Because it’s not how to build community, it’s how you build your community.

Every agency, office, and department is unique, each with a specific mission, culture, and constituency. If you want to make the most of what you have, you have to understand and leverage these fundamentals. Yep yep, we can help with that.

1 April 2013

No luck on Knight.

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Unfortunately, we didn’t make the final 40 list for the Knight Foundation News Challenge. C’est la vie! I suppose it was too much to expect this complicated a solution to be picked up in what is, at least in part, a popularity contest!

13 March 2013

Knight Foundation News Challenge Submission

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The actual submission is here.

Advances in communication technology can be combined with modern organizational principles to devise a new model for citizen organizing and advocacy that is more effective. Using these principles, we can create sustainable, grassroots culture change that is driven not by “experts” working at a distance from the actual problem, but instead by the passion of the members and the individuals that stand to benefit most from the change. We can connect members to one another and build powerful networks that will share lessons learned between geographically distant regions. We can empower members by giving them first the inspiration, and second the knowledge to implement change in their own families, towns, and regions. Blossoming from this, the members will have the capacity to develop practical and broadly-accepted solutions to age-old problems, and then successfully advocate for these solutions and for themselves on local, state, national, and global levels. »

27 June 2012

Virtual In-person Collaboration with Hackpad

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So I recently learned about what I thought was simply another EtherPad clone. We used it in Moldova for the hackathon, at the World Bank for the Development Data Challenge, and most fully this week at the Open Source Summit. Here is what I learned from that experience. »

31 May 2012

It was me.

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Okay, so the trip to Moldova was awesome for many reasons – the accomplishments, the international experts, the Moldovans, the food, the wine… but there is one thing that I haven’t explicitly said about it yet and that is that I ended up facilitating the Open Innovation Challenge “Apps for Moldova” three-day TechCamp/Hackathon and (all modesty aside) making it rock.

My hope is that this leads to more work like this. So much good in such a short period time, all led with a locals-know-best-but-international-experts-have-a-lot-of-good-advice-to-share mentality.

Good stuff.

25 May 2012


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It’s good to have friends when you’re spreading an important message. Thanks to the following blogs for helping to distribute Moldova Re-Invents the Hackathon. It has been cross-posted in these locations in order to reach all of the relevant audiences across the world:

I expect a few more to come online and will update this post as that happens.

24 May 2012

Moldova Re-Invents the Hackathon

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Moldovan Coat of ArmsThis last weekend saw the first hackathon ever to occur in the country of Moldova, and they definitely made it their own. For a country that is just starting to build its civic hacker community, the results were nothing short of remarkable: 85 participants set to work almost immediately within impressive, self-organized team structures to produce 18 functional apps.

In traditional terms, this hackathon could be described as more of a code sprint for the final three days of a prize challenge, but even that description understates the innovation and complexity of the event format. In addition, it doesn’t do justice to all of the accomplishments that were achieved by the organizers as well as the participants. »

17 May 2012

I’m published on OGP!

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Check out this nice post about the upcoming activities in Moldova:

7 March 2012 is Live!

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Just took live. This site is intended for civil society around the world working on Open Government Partnership (OGP) issues to share their progress and find out how things are being done in other countries.

We set up a US version of the site at and have already received requests from a couple of other countries for sites (we’ll not talk about who they are until they get their sites populated with content and ready to take live).

31 January 2012

First draft complete!

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I finally completed the first draft of the NASA Open Source Development paper today. It is much longer and more in depth than I would have expected. Nonetheless, it is now off to Deb Bryant and NASA for editing.

3 October 2011

Owning Transparency

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I’m excited to announce the Open Forum Foundation’s very first official publication:

A Guide to Owning Transparency

How Federal Agencies can Implement and Benefit from Transparency

[Get it here]

This work is based on the in-person discussions hosted during the Focus Forum Owning Transparency: People, Processes, and Technology at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) on February 18th, 2011 and contains some remarkable contributions by a host of academic authors that have been involved in OPM’s Open Government implementation since the beginning.

In addition, the fabulous Maxine Teller helped edit the document!

Here’s the Executive Summary – check it out. »