Home CommunityContributors Creating a More Transparent ATL W/ Open Data | Rohit Malhotra

Creating a More Transparent ATL W/ Open Data | Rohit Malhotra

by Kjersti Lukens

While many played outside on the 21st in the balmy January weather, Rohit Malhotra, executive director of Center for Civic Innovation, joined Georgia Tech’s ILE to speak in their IMPACT speaker series.  During his short talk Molhatra spoke about open data, discussed entrepreneurship, and explained the birth of the center for civic innovation. Here are a few highlights.

Rohit came up with a “Recipe for Pay for Performance” to reinvigorate a city. The city however, needs to be able to supply three things:

  • a struggling public entity with limited capital
  • comprehensible amount of good, usable data
  • people who can problem solve at low cost, high efficiency

One of the cities with the most potential? The place he calls home – Atlanta. Rohit noticed an incoming inequality gap between the rich and poor that is as huge as Ghana, with only 4% upward mobility (meaning that you’ll likely be in same economic situation you grew up in). Rohit forwards that even with the thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem in Atlanta – the lack of collaboration and communication creates poor structuring to solve the problems. Rohit Identified the Problems:

  • most dollars are not distributed on performance
  • NPOs/local govs are not required to record data on performance or to use that data to evaluate effectiveness
  • because of personnel and budget cuts, the efficiency and innovation of services has suffered
  • services are falling short, many are outdated and behind the times
  • many not addressing growing inequality gaps

He wanted to create a home for social entrepreneurs to gather, and had over 500 people respond. So brings us to the birth of The Center for Civic InnovationThe Center for Civic Innovation does 3 things:

  • hosts a physical space for conversations on local community issues
  • provides business development classes, mentorship, and issue specific acceleration for people with product/service ideas for things like: do you really need to start a nonprofit to accomplish what you are trying to accomplish?
  • facilitates pay-for-performance contracts between public organizations and local entrepreneurs through a program called civic labs.

Key Takeaways:

  • open data is a human challenge; not a tech one
  • open data is the engine for true innovation
  • fear of failure is the biggest barrier to innovation
  • people with ideas area city’s greatest asset

Rohit also introduced two labs: the food security challenge and the south downtown lab that is opening next week. This lab will be focused on the revitalization of Underground Atlanta. Interested in the challenge? Stay tuned to their website for more information.

Rohit is just the beginning in a line up of talks free to the public. Check out the Impact Speaker Series every Wednesday at Scheller College of Business.

[Photo Credit]

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