For the last several months I've been starting my presentations or speeches with a plea for folks to turn ON their cell phones.
First, I bet folks that their phones won't ring, because no one talks on their mobiles anymore. But the real point is that your mobile phone is your point of access to whatever information you need and whatever Internet-based tweet/blog/web/socialnetwork information archives and livestreams that might matter to you. Assuming that you came to whatever venue we find ourselves in to learn something or meet someone, it seems logical to keep yourself connected to the "ozone of information" from which you also might learn and meet. So I was quite happy to find some data to support my observation that no one talks on the phone anymore.
But the real news: Lots of apps and games contests are underway or under consideration to get people engaged in a variety of issues. The DataJam slide deck shows several examples.
So I thought I'd develop a running list of others - please feel free to add and share. Some of what I've got below are other people's running lists, so this is a list of lists.
Apps for Democracy (one of the first. This link includes pdf on "hosting your own")
Design For America - from Sunlight Foundation, my super co-conspirator on the DataJam
Apps for Healthy Kids
The Health Games Challenge
Apps for the Army
Mobile App Contests - A meta list of app challenges - some for social good, others not.
List of Apps contests - list maintained by GovLoop
NYC App contest winners
Community Health Initiative - note mention of contests in the plan. No announcement yet.
The White House Open Government Initiative is involved in a lot of the federal level innovation efforts - their site keeps a great running list in the Innovations Gallery. In this speech at the Berkman Center in April, White House Deputy Chief Technology Officer Beth Noveck explains the open government initiative and outlines its progress to date, noting the number of departments and agencies working on efforts such as these.
One question I have - what comes after the apps? How do we learn about how these apps are used, improved, re-configured, or used in unexpected ways? One panel at Gov2.0 expo will look at this. As I begin working on the west coast DataJam v2.better I'm talking to all my co-conspirators about this as well.