Civic tech can be a civic improvement multiplier if it is built for the people who know where the issues are and simply need better processes for solving them, argues Matt Hall, from Neighborland, in an article in Code for America blog.
Gov 2.0 does not need to be the vanguard for change. We can do more if we connect with and support others who can lead change in their own communities.
While members of the Gov 2.0 community are very well connected to each other, we are not as well connected to other communities for civic change, especially those that are not early adopters of technology. There is a solid logic to going after the “low hanging fruit” and connecting to governments and civil society organizations who embrace technology as a tool for civic improvement but there are many more resources outside of those early adopter circles. Just as one of the core tenants of Gov 2.0 is including citizen resources to improve communities, including external resources also needs to be part of the Gov 2.0 process. There are community organizations, advocacy groups, and government departments that have the local, political, and technical knowledge necessary to effecting civic change. Civic tech groups certainly know how to build tools but without connecting to that local knowledge the effectiveness of those tools is compromised. It is tempting for a civic tech group to identify a problem and then implement a tech-sexy solution without consulting external groups but that process is just as wasteful of resources as a government that tries to implement a solution without involving citizens in the process.
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Civic Tech is Not Alone: Connecting with Local Knowledge