2014 Schedule
Interactive: March 7–11  •  Film: March 7–15  •  Music: March 11–16

Think Small About Big Civic Engagement Data

#sxsw #smalldata

Research shows that engaging citizens – collaborating with them on common interest topics, issues and problems – builds the strongest communities, fortified against the larger challenges of the country. As a result, many community leaders have adopted open systems that bring in feedback directly from citizens. However, these institutions are finding that the resulting big civic engagement data isn’t always immediately actionable. In our instant gratification world, that doesn’t cut it; people expect to see relevant, informed action result from their efforts or they’ll tune out. To create a truly engaged community, governments need to think small about their big civic engagement data. By leveraging tools like GIS software, spatial analytics and mapping visualization products, leaders can hyperlocalize feedback into actionable insights that facilitate meaningful change, effectively bridging the gap between an open government and community activation.



Nick Bowden



Nick Bowden has challenged the community engagement status quo since he was 12. In eighth grade, he was selected to participate in a competition to design a "city of the future.” He found himself observing how strange and uninformed it was to be determining where and how people of the future would live, without asking people today what they thought. Once in college, Nick learned that there was actually a profession around creating a mesh between people in physical places – urban planning. After graduating, Nick spent many years working as an urban planner, during which he worked for a major consultancy whereby he learned firsthand how broken the community engagement process was, and set out to fix it. In 2009, Nick launched his own firm and served as CEO until it was acquired in 2011, giving him the time and resources to build MindMixer. In just three years, Nick has taken MindMixer through its Series B funding, growing the company to serve its 400+ clients.

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