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Hackathon Experiences Across the Spectrum

BY Niki Virani

The City of Houston hosted its third annual citywide Hackathon at the Houston Technology Center last weekend. More than 400 civic-minded technology professionals, students and hobbyists completed 29 projects over the course of the 24-hour event, making this one of the largest and most successful city-sponsored Hackathons in history.There was not only a variety of projects but also people that attended the hackathon so we thought it would be interesting to put all their experiences in a blog post.

Co-Organizer Perspective

Filed Under
Houston Hackathon, open data, civic innovation

Departments
Citywide

Lean Six Sigma Accredited Deployment Program

BY Myja Lark

Since its inception in 2013, the City of Houston’s Lean Six Sigma program has gained a lot of momentum. To date, we've trained over 1,300 employees at the yellow belt level and 100 green belts. These employees have gone on to create efficiency citywide by streamlining processes, decreasing waste and creating internal efficiency that have led to cost savings in some of our biggest departments.

Filed Under
LSS, Lean Six Sigma, IASSC, ADP

Departments

PWE-HPC - Records Management Improvement Project

BY Frank Bracco

Project Summary: PWE's Records Management division reorganized its group structure to optimize use of personnel and equipment while simultaneously reducing overtime by an average of $67,200 annually. Additionally, the team eliminated all non-compliant TPIA requests by ensuring that all requests were addressed in a timely fashion.

Filed Under
LSS, Lean Six Sigma, green belt, PWE, public works, HPC, houston permitting center, overtime, records management

Departments
Public Works & Engineering

HHS - Consumer Inspections

BY Frank Bracco

Project Summary: HHS’ Consumer Health Division increased food inspections by 36% while simultaneously decreasing overtime by $155,000 annually.

Lean Six Sigma (LSS) is a customer centric way of thinking and problem solving that seeks to continually identify and eliminate waste.

Filed Under
HHS, Health, food, inspections, overtime, LSS, Lean Six Sigma, Health and Human Services, capacity

Departments
Health and Human Services

Houston Hackathon Idea Series: Crisis Mapping

BY Niki Virani

Crisis mapping has really gained momentum in the last five years as a tool to help people find, use, and share important information when residents need it most. Crisis-mapping uses data from e-mail, text messages, and social media to plot events on an interactive map in real time. It is clear to see the usefulness of this kind of technology. The Office of Emergency Management is asking for help with a regional crisis map. Managing the different resources used during a crisis for a city as big as Houston has its challenges, let alone the entire region.

Filed Under
Emergency management, open data, crisis map

Departments
Citywide

Early Payment Discounts Save City Money on Procurements

BY Frank Bracco

The City of Houston procures goods and services from thousands of vendors each year. State law requires the City to pay invoices for these goods and services within 30 days of receipt of goods/services or receipt of invoice, whichever is later. This model of purchasing on account or credit is common in government and larger private sector companies. The City's tradition of paying net 30 (paying within 30 days) provides a balance of allowing the City ample time to verify and process the invoice while also ensuring the vendor receives payment within a reasonable amount of time.

Filed Under
early payment discounts, savings, SPD, procurement, Finance Department, Viz

Departments
Citywide, Finance Department

Houston Hackathon Idea Series: Restaurant inspection data

BY Niki Virani

As the City of Houston prepares for the 3rd Annual Houston Hackathon, we will be highlighting a variety of potential projects that you can work on. This week we are highlighting a project around restaurant inspections.

Filed Under
public health, open data, Houston Hackathon

Departments
Health and Human Services

Houston Hackathon Project Winner Debuts: Nuisance Tracker

BY Paul Fagin

The winning project of the 2nd Annual Houston Hackathon will make its debut on the City’s webpage this week. Nuisance Tracker is a map that allows all citizens to view open code enforcement violations—such as, graffiti, weeded lots, junk motor vehicles, and many more—throughout the City of Houston. The map is searchable by: specific addresses, 311 Service Requests, HCAD properties, Council Districts, or by simply zooming into violations as you normally would on a Google map.

Filed Under
Houston Hackathon, open data, Department of Neighborhoods, nuisance on property, code enforcement, maps

Departments
Citywide, Department of Neighborhoods

Community through Public Art

BY Niki Virani

If you’re anything like me you believe public art is a means of developing community and habitat; a practice where art not only beautifies but creates a space for community members to develop and connect. This was the belief that I brought when I moved to Houston about a year ago and I was not disappointed. Driving around town and flying through IAH and HOU I saw a lot of art on display, however, it made me think. How many pieces of public art are on display? Where are they displayed? There’s a map for that!

Filed Under
public art, open data

Departments
Citywide

Flipping the Switch: Shutting Off Low Use Wireless Devices

BY Paul Fagin

Every year the City issues hundreds of wireless devices—both cellular phones and hotspots—to employees in positions that require travel or have job responsibilities that necessitate being on call for extended periods of time. Departments have the responsibility to monitor device usage and invoicing. Until recently, however, there was no citywide guidance on what level of usage was acceptable. This condition prompted the City to analyze data for wireless devices. The biggest take-away was 30% of the City’s wireless phones, or 2,471 phones, made less than 3 calls (a month).

Filed Under
Executive Insight, wireless, savings, HITS, Finance, cell phones, hot spots

Departments
Citywide

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