Luke Closs is a Vancouver-based web developer and co-creator of VanTrash, a civic app that notifies residents of local trash pickup schedules and won the "People's Choice Award" in British Columbia's "Apps for Climate Action" contest. Luke was recently interviewed on Gov 2.0 Radio, and in this guest post he discusses the benefits of co-creation for government services.ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ
An "ideas pipeline" is analogous to aÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ sales pipeline - you have a lot of leads, and as you qualify them yourÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ pipeline gets smaller but more valuable. This really highlights howÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ open source works well. Open source is great for allowing a lot ofÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ ideas emerge, some of them are great, some not so much.
This analogy is useful for people within governmentalÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ organizations to understand how they can help cultivate useful apps.ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ At each step of that pipeline there are different actions they can takeÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ to help maximize the value coming out.ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ Providing a forum for idea generation and sharing helps grow the inputsÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ to the pipeline.ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ Providing a forum for developers/designers/citizens to connect helpsÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ transform ideas into prototypes.ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ Prototypes that are useful or interesting or novel can becomeÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ projects. Keeping that community in contact and moving forward helpsÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ keep up excitement and interest in projects.ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ Projects that prove to be useful become services used by hundreds orÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ thousands of people. Recognizing and supporting these project teams isÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ valuable.
Eventually services may become infrastructure, things that citizensÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ expect to have. At this point, governments may chose to partner withÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ the creators to ensure the infrastructure can be sustainable for allÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ their citizens over the long term.
This really demonstrates the way that governments should leverage openÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ source. They can get a huge amount of innovation around their data byÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ providing support for ideas, teams and projects that prove themselvesÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ to be successful.
Contrast this with the traditional, old-school way that governmentsÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ rolled out services in the past. They paid for all ideas, successfulÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ or not.
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