Getting serious about Citistat

Getting serious about Citistat


(posted after reflection for a few days)

Christmas Day. A light workload. Too much time to think, particularly
about this mayoral transition and citistat thing. Better write it down,
don't worry about it being pretty.

As I get it, this citistat thing is mostly internal discipline and serious
governmental transparency. City department managers figure out what to
measure so we all can see how well departments get the job done, then
report that for all to see.

Citizens get a way to report problems, to track them as they get resolved.
We see what happens as the problem is passed to the right people, and what
they do to get it done.

Stuff gets done, and we see how.

Everyone gets a place at the table.

City workers get respect for getting things done, and better. For me, a
feeling of effectiveness and respect is a big, really big, thing.

This gotta be scary for city department managers, since so much will be
exposed. They need to turn over some policy and decision making to line
workers, since they often know better than management how to do stuff.
We need to give managers a break, maybe a year to get it together.

The tech is a small part of this, the attitude and cultural change is
really the hard part.

What am I doing here? No time for this now, but might have time after a
new hire at craigslist. What commitment do I have after contributing to
the report for January fifth?

I know I don't have the patience to slog through bureaucracy; I gotta play
to my strengths, find something doable with big results. Maybe that means
starting with a problem tracking system. You report a problem, and get a
way to track it through the system to solution. Scary stuff, though, for
folks used to moving slow.

Ten years ago, Clinton and Gore talked about reinventing government, but
from the top down, and top down stuff without grassroots support doesn't
work. Get it going from the grassroots, add transparency, that might do

What's next? Don't know, gotta build from here.