Public health and Open Data Consultant, Bureaucracy Hacker
Sarah Schacht (pronounced "shot")
Sarah Schacht is a consultant for a variety of "civic" organizations and "gov tech" companies. At her consulting firm, Smarter Civic, Schacht prototypes and tests new programs for clients. Schacht's work mitigates bureaucratic challenges and builds revenue strategies. Schacht's work includes international sales for an open data company, saving a civil society organization $65,000 per month, and building a $5 million earned revenue plan for an 80-year-old nonprofit.
She has over 10 years of experience in developing open governance, open data, community engagement, and transparency technology strategies. As a social entrepreneur, she founded an "open gov" 501(c)3 nonprofit, Knowledge As Power (2006-2012). Schacht is a frequent advisor to governments ranging from small-town mayors to presidential staff. She is passionate about open data, data standards, citizen engagement, open government, and government technology.
Public Health and Open Data
Schacht is a food safety advocate. She launched a campaign for posted restaurant inspection scores in King County, Washington. In January 2017, King County (Seattle) launched posted scores. It's estimated to save two to three lives and prevent 118,000 foodborne illnesses per year. She also consulted to Socrata and worked with Yelp on restaurant inspection data. With Socrata staff, Schacht developed the 2.0 version of the LIVES Data Standard for restaurant inspection data. From late 2018 through the present, Schacht designed and led the National Environmental Health Association's (NEHA) aquatic data standard program, a project funded by the US Center for Disease Control. Her work with NEHA includes an ecosystem scan of over 1,000 environmental health agencies's data, drafting a new data standard in partnership with technical contractors, and working closely with stakeholders at local, state, and federal levels.
Event Coordination and Community Engagement
From 2009 through 2012, Schacht founded and ran a series of open government/civic technology conferences called Open Gov West, bringing thousands of government staff from across the West Coast together with technologists, civic organizations, and journalists to build open government knowledge and networks. Open Gov West completed its run with six events in two US states and the Canadian Province of British Columbia.
Schacht frequently speaks at conferences and events on open government, open data, gov tech, consumer and technology perspectives on food safety, and citizen engagement topics. For speaking requests, please contact her via the email address below.
Schacht lives in Seattle with her husband and their big-boned cat. She's an avid surfer and gardener. Schacht serves on a neighborhood board, initiates community projects like Replant Roosevelt, and serves on a Washington State public health committee and NEHA's informatics committee.
Client Work Examples
Market Research for a Civil Society Organization
Revenue Strategy Development with Altruist
Community Engagement for Socrata
Civic Technology Startup Government Engagement Strategy
Operations Director & Lead Researcher, Philanthrogeek
Open Knowledge Fest "Open Gov" Track Co-Chair
Mentoring Parliamentary Transparency Project in Argentina
Mentoring Product Transparency App Development
Usability Study Management, Seattle City Light
Open Gov West & Knowledge As Power
Usability Report on Seattle.gov
Overview of Knowledge As Power & Open Gov West Programs, 2011.
Conference Coordination & Sponsor Enagement
Open Data & Data Standards Projects
LIVES Standard Home Page
Organized 1st American Akoma Ntoso Training
Media Coverage of Schacht's Open Data & Standards Work
- Recognition of Schacht's thought leadership in GovTech Magazine, by Stephen Goldsmith of Harvard University in early 2016. Link
- Schacht managed partnership coordination with Yelp for Socrata, and worked with municipalities to launch 2.0 of LIVES data standard on open data portals and surface data to Yelp. Local news coverage of LIVES launching.
Open Gov Content, Research, Writing
- Open Data Census Provides a To-Do List for States, Government Technology Magazine, March 2016.
- Chapter, "Democracy Under Everything," in O'Reilly Publishing's 2010 compendium, Open Government in Practice.
- Posts on Medium.com, on civic engagement, surveillance, and a variety of topics, 2014-2017.
- Fast Company blog Article Schacht wrote on a new White House petition service.
- Civic engagement classroom curriculum for middle schools developed by Knowledge As Power. Creative Commons licensed.
- Op-Ed in The Oregonian, "Government technology: Modernizing for our money's worth"
News & Press from Knowledge As Power & Open Gov West
Food Safety Advocacy
- Early news coverage of Schacht's work to get posted restaurant inspection scores in King County, Washington. 2013 articles.
- 2014 front-page story from Seattle Times where King County announces it will post restaurant inspection scores, complying with the petition Schacht put forward. Schacht would continue to hold King County accountable to its commitments through 2017 when scores finally launched.
- Numerous articles on Schacht's work in Food Safety News, a major news source for the public health and environmental health community.
- In Dine Safe King County, Schacht founded an independent research study and report to produce restaurant inspection score usability research when King County had not done so on its own. Recruited five usability researchers from the University of Washington to independently complete the study. Fundraised for its completion and led earned media outreach.
- TV news coverage of posted restaurant inspection scores launching in King County Washington, after four years of advocacy, coordination, and stakeholder engagement.