My Two Moonshots towards Open Government

Over the last few weeks I’ve been distracted by the news of recent layoffs at LexisNexis, namely because I was one of those whose role was eliminated in the reorganization. While this might come as a terrifying shock to many of us caught up in the sluggish economy, I took the opportunity to make a leap of faith, or as Google defines it, a moonshot in the direction of open government.

This blog is a testament to my commitment to create a more open and inclusive government, starting at the local level. The idea came from an organization called Code for America (CfA) who has been creating fellowships for coders to solve government issues by working with the Government and communities they serve. Just recently they opened their fellowships to designers and I was one of the few User Experience Designers out of the 400+ who applied. While I doubt that they could place me within the City of Springboro, I do hope for an opportunity within Cincinnati or Dayton to discover how to connect a metropolis to its surrounding suburbs.

My second moonshot takes a much wider view of the Federal Government while continuing to focus on the local level. I applied for the Creative Director of the Open Government Foundation (OGF) in order to design their enterprise experience. I’ve had the opportunity to speak with a number of people associated with OGF in creating the Springboro Code and its open law repositories. To take the next step and become a member of their team would fulfill too many life goals to count, but would require a substantial move into Washington D.C. which I am fully prepared to make should my moonshot hit its mark.

If you’re not familiar with Google’s concept of a moonshot then allow me to explain. A moonshot is a big idea that can change the world as we know it. While the course of my career has taken me through the evolution of experience design, I rarely get the chance to change the world, which has been my driving passion ever since high school when I led the T-Shirt Rebellion at Vandalia Butler. That was many moons ago and has long been forgotten, but I’ve carried with me the seeds of change and have sought to sow them ever since.

Should I be so fortunate as to make either moonshot, I will continue to keep Springboro in my sights as I work to connect us to our local government. I have seen the great disconnect between our representatives and their constituents, and more importantly I have designed systems which connect business to their customers, and see a wealth of opportunities over the horizon of the Information Age. Change is coming to Washington whether I’m accepted or not, but it sure would be nice to get paid for your calling in life!

As for LexisNexis, I truly am sorry for their loss. But I am equally thankful for both the opportunity to explore the relationship between customers and businesses, as well as imparting a deep respect for the rule of law. I can only hope to have made as big an impact on your organization as you did on my career path to the moon.

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