This is John. Those of you at CityCamp London in October will remember him. You know, the bloke from IBM who spoke with such breakneck enthusiasm he wore out our two signers and forced them into creative contortions as he made up words which they more than matched with improvised hand gestures.
For those of you unable to make the Camp, it went a little like this…
John has a lot to be enthusiastic about. He’s been locked away in his mad (computer) scientist’s lab for months with his team putting together the now live City Forward.
Putting itself right at the heart of the emerging (and exciting) open cities movement, City Forward is a free to use web tool that allows you (whoever you are – a politician, a government policy wonk or a savvy citizen) to interrogate city level data to support public dialogue and local democracy, something we certainly spotted a need for at the recent Local by Social event among others.
A philanthropic donation of services and technology from IBM, the offer doesn’t stop there. City Forward is launched alongside the 3 year $50m Smarter Cities Challenge, a competitive grant programme that will help 100 cities across the globe to get smarter with how they use they systems and data to make sense of their cities and the challenges they face.
So congrats to John and his team, keep up the good work (and generosity!).
And to all you city leaders out there, keep taking your City Forward. Oh and I’d get applying to the Smarter Cities Challenge while you’re at it if I were you!