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unCon 2014 Session: Reverse Pitches

By: Ellen
Askey
We
looked into pain points in the private and public sectors that could be
addressed by local startups. Below, find a list of each sector’s needs.
Private
side:
  • Constant Contact seeks
    tools for visual design that can keep up with the agile development. Contact
    Ken Surdan at ksurdan@constantcontact.com
  • Agero, a roadside
    assistance company responsible for 75M vehicles, is looking to automate their
    large contact center; the replacement would follow a decision tree using
    cognitive automation. Contact Julian Bourne at jbourne@agero.com
  • Konica Minolta, which
    provides digital product solutions and services, has an innovation division
    that seeks help starting a R&D center in Boston for graphene, 3D printing,
    and life sciences. Contact Jim Daniell at jdaniell@oxfamerica.org
  • Calling tech
    start-ups to show their product at the Innovation Showcase of MIT’s CIO
    Symposium, hosted by the Sloan Alumni Association. It’s an environment with a
    lot of visibility; the evaluators select startups that would be of interest to
    CIOs and CEOs there. Those CIOs may also be interested in the state’s
    innovation projects. To apply for the showcase, visit http://www.mitcio.com/innovation.
    You may also contact Anton Teodorescu at antont@mitcio.com

Public
side:
Guiding
questions included: How does Mass become easier to do business with? How can we
look to municipal solutions and scale them for the whole state?
Bill Oates, Commonwealth
Chief Information Officer, outlined many challenges that MassIT is trying to address:
  • Volume of people
    receiving health insurance
  • A way to do faster,
    more iterative projects
  • Education team – trying
    to improve how the education sector uses technology
  • Digital engagement
    with MA citizens (a platform over which people can cooperate with the
    Commonwealth; anyone can provide tech support)
  • IT support for local
    governments – MassIT can help through municipal services team 
  • Connect state
    employees to mobile
  • Challenges in
    procurement and contracting
  • Revamp Mass.gov
  • Take advantage of
    social platforms; general digital interaction

MassIT’s
more specific needs include:
  • Online
    sign-up system, like for parks (something like Rapid Apps)
  • Platforms
    to keep track of:
    • Data
      sets (could Evernote work?)
    • Software
      inventory of the state’s assets (for example, how many copies of Microsoft
      Office do we have?). Steven Strassmann envisions a dashboard of the inventory.
      Contact him at steve.strassmann@state.ma.us
    • Licensing
      needs (i.e. hairdressing license) through the commonwealth – we need something
      more interactive. The platform could track different licensing types; users
      could fill in all applications and track their progress, all in one platform,
      avoiding the current frustration of filling out PDFs. Contact Kevin Martin at kevin.martin@state.ma.us
  • Leverage
    open data for businesses (not secure or private data). Contact Mariko Davidson
    at mariko.davidson@state.ma.us
  • Use
    different types of data other than state sources. (For example, LinkedIn data
    cold help map out the business landscape of the state). Contact Christ Scranton
    at scranton@masstech.org
  • Ideas
    for how to motivate and attract talent. Contact Steve Strassmann at steve.strassmann@state.ma.us.
    Luella Wong mentioned the idea of a sabbatical between public and private work,
    like “public/private cross-pollination.” Contact her at luella.wong@state.ma.us
  • Repository
    for regulations/permits for large events – something like a state website for
    event organizers and participants. It could give heads up for traffic; it would
    integrate municipal/state events, regulations, etc.

A more
effective way to track what’s going on in the business process between the
business and tech side.  Instead of
people communicating what they think is going on, we need a way to map what’s
actually going on. We need a more agile, effective way to map out truth/fiction.
Contact Joan Matsumoto at joan.matsumoto@state.ma.us
MassIT
has team members ready to talk with you about potential solutions. Don’t
hesitate to contact them, and be sure to check out the twitter handle
@massachusettsIT

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