Increasing transparency while making government “a little more hip”

From the Colorado Springs Independent:  Government isn’t generally known for innovative ideas. But Go Code Colorado, an award-winning program run out of the Colorado Secretary of State’s Business Intelligence Center, seems like a fresh approach. In just its second year, it’s managed to achieve several goals that tend to elude government offices: increasing transparency, bringing in youthful perspectives, and helping businesses grow.

Andrew Cole, program manager for Go Code and himself just 32, says the idea was born in 2012, when then-Secretary of State Scott Gessler began releasing quarterly reports to the business community in hopes that government information would prove useful. The first report showed that new-business registrations were a leading indicator for short-term job growth. The response was swift.

“People wanted more data,” Cole says, “and we knew that a lot of things they were asking for, we didn’t have access to.”

So the Secretary of State’s Office created a contest to solve the problem: Go Code, which is funded by $1.5 million from the state and tens of thousands more from sponsors like Google. It was inspired by hackathons, in which tech geeks get together for a few days and create new software, often to solve a specific problem.

“We challenge software developers and entrepreneurs to create apps that help solve business problems using public data,” Cole says.

Visit the Colorado Springs Independent for more.

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