manor.govfresh: Big ideas for small-town America

Update: Save the Date: Sept. 20-21, 2010

When GovFresh first started, I got an email from Dustin Haisler, CIO of Manor, TX, who shared with me all the work they were doing there. At that point in time, I was new to ‘Gov 2.0’ and what could be considered ‘government innovation.’ I was skeptical. I never really thought government could innovate itself out of a paper bag. To think a small-town in Texas could do it was completely laughable.

Was this guy for real?

We talked a few days later and now communicate regularly, sometimes daily, about what they’re working on, new ideas and what’s happening in open government as a whole. Dustin has even chronicled some of Manor’s work here on GovFresh. As someone who’s worked in and with several start-up companies, I’m intrigued by Manor’s efficiency and all they’ve done with such a small IT budget.

Today, Manor is a ‘Field of Dreams’ Gov 2.0 story. When it comes to innovation, Manor has built it from the ground up, and governments from near and far have come to learn more. Manor has been featured on the White House Blog, Wall Street Journal and Austin Statesmen, to name just a few.

For a while now, people have asked me when GovFresh would do a Gov 2.0 event. When I mentioned the idea to Dustin, he half-jokingly said, “Do it in Manor.”

I half-heartedly laughed and replied, “Let’s do it.”

So, we’re doing it. We’re just getting started, but wanted to reach out to the community and any of you interested in participating (see form below).

From Dustin:

“Manor wants to help re-define what it means to have a conference. Conferences are traditionally centered around knowledge transfer, and we want to transfer immediate, tangible value to other communities like ours. We want to show other local governments that Manor is not a unique, one-time experiment. Everything we’ve done in the last three years can be replicated cost-effectively and applied within the context of their agency or community.”

Stay tuned.

Yes, send me manor.govfresh updates!

Luke Fretwell is the founder of the civic innovation and technology blog GovFresh. He advises civic leaders and businesses on how to best leverage digital strategies to create more effective, collaborative governments. He has written about government IT for Federal Computer Week, NextGov, FedScoop, StateScoop and FierceGovernment, and has been referenced by the Washington Post and Fast Company on civic technology issues. He has worked with a number of government-focused companies and media, including CivicActions, NuCivic and FedScoop and has been involved in broad-focused community efforts, such as GovPress, CityCamp, CivicMeet, Agile Government Leadership and Open Source for America. Connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.


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