Microsoft hosted a conversation put on by the Civic Innovation Project. We were happy to be invited and met with some people who take on the real risk of innovation - elected officials!
I was very pleased to have been invited to an event put on by the Civic Innovation Project titled "Creating an Innovation Culture for the 21st Century City" hosted by Microsoft at their Innovation & Policy Center in Cambridge, MA.
I was there representing CivicLift and to participate in a discussion very near and dear to our startup. It is an important discussion that a variety of tiers of government and community sizes are having. Yes, I am obviously biased to how important innovation is to a community and how civic tech is the key to the empowering each one to drive their own economic development - but, I also see that stakeholders are thinking this way as well. The discussion included a panel of 5 mayors from Massachusetts all of whom were eager to both share their experiences and to hear from the audience, most of whom were from the civic tech community.
I give a lot of credit to each of the mayors because they were making real efforts in their communities to innovate and were very excited by their experiences. Their wins spoke loudly to them about what it would be like to further investigate civic innovations through tech, and here they were - looking to receive insight from a well qualified community.
"The Tide is Turning, and it's Turning Inwards" said the Mayor
After the presentations I had my chance to speak with many of the other attendees during a networking cocktail hour. The one-on-one conversations, both with the attendees and the speakers themselves, were exhilarating and fascinating. I left the event feeling like I had just spent the evening with people who have the tools to make the difference, and the people who have the means to make the difference.
Much to my delight (and belief), the dominating theme was the importance of connecting with the masses. Crowdsourcing ideas and the efforts to implement them. At CivicLift we get to see first hand how the community itself is the sustainability model, and it works. Hopefully we will keep getting invited to such events to promote that fact!