Instead of butting heads, citizens and government can start mixing minds


MindMixer is working with the San Francisco, Los Angeles and other local communities to help crowdsource ideas for civic improvement. CEO and Co-Founder Nick Bowden discusses his venture and the value of government-citizen collaboration.

Give us the 140-character elevator pitch.

A simple web and mobile platform that generates a broader audience and creates effective and measurable citizen participation.

What problem does MindMixer solve for government?

Cities struggle to engage a cross section of the community on a variety of topics at a reasonable cost. MindMixer solves that problem by providing a robust engagement platform that allows citizens to participate on topics where they have an interest.

What’s the story behind starting MindMixer?

MindMixer launched in March of 2011 as an answer to the long-standing problem of decreasing citizen involvement in local decision-making. Nick Bowden and Nathan Preheim founded the company as former urban planners frustrated with consistently low turnout at public meetings.

What are its key features?

MindMixer believes strongly that idea submission is only one aspect of the participation process. In addition to basic crowdsourcing functionality, MindMixer also offers prioritization tools, interactive budgeting tools, map-based inputs, and online surveys. Additionally, MindMixer employs a unique community-based reward system. Participants earn points for quality participation and can in turn “cash” those points in for civic rewards.

What are the costs, pricing plans?

MindMixer offers a range of affordable pricing options from $3,000 – $25,000 for a 12 month period. Pricing is largely dependent on the size of the municipality.

How can those interested connect with you?

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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