Hitting the Ground Running at the OpenGov Hub

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

By Christina Crawley

Perhaps as an April Fool's joke in itself, we actually moved in on schedule to our new digs at 1110 Vermont Avenue on April 1st. OpenGov Hub tenants ("Hubbers" as we call ourselves) both old and new wandered in as early as 7.30am to see where their new workstations would be.

Armed with a 1GB fiber network, 138 workstations, 24 meeting rooms, and a dedicated 2,000 square-foot event space, we've been excited to test out all that the new space has to offer and are busy crafting new creative ways to use the OpenGov Hub.

If you're in the neighborhood and you'd like a tour, let us know either by sending an email to info@opengovhub.org or letting us know on Twitter (@opengovhub). If you're interested in renting the OpenGov Hub's events space for an upcoming event, let us know as well.

And with 28 OpenGov Hub tenants, there are many, many interesting people and groups to meet. When you enter our space, you'll quickly find who to track down on the OpenGov Hub tenant map (see below). 

As the logistical side wraps itself up, we will be ramping up our programming of Brown-Bag Lunches (BBLs), Happy Hours, trainings, etc., so stay tuned by signing up on our mailing list.

Looking forward to having you over soon!

MORE PHOTOS HERE!

Reflecting on Twenty Months of the OpenGov Hub

Monday, March 31st, 2014

By Nathaniel Heller

Anyone foolish enough to follow me on Twitter knows this has been a crazy few weeks breaking down and moving the inaugural OpenGov Hub from its founding location behind the World Bank to a new, 50% larger, custom-built location just north of McPherson Square in downtown Washington, DC. It’s been an incredible team effort, something we’ll celebrate more formally once we’re settled into the new space. Our amazing hub manager, Christina Crawley, deserves mountains of credit for keeping the hundreds of trains running on time. We’re scheduled to open the doors to all 140 (!) tenants on Tuesday April 1.

If there were ever a natural time to do a bit of navel gazing and reflect on the successes and challenges of the OpenGov Hub concept, this would be it. To whit, some random thoughts on where we’ve been and where we might be headed as a community.

Being together is awfully fun and fulfilling. We all like technology (I think). But it turns out that working physically alongside other smart people that care about similar issues is a huge plus when it comes to one’s professional quality of life. Skype, video conferencing, and email fall vastly short of replicating that effect. I’m also happy that so far the hub has reflected Global Integrity’s own internal “no jerks” policy when it comes to who we (as the hub) invite to work alongside us in the community. 

The infrastructure wins and cost savings are real. I am fairly certain that virtually every tenant organization working in the hub is paying less rent than before and gaining access to vastly superior infrastructure (events space, conference rooms, high-end video conferencing technology) than they could have ever afforded on their own. Even though it seems to be in vogue to be down on co-working spaces, the economics are irrefutable: it just works better than a traditional one-org, one-office formula. 

The programmatic linkages are emerging…organically. I’ve been very public since the beginning of the hub experiment that I didn’t want to force “synergies” on the community unless there was genuine interest between tenant groups in lashing up and working together on something. So far, the birth of Feedback Labs from the hub is a good example of an experiment born out of genuine interest and need, not a top-down mandate to “work together, dammit!”  But arguably more important have been the soft connections made between groups and individuals working in the hub that create the space for asking for help in reviewing website wireframes, ideas for sourcing candidates for new positions, or recommendations for vendors and service providers. That “soft tissue” effect is extremely real and extremely valuable, it turns out. 

The next frontier: common resources. One under-explored area thus far in the OpenGov Hub experiment has been the idea of sharing common resources, particularly human capital. Could small groups band together to pay for and benefit from a common professional communications team, accountants, fundraisers, software developers, or HR specialists? This can get tricky, but there’s some emerging interest in trying this out, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw something along these lines emerging within the hub this year.

Keep an eye on the hub blog and Twitter for details of an official celebration in the coming months, and in the meantime don’t hesitate to swing by to check out our new digs!

Our last BBLs at 1889 F Street

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That's right. Time is flying and our move to 1110 Vermont Ave is soon upon us. If you'd like to come by our current space for some great last Brown-Bag Lunch (BBL) sessions, and to see the space in all its glory one last time, be sure to register today.

Is Your Software Ready for Government Use? Wednesday, March 12th, 12.30-2.00pm

REGISTER

Greg Elin and Rodney Cobb, Knight News Challenge 2013 winners and co-founders of GitMachines, will come by the OpenGov Hub to present GovReady, an open source toolkit to prepare software and civic IT projects for security accreditation and approved government use. GovReady scans your project and helps you produce the FISMA-related documentation IT Administrators need (think "bootstrap" for compliance). Greg and Rodney will show you how a GovReady virtual machine can make it easier for your government users to evaluate your technology.

Helping Marginalized Communities Use Data for Advocacy. Thursday, March 13th, 12.30-2.00pm

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Are there good examples of advocates in marginalized communities who have harnessed the power of data? What are effective ways for such communities to access and/or collect data? Should it come from governments or should the community crowdsource the data itself? Dirk Slater, the founder of Fabriders, will address these questions during a special Brown-Bag Lunch (BBL) session at the OpenGov Hub. While Dirk will review a couple of example from his own work, the session also aims to hear from you about how your own capacity-building efforts have gone for you, and what you’ve found to be effective (or not).

Our friends at Accountability Lab and ONE are hijacking the Oscars

The upcoming Academy Awards is a time to celebrate the best films, actors and behind-the-scenes players in Hollywood – so why not do the same for the incredible videos, infographics and songs that help fight global corruption through creativity and innovation?

ONE and Accountability Lab are teaming up for the Honesty Oscars 2014, a week-long event to honor groundbreaking organizations, activists and creatives who make our world more transparent and hold our governments and corporations more accountable. Basically, they’re hijacking the Oscars. 

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From February 24 to 28, Accountability Lab will reveal their top nominees for a category (just like the Academy Awards, we’ll have “Best Picture”, “Best Visual Effects” and more) each day - and readers will get the chance to vote for their favorite. Winners will be announced on March 2, in step with the 2014 Academy Award announcements.

The nominees will be announced in a blog each day here: http://www.one.org/us/stories/transparency/. Here is the voting schedule:

Monday, February 24: Visual Effects – Voting is live now! 
Tuesday, February 25: Activist in a Leading Role
Wednesday, February 26: Best Original Song
Thursday, February 27: Best Director
Friday, February 28: Best Picture

You have until March 2, at 6:00pm ET to vote, and keep an eye on Twitter (@ONECampaign) on Oscar night to find out who wins! All the winners will be announced formally on Monday, March 3. 

Executive Director Blair Glencorse of Accountability Lab, “chair” of the Honesty Oscars, knows a thing or two about creativity. His organization encourages African citizens to use self-expression through film, music and more to show the community why transparency rules. Join him as he unfolds his favorite corruption-fighting creative on ONE.org the week of February 24.

Check here on Monday to vote for the first category!

Open Data Lightning Talks - Tuesday, February 25th

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Tuesday, February 25th, (6.00-7.30pm)

REGISTER

On the heels of this weekend's Open Data Day, the Open Knowledge Foundation (OKFN) would like to invite you to the OpenGov Hub for a special series of lightning talks on open data.

Speakers will include:  

The evening will also include drinks and snacks for you to enjoy during the talks and discussions, courtesy of our friends at the Partnership for Open Data.

Register today - and we look forward to seeing you on Tuesday, the 25th!