When was the last time you sat in on a town hall meeting? Or attended a board meeting for your local bus company? If the answer is a resounding never, there’s good reason for that. Americans work long, and often, inflexible hours that leave little room to take part in decisions that affect your city’s policy and functionality.
Community engagement software addresses these limitations by connecting the city government with its constituents on the internet, mobile phone, and tablet. The software provides an outlet for the public to report, connect, and comment on a variety of issues without having to travel to a physical location. Citizen 2015 writes, “Government as a Platform has become a very popular topic in the eGovernment community. It has been touted by some as the foundation that will enable citizen eParticipation on a scale that will finally realize the promise of eDemocracy.”
Power to the People
By 2010, IdeaScale had teamed up with 23 agencies in the U.S. Federal Government to power crowdsourcing initiatives. “The Obama administration also used IdeaScale to solicit ideas from government agencies on its Open Government initiative” in 2009. As employee crowdsourcing has demonstrated, a community engagement software demonstrates the value in giving the public a voice in how their government’s policy is executed. This kind of involvement starts a chain reaction—the community feels involved, they vote on their idea, and become part of a continuous democratic dialog.
In a 2011 article that appeared in KMWorld, the author tells us how Arlington, Texas used community engagement software to coincide with their hosting of the Super Bowl. The author wrote, “Its users can access city services, report problems such as graffiti, pay bills and tickets, apply for permits, search for local jobs, or use the city directory to contact people and organizations throughout the city.” If your city has ever hosted a marathon, parade, national sports game, or G20 conference you realize how resourceful this software can be for visitors and residents alike. In the case of Arlington, TX, this type of community engagement software continued to serve its residents long after the Super Bowl ended.
The Little Things
Community engagement software can involve election topics on policy and cover things as minute but equally as pressing as potholes. If you had the ability to voice your concern when you saw the 15th pothole in your borough or a pattern of neighborhood blight, wouldn’t it be useful to be able to report in real time when it occurs? Community engagement software provides an effective alternative to antiquated forms and dead end phone numbers. Today, policy makers are realizing that their residents have feedback that extends beyond the hot topics. Community feedback software has the power to capture the little things that affect your quality of life and outlook on your environment.