The Cloud Episode 7: Open Gov Portal, Being a Chief Data Officer, and Re-imagining Our Cities

In this episode we interviewed Abhi Nemani, a technologist, currently serving as the first Chief Data Officer for the City of Los Angeles with Mayor Garcetti, where he leads the charge to build an open and data-driven LA.


Abhi Nemani, Chief Data Officer for the City of LA

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He graduated magna cum laude from Claremont McKenna College with a honors degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE), and studied political philosophy and rhetoric at the University of Oxford.

He helped build, launch, and run the national non-profit, Code for America, a technology organization dedicated to reinventing government for the 21st century.

He also led the organization’s efforts to scale through building multiple new programs: a first-of-its-kind civic startup accelerator, an international volunteer corps, and a collaborative network for hundreds of government innovators.

Additionally, Abhi developed the organization’s policy portfolio — working hand-in-hand with area experts and local leaders — to enact over 30 municipal policy reforms on topics including open data, healthcare, and procurement.

After listening to today’s episode you will learn:

  • Abhi’s background which ranges from non-profits, private sector and now government
  • How Abhi got involved in Code for America and what they do
  • How we’re seeing in tide shift in the way government’s approach technology
  • The US Digital Service and how it is pulling people from Twitter, Facebook and Google to build a better government
  • About how 365 people applied for 20 spots in Code for America’s first year
  • Cities across the country are deeply involved in using data and technology to work better
  • The role of MSPs in this new direction in governments across the country
  • Whether the government should build in-house or outsource
  • Security concerns of new technology and how to best deal with the risks
  • How FedRamp and CJIS provide a framework for government to deal with technology vendors
  • Why procurement is a top challenge for governments to get the solutions they need
  • How a lack of awareness prevents more governments from participating in these initiatives
  • Where these initiatives came from and who is ultimately in charge of them
  • About the Open Data Portal and how the government wants people to build apps from this data
  • How various agencies like EMS, Fire and Police are utilizing data to increase response time and other functions
  • Civic engagement being promoted including hackathons and other pro-community engagements
  • The challenges government administrations face launching initiatives with short timetables
  • What Abhi would change if he could wave a magic wand
  • The unique paradox of Open Government creating disrupting technologies and applications
  • How there are only a handful of Chief Data Officers nationally

Further Reading and Resources

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