Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Mark Headd - Chief Data Officer, CIty of Philadelphia

This week, Mark Headd, Philadelphia's first Chief Data Officer will join us for a conversation about Open Government and Transparency in Government. Mark Headd is a Maxwell alum has a long career in government IT, but also served as Director of Government Relations at Code for America and budget analyst for the New York State Senate.

Mark Headd has experience working with all different stakeholders of the Open Government movement: as a member of an IT company with Voxeo Labs, as the government liaison with the nonprofit Code for America, but also as a private citizen as a so-called civic hacker, organizing and participating in hackathons.

Mark was recently appointed as the first Chief Data Officer by mayor Michael Nutter and will share insights into how government approaches the open government on the local government level.

Please review this TechPresident and this GovTech article about Mark's appointment and new role. As TechPresident puts it:

Headd is a vocal proponent of civic hackathons and using technology to open up government systems and information to the public, and helping citizens to get more involved. He's argued that governments can stimulate local economies by opening up their stores of data and by encouraging app development.

Post your questions about transparency and government data for Mark in the comments to this blog post.


  1. One of my main concerns as someone who would like to work with/for the government in the near future is the idea of working in a setting where big government is seen as a "threat"... particularly in the US. In my home country of Kuwait, most people already do work for the government (93% of the Kuwait's citizens), and what I've learned being in both ends of the world is that administrators and government officials have this unresolved fear that people who have not had much experience/have not been involved in the process of decision-making and policy implementation make the wrong choices... which leads to inefficiency.

    With so much innovation happening so fast, what advice would you give to someone who has access to all this innovation/information and so many ideas that may conflict with one another?
    Additionally, are there any examples you can think of where participatory governance should NOT be used in social media?

  2. I am curious about the hackers... Because I am thinking that when you put information in your computer, as long as you use the internet, it is not safe or secure anymore... But a hacker may be more interested in the Department of Security and the army rather than ordinary people. So it seems not so relevant to social media. I may be shortsighted in this problem. What do you think the relationship between openness of e-government, social media and hacker problem? Shall we put attention to it when we are talking about social media, as the budget is always limited?

  3. This story or introduction on white-hacker(hackathons)makes me interest in 'Open Government' as Obama administration focused on from last presidency. Most of all, the name 'Chief Data Officer' is unique and cool compated to CIO or CFO used in traditional circumstances. I think 'Data Officer' mainly adderess hidden or covered public data, which gathered wide range of public dataset for public use, and distribute or open to the citizen, third parties and company for more added value. In this light, hacker knows professionally where public data is displayed and how detect public data. Moreover, it is important to combine public data with commercial use like application development in smartphone.
    In Korea, a few years ago, a high school students developed mobile application of 'Bus Stop and Time in Seoul city'. He used public transfortation data offered by Seoul Metropolitan City and developed a application that inform which bus is coming and how much takes to arrive to the stop. This mobile application got a big hit among internet users and citizens and encouraged government to open their public data.
    I have two simple questons.

    First, Government is slow and don't have incentive open thier data voluntarily as I read in 'social media in the public sector'. As a CDO in city, How can induce the city to open the public data and trigger to widespread this kinds of openess in manner or culture?

    Second, when dealing with open data to the public, how handle of data security or privacy invasion in public sector?

  4. Obama administration got to start open government initiative and demanded from agencies to provide information to citizens and public. According to these policies; agencies use social technologies to increase transparency and accountability in government. There are many applications for Smartphone and other social media tools to keep these processes. I have two questions about this topic. Firstly; European Union published many private data protection initiatives in this field, and US agencies use and share a lot of information with people, is there any security to protect data of citizens and agencies in this topic? Secondly; there are budget weakness and internet access impossibility of some communities and some age groups in US and other countries; I think this may give rise to ‘digital divide’ between individuals and other organizations. Is it possible to deal with or solve ‘digital divide’ problem about this topics?

  5. Who is the primary user of open government data? If we talk about transparency, how do we engage citizens and encourage demand for the use of data? When we talk about economic benefits and app creation, how do we engage with business? Thank you!

  6. From Ali Isler: '' In recent years, especially in government services various applications were entered into force without thinking their negative effect carefully. Innovation sector serves tremendous facilities in private sector as well as in government sector. Of course these kinds of technologies provide useful outcomes such as increasing transparency, accountability, accessing proper official information, participating decision making process, collecting and sharing data (Data.gov), reusing data system as well as providing suitable platform for citizens. Unfortunately, there are some serious concern about privacy, security and health related issues on this issue. For example, sharing real time picture, video information upload system should be more controlled structure for avoiding violation of privacy. In today's world while the applications of government services provide wide range utilization for citizens, I think that this kinds of applications may create great deficit among countries and other international actors. In addition to the privacy and security, one of the important concern is to achieve stable political willingness in order to sustain these applications in an efficient way. Especially, for the countries which have not yet sufficient expertise and infrastructure, political willingness is based on stability and creates big gap in this sector. Chubby structure of government institutions is the biggest setback for these technologic application. Can capacity building programs be a alternative strategy for improving skills in public sector? What are the limitation of transparent governmental services provided by applications?''

  7. Looking forward to the discussion today!

  8. What kinds of things is Philadelphia doing to address issues of access to web services for its citizens? Do you think that average citizens need access to participate effectively in government?

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