Chief Innovation Officer of Massachusetts Wants Your Help


Tony Parham is unofficially leading the Innovation Army. Officially he’s the Chief Innovation Officer for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Innovation Army is how he describes anyone who wants to help Massachusetts innovate.

In his first post on the Mass Innovation blog Tony explains, “I have been charged with looking at how the various operations of the Commonwealth state government can be streamlined by leveraging innovations.”

Massachusetts is sitting on a mountain of untapped government data. It just needs to be delivered in a way that’s useful and accessible. When the Department of Transportation made their data public, anyone could create a transit app. Now you know exactly how many minutes it’ll take for your bus to arrive.

Tony wants to enable developers to create the next killer app. He’s looking for input from the developer community (and the public) on which government data should go public next.

Here’s how to help:

Which data from the state would you like to see made public?

What kinds of interesting applications and insights can be created using this new data?

Tweet your answers to @MassInnov8 or comment below.

A good book to read on this topic is Citizenville: How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government by Gavin Newsom and Lisa Dickey. They point out two examples of government data that transitioned from obscurity into usefulness.

“When local web designers wanted to prevent muggings in Chicago and Oakland, they created innovative crime-mapping tools using public police data.

When a town in Texas needed to drum up civic engagement, officials invented a local digital ‘currency’ to reward citizens for participating in government—making small-town politics suddenly as fun and addictive as online games such as Farmville.”


Further reading: The Government Innovation Officer’s 10 A’s; innovation themes to include in all activities and projects.


Photo courtesy of the Mass Innovation blog.