San Francisco's Plan: Open Government, Open Data, Open Doors to New Business and Better Services

Sarah Lai Stirland | Tech President | January 24, 2012

Headd has been urging local governments to think of open data as an economic development tool for some time. In particular, he has argued in the past that financially strapped states could leverage the data in lieu of loans and grants to stimulate the creation and growth of small businesses.

Hoping to spur the creation of new businesses, cities like New York have been hosting contests with prize money for people making use of government data NYC Media Lab, a collaboration between the city and local universities to connect tech-sector business with relevant research, and have given grant money to General Assembly, a coworking space and incubator for startups.

But San Francisco's approach may be the most hands-on of any city to date, and focuses specifically on what startups could do to solve problems that government has, or maybe that citizens have because of government. That's new...