Back in July, I wrote about Show Us a Better Way, a contest set up by the United Kingdom’s Power of Information Task Force, that asks citizens to identify what they would like to see done with public information. If they like the idea they will help fund it, to the tune of £20,000 to develop the idea to the next level. Here are some examples of ideas they are looking for. The deadline for the submission of ideas ended on September 30th, and they will announce the winners imminently. By the way, Sunlight friend, U.K. Cabinet Office Minister and Member of Parliament Tom Watson was a leading visionary behind the Power of Information Task Force.
David Stephenson, in a post on the Open House Project’s Google group, compared favorably Show Us a Better Way to the Citywide Data Warehouse (CityDW) here in the District of Columbia. CityDW provides a centralized access point for online data about the District’s government operations. It focuses on providing real-time data from multiple agencies and sources, all in an effort at greater transparency. David wrote, “The DC project is, to my knowledge, the first US one to copy the incredibly creative UK “Show Us a Better Way” contest (the humility of the title alone speaks volumes!).” David also gave CityDW some love in his speech at this summer’s Netroots Nation.
As a longtime DC resident, it’s shocking to see any aspect of the District’s government receive any praise. That alone shows the transformative powers of online tools.