Governments are transforming for the Digital Age using a Citizen First Approach

For more than two decades, governments across the globe focused on standardizing processes and introducing online services. This generated some return on investment. But with digital technology, governments can achieve so much more.

Putting the constituent’s point of view at the center of every decision is a key prerequisite for success in the digital age. This does not stop with citizen facing services, but also applies across a wide range of initiatives aimed at delivering on policy mandates.

To govern in a digital society, government organizations need to put themselves in the shoes of the citizen to transform operational, process and engagement models.

New project asks residents to envision Vancouver’s future

What would make Vancouver “A Better City”? A new project asks residents to share their ideas and recommendations on how the City of Vancouver can improve in the decades to come.

A Better City invites Vancouverites to participate in a dialogue about Vancouver’s future. Participants can share their thoughts and co-create policy recommendations to issues facing the city, such as housing, transportation, sustainability, parks and recreation, and more.

Bots, “dead people” participating in Net Neutrality online consultation

From online ballot-stuffing to trolling, we have previously discussed the many ways that online consultations can be compromised.  The FCC’s consultation on net neutrality has become the latest victim in efforts to undermine and discredit the online citizen engagement process.

Net neutrality is the principle which states that internet service providers (ISPs), such as Verizon, AT&T, or Comcast, must treat all data the same. To put it plainly, ISPs cannot charge customers more for access or faster connections to certain content or websites. This principle has been crucial to ensuring free and equal access to information online.

Measuring Success in Online Citizen Engagement

How do you quantify success in citizen engagement? Too often, the response to this challenging question is reduced to an arbitrary number of participants. Metrics such as the number of surveys taken or page views achieved are tangible and easy to understand. While practitioners increasingly understand that numbers don’t necessarily reflect a genuine, in-depth process, many still rely on them to validate the quality of their engagement.

When participation numbers are solely used to determine the efficacy or effectiveness of the engagement process, other crucial elements may be ignored. Here are some other aspects to consider when measuring success in your citizen engagement processes.

In Conversation With: George Polisner

Each month, PlaceSpeak presents a Q&A with experts in public engagement and civic technology.

This month, we spoke with George A. Polisner, the founder of the non-profit civ.works – a privacy-protected social network built for civic activism. Prior to founding civ.works George worked in product development, performance engineering, service design and management at Oracle Corp, Dell, HP and at the Legislative Counsel for the State of California. He also serves on the Board of Peace Action and produces a socio-economic and political program for community radio in Lincoln County, Oregon. In 2016, George wrote an open letter resigning from Oracle after its CEO, Safra Catz, joined Donald Trump’s transition team and expressed support for the president-elect.