governments to address a range of civic challenges. Benefits to cities include: Catalyst for innovation New perspectives on issues your city is facing Products & interfaces that are simple, beautiful and easy to use Collaboration with a network of civic innovators and thought leaders Visibility on a national stage Applications are due March 31, 2013, so click the link below to apply or to nominate a......
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The Accela Partner and Developer Conference: Growing Partners and Growing Scale

 We’re kicking off the seventh annual Accela Partner and Developer Conference this morning and this meeting couldn't come at a better time. We are acutely aware of increasing government scrutiny, polarized political parties, and the expectation that governments, large and small, will continue to deliver the same level of service despite staffing and budget cuts. Along with the proliferation of social networks and mobile and tablet usage, we know that governments must adapt to better connect to the citizens they serve. We spent the morning defining citizen engagement. An attendee from Kansas discussed engagement as creating easier ways for citizens to request services, making systems easier for businesses to work with government and to make turnaround time faster with less bureaucracy. Gavin Newsom’s book, Citizenville, has brought to light that companies like Accela have a tremendous opportunity to help governments innovate, to define, build and distribute solutions that make an impact, and to create sol......
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"Data-Hungry" Is the Sentiment at the Code Across America Hackathon

 "In just one word, how are you feeling this morning?" That was one of the ice-breaker questions every participant of the "Hack Your City with Your City" event in San Francisco answered as we went around the room and introduced ourselves. The most common answers were 'excited' or 'over/under-caffeinated,' but the answer that struck me most, and which was also a common theme amongst participants whom I spoke with throughout the day, was the phrase 'data-hungry.' It succinctly summarizes the primary challenge facing the Open Data movement today -- giving Developers an understanding of what data is available, how to get at it, and how to use it most effectively for common good. Once the data floodgates are opened, we just stand back and see what amazing apps spring forth. Accela partnered with Code for America to host a hackathon on Saturday, February 23 at their Headquarters on 9th Street. I'd guess about......
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