This arises from a talk with people at the SF Department of Technology, really serious about using tech to help people out. The "we" that I refer to includes SF city workers and volunteers.
We see that people are building apps for local gov't, stuff that matters, mundane but important.
Also, local gov't now provides a lot of data via datasf.org, much like what's being done in Washington.
We're seeing (what I think of as) private/public partnerships get more stuff done, like Routesy. Routesy makes it really easy to figure out the next Muni bus or train. It figures out the closest stop via GPS, and then connect to the Net for the next arrival. (True Craig story: for me, N Judah, 6 Parnassus, or 43 Masonic.)
The deal is that we need a little nucleus of innovation and recognition of the work that my fellow nerds have done, or might do.
I like a focus on small apps that get useful stuff done, everyday stuff, and maybe a contest, maybe a hackathon, might accelerate development.
More to come, we're still only at the beginning. For more, check out the links above, and maybe also Sunlight Foundation, which does a lot of the heavy lifting.