Open data – The roadmap for success in Houston, Texas
“Open data will encourage civic involvement and increase the pace of innovation in the city.” These are the words of Mayor Parker, who strongly believes that a more transparent approach towards reporting public performance will support Houston’s development.
The Performance Improvement Portal is a hub where the city’s performance data is made available for the citizens. Quarterly Performance Management reports, interactive dashboards, civic innovation initiatives and the open data portal can all be accessed from here.
The table above is part of the city’s quarterly reporting and it shows for each KPI the target, its current result, the status and the trend. Each department of the local administration is in charge of several metrics, whose performance will be regularly monitored to track progress. The focus will remain on the areas that need improvement, which will be addressed through Performance Improvement Engagements (PIEs).
Moreover, the hub is intended to create an environment where citizens interested in improving performance monitoring can create useful applications for the community. This initiative is seen as an innovative approach towards an effective business-to-government (B2G) management. Until now, this sector has been run by big IT players, including Microsoft and IBM. However, Houston city believes that the civic tech can become a part of the technology market: “we could pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for big software solutions, but a homegrown developer or entrepreneur could show us a custom solution that oftentimes will work better and be more user-friendly”, Jesse Bounds, the acting deputy of Houston’s Performance Improvement Division.
- The City of Houston (2014), Performance Improvement Portal
- Ryan, M. (2014), City’s open data initiative aims to spark new B2G tech sector
- McCann, B. (2014), Houston, TX uses open data for biz to gov initiative