Helzberg MBA Students Partner with KCMO to Boost City’s Transparency November 1, 2012

A group of six Helzberg School of Management MBA students have taken their program capstone project to the next level. The team, composed of Christina Foster, ’12, Wes Hedrick, ’12, Pete McGrath, ’13, Ashley Gardner, ’12, Leon Shih, ’12, and Cassidy Mears, ’12, has partnered with the City of Kansas City, Mo., Open Government Committee to launch an online catalog showcasing data used by the city.

“The catalog is a collection of raw data, from crime information to permits to parking facilities,” said Foster, project manager. “By making all of this available online for anyone to see, the city boosts transparency. This, in turn, promotes economic and community development because it increases access to helpful information for business owners, entrepreneurs and community leaders.”

Prior to this online catalog, the information was only available by contacting the city directly and locating the right person.

“It will save time for both the city staff and the public,” said Hedrick. “It is data that technically belongs to the public, and with this catalog it will all be just a click away.”

But the team didn’t stop there. In addition to making the data available for public use, they are creating a forum that will allow the public to request new data. Through the use of this forum and an online voting tool, ideas submitted are presented in pairs, voted on and ranked accordingly.

“By ranking the data requests, the city will be able to see what information is most important to the public and make decisions based on these results,” said Hedrick.

“The team seized this opportunity and has shown true leadership by taking their education outside the classroom, off-campus and into the real-world,” said Randy Schwering, Ph.D., associate professor of management and director of Rockhurst’s MBA capstone program. “The goal of the capstone program is to give students an opportunity to solve real-world business issues. This project is the perfect example of that.”

The online data catalog is expected to launch in December 2012.

Contact Schwering for more information on the catalog and online voting tool at 816-501-4810 or randy.schwering@rockhurst.edu. 

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