Washington gets high marks in new state technology report: No. 2 overall and in top 5 on many key indicators.

Government Technology calls our attention to a new report from the Center for Data Innovation. GT reports,

The Best States for Data Innovation, released on Monday, July 31 by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Data Innovation, ranked Massachusetts, Washington and Maryland as the No. 1, 2 and 3 states overall.

Here’s how GT describes the study:

The survey examined state and federal information compiled over the past two years to populate 25 indicators in areas of data and technology, and people and companies.

Overall scores on a scale of zero to 100 reflected performance in these areas; and the idea that while the top five winners “are thriving hubs of data-driven innovation,” and prove policymakers “can make states more competitive in the data economy,” even lower-ranking states may have undertaken key policies from which other states can learn.

The CDI summary expands on the important metrics. (Full report here.)

This report uses 25 indicators across three categories to assess which states are doing the most to encourage and enable data-driven innovation. These categories are:

  • Data: the extent to which key datasets are available, including data about the government, education, health care, and energy;
  • Technology: the availability of key digital infrastructure, such as broadband, smart meters, and electronic health records; and
  • People and companies: human and business resources, such as the number of open-data companies in the state, and the size of the data professional community.

State policymakers should support all three areas to successfully enable data-driven innovation.

GT includes reactions from Washington.

No. 2 Washington also scored in the top five on specific indicators of making legislative, transit system and energy usage data available to citizens, and enabling key technology platforms to empower business, researchers, government agencies and residents to make insights.

…Will Saunders, the state of Washington’s senior program manager for open data, told GT officials are “thrilled” at the overall ranking, but also praised private sector technology companies like Amazon, Microsoft and Google for their contribution.

The state closely guards certain data streams like personal medical information, but wherever possible, Saunders said, an attitude of making data open, innovative and publicly accessible is “baked in,” adding: “For us it’s just how we do business and government, for that matter, in Washington.”

Individual indicators on which the state didn’t score so highly – including making governmental financial and education data public, and on its open data portal – were a “wake-up call” and an “indication that we need to do better,” Saunders said.

There’s always room for improvement, of course, and CDI makes a number of specific recommendations. But overall, Washington’s tech community – public and private – can take a lot of pride in the top marks received in this rigorous report. For those interested in how technology can improve government performance and citizen involvement, this study can be a valuable resource.