Heading to Washington DC to Talk APIs with Innovation Fellows

I was honored this month to receive an invitation from Todd Park (@todd_park), the U.S. Chief Technology Officer, on behalf of the Presidential Innovation Fellows Program, to come out to Washington DC and spend an afternoon coaching and working with some of the Presidential Innovation Fellows on the Open Data Initiatives project.

The Presidential Innovation Fellows program brings together top innovators from the private sector, nonprofits, and academia with top innovators in government to collaborate on solutions that aim to deliver significant results in six months, while being supported by a broader community of interested citizens throughout the country.

The objective of the OpenData Initiatives are centered around:

Stimulating a rising tide of innovation and entrepreneurship that utilizes government data to create tools that help Americans in numerous ways

Working with the Innovation Fellows is just one areas I’m working to change the way our government works using APIs. I strongly feel that opening up our government, and evolving how it operates using web APIs is fundamental in bringing democracy into the 21st century.

While speaking with the Innovation Fellows I will cover the usual material I have published here on API Evangelist:

  • History of APIs - Brief overview of the modern web API movement
  • API Building Blocks - The essential building blocks to a successful API
  • API Service Providers - Roundup of the service providers who can help deploy APIs
  • API Tools - Pull together list of tools that can be used to design, deploy and manage APIs
  • Industries - Some of the top industries putting APIs to use
  • Hackathons - How hackathons are being used to drive innovation

My intentions are to help share everything I know with the fellows to make sure they are well equipped to execute as part of the OpenData Initiatives. APIs will be the underlying technology that stimulates innovation and the interface that allows Americans to develop tools that utilizes government data.

APIs won’t just be the underlying technology that drives this, the philosophies and methodologies that have fueled the current web API movement will be essential in changing culture in washington. APIs have the potential to allow federal agencies to take inventory of the rich data and content they posses, and open up government, making their day to day operations much more public, and a truly participatory process.

This process won’t be giving the folks who run our government another thing to learn or do, it will allow them share much of heavy lifting associated with day to day operations with the public, corporations and nonprofits--leaving them much more nimble to accomplish their core mission. APIs aren’t just about technology change, they are about cultural change, and have the potential to be the change we want to see in washington.

As I prepare my thoughts to go out to DC I wanted to put it out to my readers and see what you feel I should share with the Innovation Fellows about the API space. What do they need to know to make their six month iniatives as impactful as possible? How can I best distill down everything we’ve learned in the public space about openness, transparency and developer ecosystems, so they get the true essence of this movement?

Please share your thoughts below, tweet them @kinlane or email me directly at [email protected]