Chapter 8. Building on Success

A civic apps competition is a terrific way to get people excited about open government data, but a single event—no matter how amazing—isn’t enough to sustain lasting interest.

In this chapter, we’re going to cover different tactics to keep the energy going. Although Apps for Metro Chicago ended last year, we are still active in Chicago’s OGD community and have our eye on efforts to keep A4MC’s energy going. We share the best ones here.

We’ve divided them into three groups: engaging in conversations, participating in events and continuing to build apps. To keep it interesting, we’re including ideas from people who are currently running successful and interesting events.

Engaging in Conversation

Participants poured a lot of energy into your competition and they want to know that you appreciate them. The best way to do that is to continue to engage them in conversations about open government data in your community. Face-to-face conversations are a good start, but there are three good options for scaling those conversations up: blogging, Twitter and email lists.


The key benefit of blogging is that it’s informal. You can write in your own voice and focus on the ideas that you think are the most interesting. The best blogs make readers feel like they’re hearing the author expound on ideas over a couple of drinks at the local pub. Some of our favorite blogs are:

Get Civic Apps Competition Handbook now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.