The GovLab summit that was organized to launch of the GovLab initiative at the Robert F. Wagner, was a great opportunity to interact with a lot of interesting people, one could say that the most prominent names on the field came to that event.
I was lucky enough to participate in meetings with Tim Burners Lee (the founder of the Web), Aaron Cohen (renowned academic), Robert Kirkpatrick (tech journalist and author of the Facebook Effect) and Nick Sinai who fills Beth Noveck’s shoes now as current Deputy Chief Technology Officer of the White House.
After finding all these incredible people, I was wondering if besides an honorable Minister for ICT of Rwanda, who was a notable attendant to the conference, I would find someone else from the developed world.
My motives to find someone from a similar geography weren’t just an attempt to speak Spanish. I have consistently in this space advocated for innovation for the poor. As insightful as it was to listen to all the big names that I listed before, I always find a disconnect with the discussions in the tech/government field and the problems of populations with limited access to technology.
Then I met Rudi Bormann (@DonRudi) the Director of the Open Government initiative in Buenos Aires. He was kind enough to send me explain their open government initiative. Following I will briefly outline it.
The initiative of Buenos Aires, one that is recognized among peers as a successful innovative one, Is framed under three principles: Transparency, Participation and Collaboration. This principles aim to achieve three objectives:
To Empower citizens, as it is important to have citizens engaged on the and vigilant on the exercise of government.
To Improve Public Services, as service delivery is the first tool for a government to gain legitimacy; providing services in a more efficient and effective way will engage citizens and generate trust in government.
Creating an Innovative city, to use the city and its data as a platform for innovation and of knowledge generation.
Running under this platform the city of Buenos Aires, has gained recognition and has generated confidence of citizens with its government.
Recently Rudi’s team organized the BA Hackathon. I was pleasantly surprised to see the projects that came out of that day’s work. The apps that came out of that Hackathon really target vulnerable populations. One about reproductive health, one to help people affected by vision disability to read musical scores, and one that allowed you to identify locate public libraries with access to internet.
It was great to find apps of this nature and aver all innovation for the other end. For the one 50 % that has no access to technology and that is excluded of its benefits.