3rd Annual Civic & Gov Tech Showcase: Catalyst For Gov Innovation


Innovators from across the globe came together to share their work and connect with government leaders and investors on September 13th, 2017 at the Hammer Theatre in downtown San Jose, California. Innovate Your State, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public participation and government outcomes hosted the 3rd Annual Civic & Gov Tech Showcase partnering with City of San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and supported by Microsoft, Knight Foundation and Comcast.

The morning Showcase featured pitches from 16 pioneering companies and individuals improving government outcomes and governance. Pitches ranged from public private partnerships like the City/County of San Francisco’s work with Google to improve data processes for SF Environment, to Barcelona based Social Coin’s AI technology that was developed by friends to empower community acts of kindness. Alumni Showcase presenter Democracy Earth updated attendees on their blockchain based work to establish Vote Tokens (using crypto currency technology) with the goal of 100% voting participation of the public via a liquid democracy structure where votes can be empowered within a network. Storm Ventures shared a VC perspective on Gov Tech and called on investors to listen to government workers’ needs. All pitches will be posted on Innovate Your State’s YouTube page in the coming weeks (subscribe here and view 2016 presenters today).

The City of San Jose’s innovative work was highlighted throughout the day including Shireen Santosham, Chief Innovation Officer’s keynote remarks on building an inclusive community through technology. Michelle Thong from the City Manager’s office expertly facilitated the pitches highlighting relevant work in the city including Code for San Jose's Renter's Rights Guide.

Mayor Sam Liccardo surprised attendees with the announcement of Unleash Your Geek #1 winner - GRAD (Graffiti Removal by Automatic Drone) and the beginning of Unleash Your Geek 2 and Pitch San Jose. GRAD was represented by Chris Farmer and Candace Marbury who conducted a live demonstration of a drone painting over a graffiti wall.

Over 60 companies were represented throughout the course of the day, including at Showcase booths and on the afternoon panels. The Future of Transportation & Mobility Panel included industry (Lyft and Proterra) and government leaders (City of San Jose) and was moderated by ProspectSV’s Mike Harrigan. The Innovations in Civic Engagement Panel featured iCivics, Generation Citizen, Civnet and Microsoft and was moderated by The SVO’s Susan Ellenberg. Panels covered topics like autonomous vehicles, the recent Self Drive Act, civics education for the youth and adult population, and digital divide issues that prevent civic participation. Awesome Foundation San Jose announced a special grant opportunity for Civic Engagement ideas (due by Oct 31 then reviewed by trustees of Awesome Foundation San Jose). A full list of all organizations with contact information can be found in the Showcase program including CivicMakers, ProspectSV and Brigade

In addition to the program and learnings from over 60 organizations working to innovate the state of government - the connections made between attendees were key to creating a thriving ecosystem of government innovation.

2017 Showcase connections included:

  • VC investors and incubators such as Storm Ventures and Dcode42 connected with gov tech startups and shared an investor perspective with entrepreneurs.

  • Interested city leaders and community members connected with Run For Office to get more, and more diverse citizens to run for open positions in government.

  • State leaders from California Government Operations Agency (CaGovOps), the Department of Technology and the Department of Transportation working with Showcase presenters like IDEO to bring human centered design thinking to state government practices.

  • Sponsors like Microsoft and Comcast connected with relevant civic tech companies like Civnet and Josephine to discuss opportunities to partner.

Post-Showcase, organizations become alumni members of the Innovate Your State network and we work year round to provide them with opportunities to connect with investors, talent, community members, and government leaders (potential customers).

Innovate Your State is open to conversations with interested regions, both in and outside of California, who would like to bring a Civic & Gov Tech Showcase to their region to catalyze government innovation. We are looking for concrete partnerships and sponsors to inspire next year's location. We encourage interested cities and partners to email: info@innovateyourstate.org to bring the Showcase to you.

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