Chief Data Officer, City of Philadelphia
Bright Lights, Big City Data
The way that governments view the vast stores of data they collect and maintain is changing. Through open data and transparency programs, governments are opening up their data sets to outside developers, civic activists, academics and journalists – creating new opportunities for application development, research and policy analysis.
This collaboration with outside data consumers is creating unique and unexpected uses of government data, allowing for an unprecedented view into how governments are performing and creating new ways of analyzing social policies.
This “open data movement” is also changing the way that government’s themselves think about their data. It is helping to break down the traditionally siloed and parochial view among government departments about how data is used. Government managers are now looking across the enterprise (and across governments) for opportunities to collaborate with each other, and are starting to think strategically about their data and how it is used to inform policy decisions.
In the next several years, the pace at which governments open their data will accelerate and government managers will come to view the role of “data steward” as one of the most critical functions of public sector entities.
Mark Headd is a writer, speaker, teacher and thought leader on communication technologies and open government. Self taught in programming, he has been developing telephone, mobile, speech recognition and messaging applications for almost 10 years. In August, 2012, the Nutter Administration selected Mark to become the city’s first Chief Data Officer, to lead Mayor Nutter’s open data and government transparency initiatives. Mark previously worked as Director of Government Relations at Code for America, culminating a period of almost 2 years of collaboration with the organization on open government and civic hacking projects in across the country and in Philadelphia.
Mark has worked for technology companies from the Delaware Valley to Silicon Valley. He previously served in government, working for three years as the chief policy and budget advisor for the State of Delaware’s Department of Technology and Information. He has also served as Director of the Delaware Government Information Center, as Technology Adviser to former Delaware Governor Thomas R. Carper, and in the New York State Senate as a budget and finance analyst. For the last several years, Mark has been active in the OpenAccessPhilly initiative which is focused on encouraging citizen engagement, digital inclusion and technology-driven innovation in Philadelphia. He has been active in the support and promotion of the OpenDataPhilly.org data portal, and helped in organizing the recent OpenData Race.
Mark has built open government software applications for the District of Columbia, the Sunlight Foundation, the New York State Senate, and the cities of New York, San Francisco, Toronto, Baltimore and Philadelphia. He is an organizer and participant in civic hacking events across the country, including Philadelphia and Baltimore. He holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, and is a former adjunct instructor at the University of Delaware teaching a course in electronic government.