About Us

Mission & Values

We work with municipal governments and interested citizens to help use technology to catalyze government openness and transparency. Specifically, we use web technology to enable citizens to interact with their government’s financial and other public numerical data through sophisticated visualization techniques.We work with municipalities using technology to catalyze government openness and transparency. Our overarching goal is to enable more effective democratic participation in municipal government across the country, with a particular focus on the government budget and spending flow, so that the values of an informed and engaged community are reflected in that budget.

My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, 1/11/2009

The VisGov initiative exemplifies the nation’s commitment to the national Open Government Initiative and the international Open Government Partnership (OGP), a global effort to encourage transparent, effective, and accountable governance. President Obama has challenged agencies to “harness new technologies” and “solicit public feedback to identify information of greatest use to the public” and emphasizes “bottom-up” philosophy that taps citizen expertise to make government more responsive to private sector demands. Since the beginning of this administration, many related efforts such as the Sunlight Foundation and Code for America have experienced healthy and steady grow under the Open Government Initiative. A new generation of municipal leaders has committed to making government more open and transparent. Visual Government’s unique open-source visualization tools help turn data into transparent, meaningful, accurate information.

Our Team

Visual Government (VisGov) is a working group that has emerged from the award-winning Arlington Visual Budget project, with diverse backgrounds in technology, software engineering, user experience design, and municipal finance.

VisGov provides web-based, interactive graphical tools that help cities and towns convey the “story” of a municipality’s policies and priorities and establish credibility and support through transparency and openness.

Our technical partner is Involution Studios of Arlington (www.goinvo.com). Involution is the software strategy and design partner of choice for the best companies in the world, such as Apple, Microsoft, and Oracle.

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Alan Jones

A veteran technologist and Vice-Chair of Arlington’s Finance Committee responsible for budget presentation, Alan assisted the Arlington Visual Budget in defining the requirements for the Visual Budget and helped organize and evaluate the initial UX tests.

Alan has a degree in Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and has had a long career in computer design, product and business development in both startups and international corporations, and has founded two consulting firms.

Annie LaCourt

Annie is an independent consultant with 25 years experience in information systems design, development and management. She specializes in project management, user requirements planning, implementation and data migration for non-profits.

She has been a member of Arlington Town Meeting for 14 years and served as Selectman in Arlington from 2005 to 2012. As a Selectman her focus was on finance and budgeting, with particular concern that Arlington’s budget reflect the community’s priorities and values.

Juhan Sonin

Juhan is the Creative Director of Involution Studios and has been creative leader of three different organizations, producing work recognized by the BBC International, the New York Times, Newsweek, Billboard Magazine, and National Public Radio.

Prior to joining Involution, Juhan spent time at Apple, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) and MITRE. He is also a lecturer on design and rapid prototyping at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

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Jon Follett

Jonathan is an executive who previously ran his own design studio. He is the director of business development for Involution Studios. Jonathan joined Invo in 2009 and is a graduate of Boston University.

Ben Listwon

Ben Listwon co-founded Involution Studios in Silicon Valley, establishing the company’s technical practice. A founding member of notable technology companies like Yelp and various IdeaLab member companies, Ben has also held lead architect positions at eBay, PayPal, Nokia and Yahoo. He is happiest when delivering products which improve people’s quality of life

Craig McGinley

Craig is an engineer devoted to full stack design and development. He brings skillful javascripting, front-end development techniques, and application logic design to software projects. Craig is a Launch Academy graduate, vegan, musician and social justice advocate.

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Arif Padaria
Corporate & Business Development

Arif builds relationships with scientists, entrepreneurs and technologists, creating knowledge maps and sourcing investment opportunities across the entire information technology landscape with a focus on disruptive order-of-magnitude and tipping-point innovations. He has helped bring many ventures through the investment process, including corporate and business development, team building and goal setting.

Arif’s background includes 10 years of technical experience in software engineering and management, and 15 years building entrepreneurial ventures in the US and EMEA.  He frequently speaks at academic and commercial technology conferences about innovation and investing.

He earned a M.S. and a B.S. in Computer Science, from Rutgers University, a MBA from Columbia University, and worked towards a Ph.D. in Computer Science at Princeton University

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