“Culture eats strategy for breakfast!” – Peter Drucker
4 suggestions related to the cultural and human factors dimensions. Probably not where you want to start out, capacity building would be a better focus, but something to consider and plan for sooner than later.
- “How to engage with City Staff” tech training
Info for *both* tech-innovator citizens and city staff on how to work together on Open Gov tech projects. — Speaking from my experience with city staff on http://fixcity.org I found that the biggest bottleneck to civic innovation is informing & training of civil staff about OpenGov concepts. OpenGov needs to become part of the civil employee culture. This is a new interdependent virtuous cycle type of relationship between citizens & city staff that many excellent city staff veterans are not used to. Behind great tech are great ways of working with people to do it.
- Add qualified social/anthro ethnographic tech researchers to city staff.
Since many civic tech projects are social tools about social life in this city huge quality improvements could be made with wise understanding of Urban dwellers & tech. Who to hire? Start with Keith N. Hampton at U Penn. See his research on “The Social Life of Wireless Urban Spaces” and PEW reports. The city’s investment in research entrepreneurs often can’t afford, for social human understanding technologists are often not aware of would be a great service. These researchers could also provide the best approach for success measurement. Keith’s site. http://www.mysocialnetwork.net/ I can also recommend others.
- Weave in human-centered Placemaking approaches and assessments for projects related to actual places in NYC. What is Placemaking? http://www.pps.org/placemaking/a…
- Work with Meetup.com to learn best strategies to encourage bringing people together face to face in the places they care about. This must be key. As Douglas Rushkoff simply put it, digital media have an inherent bias towards dislocation– using dislocation technology for local connection has a built-in trap. The solution? Use it to get people to meet together.