About Us

The New Amsterdam Ideas (Nuams) team is passionate about helping government and non-profit organizations to innovate affordably by helping them to effectively leverage open-source software. Our client engagements, ranging from New York City's Public Advocate, to the New York State Attorney General, to the Civic Commons non-profit organization, seek to further this goal.

Nuams is structured to give mission-driven organizations the opporunity to mix and match the services of our full-service web development agency as needed, and also to avail itself of affordable a la carte offshore technical support and development services on-demand.

Nuams works with a range of open-source platforms including CiviCRM, CKAN, and in particular has extensive experience with Drupal, including:

  • A track record of success implementing, supporting, and training client staff on the use of Drupal-based websites for mission-driven organizations
  • Direct experience with managing Drupal websites during high-traffic-inducing offline events, such as the 2010 and 2011 Marriage Equality debates in New York, which were streamed live on the NYSenate.gov website that we manage
  • A global reputation as thought leaders in the Drupal software community, for which an Nuams founder gave a keynote address to the 2010 global Drupalcon convention.

Mission

Radically improve the efficacy of the world's public sector institutions, and thus the sustainable quality of life of its inhabitants, through strategic application of technologies that promote openness, equality, collaboration, and sharing.

History

Headquartered in New York City, New Amsterdam Ideas was created by the team that radically overhauled one of the United States' most notoriously ineffective public sector institutions—the New York State Senate. We led the "Open Senate" initiative, applying open-source collaboratively built software platforms, information standards, and culture to transform the Senate into arguably the most transparent and participatory legislature in the United States in less than two years. In the process, we reduced the Senate's technology expenditures (including purchases and staff) by more than $1 million annually (more than 10%) relative to ten years of historical baseline budgets.

Our team was honored for this work with three Best of New York Awards by GovTech Magazine, and Chief Information Officer Andrew Hoppin was named New York State's 2010 Public Sector CIO of the Year, and was named to the 2011 "Information Week 50." Members of our team were frequently invited and keynote speakers at national technology events such as Drupalcon (keynote), SxSW, Gov 2.0 Expo, the Personal Democracy Forum, Harvard Kennedy School of Government Lecture Series, and many more.

After completing an appointed two-year term at the Senate, Andrew, with Sheldon Rampton, formerly the lead engineer for the Senate's open-source web technologies, and Noel Hidalgo, formerly the Senate's lead technologist for innovation, elected to co-found New Amsterdam Ideas in order to be able to bring their skills and experience to bear for a broader range of other public sector and non-profit institutions.

The partners work with an extended network of collaborators with interest and proven success in the open-source collaborative software development community.

Services

Nuams works in three lines of business:

  1. Open-Source Website Development: Nuams designs and engineers custom website solutions for public sector clients on a selective basis when we believe that our time spent on the project will be highly leveraged in one or more of the following ways:
    1. significantly empower an innovative public sector organization to better execute its mission,
    2. visibly deepen the expertise of our team in deploying a solution to a meaningful civic problem, and/or
    3. set a new precedent or create a new capacity that will in turn drive additional public sector projects to implement open reusable software solutions.

    Our development approach includes a thorough discovery process that produces functional specifications and milestones, and maintains significant contact with the client throughout the development process. Ongoing contact ensures that we meet the clients needs in a transparent manner, and promotes ongoing feedback. Additionally, it empowers our clients to have direct knowledge of development milestones and features, so that our clients can more readily be empowered to maintain the system after our development work is complete. For our clients with significant in-house technical staff capacity, our goal is to render them fully self-sufficient in maintaining their own technology as soon as possible after development work is done. For our clients that require ongoing external technical support, our goal is to ensure that they could as easily choose to hire another consultant, or to hire in-house technical staff, as they could engage Nuams to continue working with them. In either case, we leave our clients fully empowered with regard to their technology investments.

    Our Drupal development work reflects our intimate familiarity with the Drupal ecosystem and best practices for collaborative open-source software development, ensuring that our clients do not pay for us to conduct new redundant engineering work whenever relevant quality code is freely available on Drupal.org, and also ensuring that any new Drupal functionality we do write is well documented, and executed in the manner other leading Drupal engineers would expect and find easy to work with in the future.

  2. On-Demand Drupal Support: Nuams is committed to driving down the cost to our public sector clients of supporting and extending their Drupal-based websites once their initial website is deployed; to this end, we offer quality reliable technical support and small project development work conducted by overseas Drupal experts at approximately 1/3 the cost of our domestic team, supplemented as needed by our domestic team working at our standard time and materials rates. These a la carte services, while significantly lowering maintenance costs, adhere to the same standards of Drupal best practices, quality assurance, and code documentation as our full service web development projects.
  3. Strategic Technology Advisory Consulting: Sometimes referred to as an "outsourced CIO," the Nuams team advises and conducts research for leaders in institutions that we believe can be influential early adopters of the policies, strategies, technologies and culture that we believe will propagate transparency, efficiency, and citizen participation in the public sector.