Monthly Archives: June 2013

All good things must come to an end …

University of WashingtonMy time is almost up at the University of Washington.  We are packing our bags and getting ready to return to Brussels in a couple of weeks.

The Fellowship has been a fantastic experience, and I have enjoyed sharing some of my adventures with you on this blog.  A big thanks to everyone who has taken an interest in my ramblings, as well as providing useful comments and feedback!  I have learned a lot and made some great new contacts – more evidence of the power of social media!

I haven’t quite decided what to do with this blog now that the Fellowship is finished.  I may continue to post occasionally if I come across interesting examples of digital media and policy-making from the EU, USA and elsewhere.  But I don’t think that I will be updating the blog as regularly as I have been over the last 6-9 months.

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The benefits of open data

Where is the money going?

recovery.gov mapAs part of its response to the economic crisis, the US federal government approved the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – a stimulus package worth $787 billion (subsequently increased to $840 billion) – in February 2009.  The Act provides financing for tax cuts and benefits, “entitlement programs” (such as unemployment benefits) and federal contracts grants and loans.

But where exactly is the money going?  Continue reading

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How can we tell better stories about the EU?

Microsoft’s Chief Storyteller

Steve ClaytonI met this week with Steve Clayton, “chief storyteller” at Microsoft.

A few years ago, Steve was working at the company’s offices in Reading.  His job involved talking with startups and small tech companies based in London.  Many of the people he met viewed Microsoft as dull and conservative.  This clashed with Steve’s sense from within the company that a lot of his colleagues were actually doing some pretty cool and innovative things.

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Participatory budgeting – “giving ordinary people real power over real money”

US cities like New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle have all experimented in recent years with initiatives designed to give local people a direct say in decisions on public spending.  These initiatives are inspired by the concept of participatory budgeting, which was originally developed in the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre.

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