Vivek Kundra: Democratizing Data and Putting it in the Public Domain

January 7, 2009
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I’m hoping most enterprise CTOs have had a chance to learn more about Vivek Kundra’s Apps for Democracy initiative. I’m really impressed by this activity for many reasons, but primarily because it got results of use to the citizens and visitors of DC. This initiative proved yet again that Vivek Kundra is a CTO who gets things done. From his bio: Vivek Kundra was appointed by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty on March 27, 2007 to the Cabinet post of Chief Te


I’m hoping most enterprise CTOs have had a chance to learn more about Vivek Kundra’s Apps for Democracy initiative.  I’m really impressed by this activity for many reasons, but primarily because it got results of use to the citizens and visitors of DC.  This initiative proved yet again that Vivek Kundra is a CTO who gets things done.  From his bio:

Vivek Kundra was appointed by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty on March 27, 2007
to the Cabinet post of Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for the District
of Columbia. As CTO, Kundra leads the Office of the Chief Technology
Officer (OCTO), an organization of over 600 staff that provides
technology services and leadership for 86 agencies, 38,000 employees,
residents, businesses, and millions of visitors.Prior to this Vivek was getting things done in the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the private sector, and in Arlington Virginia.  In his current position he became an instant hero to an entire enterprise when he took the bold step of moving his enterprise to a Google Apps foundation. The video below provides some background on this move. 

An equally wise, and similarly bold move was Vivek’s initiative called Apps For Democracy.  This contest began with Vivek insuring that the DC government is being as open and transparent with data as possible, exposing data in a variety of common formats.  This was no simple task, requiring vision, perseverance, and a dedication to plow through city hall obstacles that only a motivated leader could tackle.  Vivek set the groundwork for success by working with a great thought leaders like Peter Corbett at iStrategyLabs and by coordinating with Internet enthusiasts like the crew at Mashable.  The Strategy Labs team created a proposal for this project and brought this project to life in six days!  created a page encouraging mashup entries, and the result was an incredible generation of capabilities that serve DC citizens and visitors to our Capital.   47 applications were created in a way that did not require long procurement processes or costly integration contracts.  What do the apps do?  Check them out yourself here: medal-winnersMy favorite:  DC Historic Tours.   This is really really cool.   Thanks Vivek!For more see the video below: Apps for Democracy from Shaun Farrell on Vimeo. What else can I say about Vivek?  He also has great models for internal program management.  His approach is nothing like the one I learned from Gartner the everyone trys to implement.  And it is better than the one I learned in the corporate world that worked very well for us at TRW and Northrop Grumman.  His approach is nothing like the one we used at DIA.  In fact, if I had it to do over again I would use his approach in my old enterprise.  For more on his way, see the write up for his 2008 InfoWorld Top 25 CTO award.  So hey, what’s next?  My hope is that the methods and models of Vivek (and iStrategylabs) are applied across the nation and up to state and federal levels.  Think of the good that could be done. 
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