From: "Steven Clift" <email@example.com>
Date: Aug 29, 2013 2:17 PM
Subject: [DW] Fwd: Blog CFA: 10 Ways to Collaborate w/ Gov
Lots of thought went into this:
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "IFTTT Action" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Aug 29, 2013 1:06 PM
Subject: Blog CFA: 10 Ways to Collaborate w/ Gov
with local government is one of the defining criteria of a Brigade. To
build the most impactful solutions, both government and citizens must have
a seat at the table.
But collaboration isnt always easy. It takes commitment from both parties,
time, and a willingness to walk the proverbial mile in one anothers shoes.
To help citizens get started in their community, weve put together the
guide How To: Collaborate with
We wanted to share a list of 10 tips for reaching out and collaborating
10 Ways to Reach Out & Collaborate with Your Local Government
*Get to Know Your City & Local Government*
- The best way to get started working with the local government in your
city is by getting to know it. Do some research, either by yourself or with
your Brigade at a hack night.
- Some useful questions to answer include: Does your city have a strong
mayorcouncil system, a weak mayorcouncil system, or a council-manager
system? Who is the mayor and who is on the city council? Are there any
departments or government employees that would make good allies for your
*Attend City Council Meetings*
- Send a representative from your Brigade to each city council meeting.
They can take notes and report back to your Brigade on the meetings
outcomes, city priorities, and any opportunities for overlap with current
Brigade projects or opportunities for new projects.
- City Council meetings are also great places to advocate for policies
your Brigade would like to see, such as open data or procurement reform.
Theyre also great venues for you to show support for the work your local
government is doing. Its important to recognize when your city does great
work in addition to advocating when you want to see something change.
*Start a Conversation*
- Once youve gotten familiar with your local government, youll
probably get a sense of the department heads, councilors, or executives
whose interests or areas of expertise overlap with your Brigades.
- Ask these folks to meet up for lunch or coffee. Understand what
theyre passionate about. See if theres any overlap with what you want to
do and with technology. The more you meet with members of your local
government, the faster you can learn about their processes, systems,
constraints, intentions, and desires.
*Extend An Invite *
- One of the most important and productive interfaces for collaborating
with local government is being in a room together, collaborating on solving
problems face-to-face. Local government staff might not know about your
group or how they can participate.
- Ask them to come to your meetup or hack night. Invite them to
participate in a Q&A or give casual presentation on their department to
- As Raleigh, N.C. Brigade Captain Jason Hibbets says, [Having local
government at our events] makes it so much easier because we can eliminate
a lot of assumptions we have about data or programs or how things work in
city government that can help us move the needle faster.
*Find a champion(s) in City Hall*
- As you meet with folks in City Hall and as they come to your hack
nights, its more likely that theyll become engaged and enthusiastic about
your group and the work its doing. As these champions emerge, make sure to
find ways to keep them in the loop on what youre doing and let them know
how they can help.
- As Hibbets also says, Youve got to find the champion. Youve got to
find your city councilor or department head whos into technology, whos
into this stuff. Thats been pretty critical to our success.
*Find quick wins*
- Is there a city project that has an easy technical solution? Are there
city officials or departments interested in learning more about open source
and open data?
- Finding quick ways to prove your skills and the value your group can
bring, whether theyre developing technology or helping your local
government better understand your community, is one of the easiest ways the
garner support from them.
*Meet in City Hall*
- If 80 percent of success is really just showing up, showing up and
meeting at City Hall can go a long way. Brigades such as Open Oakland
(Calif.) and Code for Kansas City hold meetups in City Hall. In Virginia
Beach (Va.), the Captains have earned a hall pass badges that let them
meet with city staff where they work on the municipal campus.
*Collaborate On A Project or Co-host An Event*
- Once youve established relationships with those in your local
government, start working on something together. Whether its collaborating
on an app or co-hosting an event, producing something together is rewarding.
*Keep the Dialogue Going*
- As you build more and more relationships with local government, make
sure to keep your contacts in City Hall in the loop. Continue to invite
them to your meetings, make sure theyre aware of whats happening and of
- And dont get discouraged if you hit roadblocks or go through periods
where there are lulls. As Raleigh, N.C. Brigade Captain Chad Foley says,
Be patient. Its going to take time to establish and build those
*Join Citizen Advisory Councils*
- If there are commissions or councils in your city that overlap with
areas your Brigade is working on, join them! In Austin, Texas, Brigade
Captain Chip Rosenthal is the Vice Chair of the Community Technology and
- Conversely, invite interested local government employees to be your
Brigades municipal sponsor or co-captain. Open Asheville, N.C. is lead by
city staff in the GIS department with the support of the CIO. Code for
Raleighs (N.C.) Chad Foley works for the city and co-captains the Brigade.
Do you have tips from experiences collaborating with your local government?
Share them with us! Hit us up @codeforamerica<http://twitter.com/codeforamerica>
via Code for America
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