ELGL Partners on Portland’s Early Adopter Program

Posted on March 18, 2015

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Portland’s Early Adopter Program Launches


By: Jared Wiener LinkedIn and Twitter

On March 17, the City of Portland’s Early Adopter Program launched to a standing room only audience at the Portland Development Commission (PDC). The Early Adopter Program is aimed at connecting Portland city bureaus and businesses in a meaningful and efficient way around issues that matter to both.
At PDC, Amy Nagy and I have been co-leading this program. We spent more than a year talking and working with both our local government colleagues and our connections in industry to determine the most helpful approach.  In the face of an ever-accelerating pace of change in technology, traditional ways of dealing with problems will not always work.  Portland is big enough to face the challenges typical of mid-size and large cities but fortunately, we are small enough to foster accessibility between city staff and the private sector.
Slide3The core of the launch event was an “ask” and “offer” format. Nine different bureau representatives each presented a two to three minute “ask” of the private sector. Then we broke into small groups and those representatives fielded questions and conducted conversations with the private sector representatives in attendance, in two separate 20-minute rounds. By all accounts, the event was a huge success. Bureau representatives left with new perspectives and potential solutions to the “ask” they presented. The private sector was equally pleased with the opportunities the event provided, and we’ll be sharing some of their reactions that we captured on video.
Slide2The Early Adopter program will be an ongoing effort. We’ve committed to two more events in 2015, Amy and I will continue to be available to connect bureaus and industry representatives, and we’ve also launched a technology platform supporting the program. Go to PortlandSwitchboard.com to check out some of the “asks” and the early feedback. A local Portland startup company, Switchboard, developed the platform, and its use of the Early Adopter program is an active demonstration that we are living the value this program is designed to build. This has been Switchboard’s first time working with a local government but they’ve already found other partnerships (and business) through the relationship with the Early Adopter Program.
We’ll be posting at least one bureau “ask” on the first Wednesday of every month, so check back regularly to see what’s new on the Switchboard. We have more in the works for this program and look forward to announcing them in the coming months.
ELGL is partnering with us on this effort, and we want to work with any members interested in this program. We’d love your feedback and welcome a conversation around this program.

Supplemental Reading


Early Adopter Program wins mayor’s innovation dollars

Portland leaders put 10 civic challenges to software startups

innovate/Oregon | Technology Association of Oregon

Allow Myself to Introduce Myself with Jared Wiener


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