Mark Elliott NYCCollabforge founder and chief consultant Mark Elliott is returning home from a whirlwind trip to the East coast of the USA. Mark was invited to keynote the City Planning, Civic Engagement & the Internet Conference at Princeton University – detailed post on this to follow soon.

Mark spent the first two days in New York and was a guest on acclaimed author and Frontline presenter Douglas Rushkoff’s new radio show The Media Squat on WFMU. Mark’s interview with Doug about participatory democracy can be found here.

There’s a real movement under way in the US towards Open Government and one of its key proponents is Matt Cooperrider from the iYear Foundation. Matt is the driving force behind the OpenGovNYC meetup group which aims “to improve government from the outside in, working together with cooperative government officials.”

Matt invited our very own Mark Elliott to lead a Collaborative Policy Building Workshop on April 28th to develop the process for running a ‘policy sprint’:

“Techies will be familiar with the idea of a coding sprint, at which coders will choose a particular project on a particular day and code like hell until it’s done. We want to do the same thing with policy, so that by the end of the day we’ll have something that we can present to Albany or City Hall.”

You can help take the ‘policy sprint’ idea further by participating in this wiki which captured the main themes to emerge out of the workshop. Mark then dashed over to Washington D.C. as guest of The Sunlight Foundation where he spoke to a group of people about Collabforge’s work on Web-based public engagement and mass collaboration. Sunlight are trailblazers in Open Government through a number of exciting projects that are committed to “creating new tools and Web sites to enable all of us to collaborate in fostering greater transparency.” Something all of us here at Collabforge are also very passionate about.

And all of these activities took place before the actual conference. Well done Mark on such a successful trip! Stay tuned for a full update on Mark’s Princeton keynote and more news to follow soon.