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Springfield chosen for city incubator project

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Springfield is one of 10 global cities selected for an incubator project by New York University’s The GovLab.

The initiative in Springfield will focus on developing key performance indicators and open data sets across departments , according to a news release. Danny Perches, the city's development project facilitator, will represent Springfield in the incubator initiative.

Perches said the actions would "improve performance, accountability and transparency."

“The goal is to create a dynamic and interactive dashboard or data center on the city’s website . Beyond displaying numbers, it needs to tell a story of performance, transparency and dedication to all citizens,” Perches said in the release. “We absolutely want to make the most out of our participation in this free program and how it can help us deliver this information to our citizens in the best way possible.”

NYU's The GovLab provides access to a mentor council of technologists, private-sector executives and engineers to help build out data projects. Officials on board include California Chief Data Officer Joy Bonaguro and U.S. Department of Commerce technology adviser Natalie Harris Evans. The participating cities also are encouraged to mentor each other.

“It’s helping to foster a new skill set and bring a lot of the tactics, practices and ethos taught to entrepreneurs through accelerator and incubator programs and helping to foster and cultivate those in public sector intrapreneurs,” said Adrienne Schmoeker, a senior fellow with The GovLab, in the release. "Data has become this new form of invisible infrastructure that enables cities to function. I have to say, as someone who managed a few data initiatives for a city government, data isn’t always treated as infrastructure.”

The other participating cities are:
• Albuquerque, New Mexico;
• Beer Shiva, Israel;
• Changunarayan Municipality, Nepal;
• Guauaquil, Ecuador;
• Medoza City, Argentina;
• New York City;
• Syracuse, New York;
• Timisoara, Romania; and
• Winnipeg, Canada.

The incubator program’s website reads, in part: "Our city governments are the stewards of valuable data, data systems and data policies. How might we better equip our cities to solve problems with data?"

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