You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

The Europe Roundup: Apps4Germany

BY Antonella Napolitano | Monday, July 18 2011

  • Germany | Apps4Germany
    Open Data in Germany takes a further step with the launch of a national competition called "Apps für Deutschland" (Apps for Germany).
    Apps4De is set to "open up the public sector", as explained by Daniel Dietrich, coordinator of the working group Open Government Data and chairman of the German Chapter of the OKFN:

    Apps für Deutschland will be organised by 3 non-for profit organisations: The German Chapter of the Open Knowledge Foundation, the Open Data Network and the Government2.0 Network. It will be organised under the auspices of the Ministry of the Interior and supported by BITKOM and its members from the private sector.

    In this regard Apps4De is a perfect example of “Government as a platform” – a joint effort, a collaboration between Government, Civil Society and the Private Sector. Unlike most “App4…” Competitions, Apps4De will not start with a fully developed open data catalogue, but with a small selection of open government data; “opening up Public Sector Information” (PSI) is one of the goals of the competition itself. The idea is to encourage public authorities to take part in the competition by opening up interesting datasets, that have not been open before.

    The competition will officially be launched on November 8th. Winners of the competition will be awarded in March 2012.
    The hashtag for the event is #apps4de.

  • UK | Local apps for local problems...
    Lewisham Council (South London) have recently launched an app called “Love Clean Streets” that makes easier to report graffiti and rubbish on the street to the local authority.
    The graffiti cleaners then take pictures when they are done and email them back to the person who reported the proble.
    Here's the story from BBC:

    According to Lewisham Council, the app has reduced graffiti by 73% and sped up the response time from two days and a half to half a day.

  • UK | ...but what about your local councillor?
    Local apps and initiatives are flourishing; sometimes it may feel like they are even a substitute for local government.
    Are they, really? Ipsos Mori research states that almost 40% of electors can name their MP but, when asked for their local councillor's name, only 6% get it right.
    On the Guardian, councillor Keith Mitchell suggest three ways to break the anonimity barrier and raise the profiles of local representatives:

    Firstly, councillors are traditionally seen as Mr or Mrs 'Fixit', advising on a planning application, helping parents to secure a preferred school place for their child, getting a pothole fixed or sorting out a neighbour dispute. Secondly, those councillors with good recognition factors will be good communicators. In times past they would have marshalled an army of pavement plodders to deliver a regular councillor's newsletter round their patch. Increasingly – and as fewer are willing to act as pavement plodders – councillors are turning to social media, using Twitter, Facebook or blogs to keep in touch with their constituents. Social networking will become even more important and councils must step in to help councillors who are not yet e-literate.

    The third role, newer for some, is as a social entrepreneur. Being a social entrepreneur is all about transformational leadership, in addition to an advocacy and campaigning role, it is one that enables communities to become more self-sufficient. Fundamentally, this is a role that builds capacity and skills so that communities can do things for themselves. It encourages the less articulate to have their say, it brings together diverse groups and views to support a common cause.

    From leadership to social entrepreneuship through social media: are councillors ready to jump over?