You might say it is a bit of an oxymoron. But Startup Weekend is introducing a new event next month in Seattle designed to bring the fast-paced world of startups to the slow-moving world of city government. Dubbed Startup Weekend GOV, the event will follow the typical 54-hour brain and coding jam associated with other Startup Weekend events held all over the world.
However, this event will be a bit different. Teams will be encouraged to tap into open data sets — including those from King County and the City of Seattle — in order to make new mobile or Web applications that make our a community a better place.
It marks the first time that Startup Weekend has brought the rapid-pace entrepreneurial concept to government organizations, following other successful niche events such as Startup Weekend EDU.
“Startup Weekend is a way for us to connect with a growing community of innovative thinkers who are interested in open government,” said King County CIO Bill Kehoe. “We are looking forward to collaborating with the City and the State to provide data to talented developers, and let them think outside the box about how we connect services to people.”
About 200 people are expected to attend the event, which will take place at Seattle City Hall from April 27 to April 29.
I am personally thrilled to see this come together. The worlds of technology and government too often live parallel existences, and bringing folks from the communities together to learn from one another could prove beneficial for all of us.
In fact, some projects have already emerged in the Seattle area from the ‘Open Government” movement, namely the popular mobile app One Bus Away.
Madrona’s Greg Gottesman is helping to organize the event, with entrepreneur Mike Koss and Seattle mayor Mike McGinn scheduled to speak. In fact, I am told that the winning team from the event will get a private lunch with the Mayor.