February 27, 2013 By Noelle Knell
On the leading edge of the growing government innovation officer movement, Ted Smith was hired to fill that role in Louisville in July 2011. Then in January 2012, Mayor Greg Fischer established a Department of Economic Growth and Innovation, naming Smith as its director. With academic credentials in neuroscience, successful online health ventures and a track record of public-private partnerships, he works to ensure that innovation in Louisville also contributes to the local economy.
Partnering with Wisconsin-based Asthmapolis, Smith leads an effort in Louisville to provide asthma sufferers with sensors that track when and where patients access their medication. The goal? To ease the suffering of patients, reduce costs from emergency treatment by encouraging better control of the disease and gather information to layer atop other data sets to inform remediation options.
“There’s a big difference between governments that tinker and governments that are truly evolving, and I’d like to believe we’re in the latter category,” Smith said.
Look for more from Louisville on a digital urban planning effort that seeks to marry physical urban planning with virtual urban planning. According to Smith, officials should focus more attention on the digital presence of their physical assets. “Imagine you were blind other than what you could see through your smartphone. How much of my city could you see?” Smith asked. At this point, his answer is “not enough.”
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.