Civic Engagement Archives - Accela

Tag Archives: Civic Engagement

Driving Citizen Engagement: Philly311 Offers a Model for Success

Jason Shueh

Philly’s service request platform and civic engagement strategy show how cities can use mobile apps to build community

Cities searching for a next-level strategy on “citizen engagement” should visit the City of Brotherly Love. With the launch of the Philly311 mobile app, Philadelphia has built an engagement program that connects its departments and citizens with quick communications and near seamless service response. The mobile app is Philly’s Swiss Army knife for service requests and the centerpiece of a city movement to improve neighborhoods, draw resident feedback and provide outreach to residents. With a few swipes and a photo, residents use Philly311 to report graffiti,… Continue reading

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Using Accela To Meet Department Needs And Save Money

Scott Connors
Guest Blog from City of Pittsfield, Massachusetts Recently our Building Maintenance Department informed us of the upcoming license renewal for their internal work order system for the City of Pittsfield. This system was used to report a building issue to the Building Maintenance department, and also housed all of their preventive maintenance calls. Upon further investigation, we learned the cost for renewing the license and bringing the application up to date would be a staggering $42,000. Accela to the rescue A search was conducted to find a less expensive suitable replacement. During the search process, I realized we had a product in our arsenal which could do the job…. Continue reading

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National League of Cities Recap: Live from Nashville!

Tim Woodbury
Several of my Accela colleagues and I recently spent the better part of a week in Nashville, Tennessee, for the annual National League of Cities conference. Compliments to the staff at NLC and the Nashville Host Committee for throwing a fantastic conference, and to the City of Nashville for being such a welcoming place to spend a few days in early November. It was a busy conference for Accela, with numerous presentations to give, an expo booth to run, educational sessions to attend, perhaps a few honky tonk bars to check out… but most importantly, thousands of customers to speak with. Here’s a quick run-through of Accela’s high points for the week…. Continue reading

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Accela Engage Is Next Week!

It’s hard to believe Accela Engage 2015 is almost here! Many of us here at Accela have been working hard for months to make sure this is a great event. From planning the presentations, sessions and training to the event logistics and fun activities (like Paramount Studios Monday night for our Customer Appreciation Dinner!), the office has been a whirlwind of activity. To lighten things up a bit, we recently had a “guess how many pins are in a jar” contest, and the winner is the woman whose team is responsible for much of the design work you’ll see at Engage – be sure to tell her what an amazing job they did when you see her in LA!… Continue reading

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Announcing the Governing Institute’s 2015 Citizen Engagement Awards: Start Nominating Today

Rob Cassetti
As the leading platform provider for government, Accela is always looking for innovative approaches to improving access to information and to citizen engagement. That’s why we’re so excited to announce the 2015 Citizen Engagement Awards with the Governing Institute. We’ve collaborated to develop this program to recognize the agencies and champions creating more accessible, transparent and citizen-centric communities. The awards program is open to any state and local government agency, with the following categories: City/County Government, State Government, and Leadership/Innovator. The Leadership/Innovator category is open to any elected official, government employee, civic organization or nonprofit agency supporting citizen engagement through innovative technology solutions. Nominations are open now and will be accepted online through April 16th and the submissions will be evaluated based on the following criteria: Project scope and implementation to engage citizens Impact of citizen engagement efforts Utilization of technology to achieve results Creativity and initiative to make change Demonstrated leadership to drive change We will recognize the award winners at a formal ceremony at Accela Engage,… Continue reading

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Moving Right-of-Way Management from Spreadsheets to Cloud-Based Coordination [Upcoming Webinar]

Brad Steer
Coordinating projects in the public right of way keeps traffic moving and people safe. Agencies around the world are using technology to do just that. Winnipeg, Canada, is a great example of a city that moved from managing projects in spreadsheets to cloud-based, right-of-way planning between different departments, government agencies and utility companies. With online project collaboration, Winnipeg was able to achieve: Real-time, map-based coordination and communication Conflict detection prior to road construction and street activities Optimization of limited budgets and cost-sharing opportunities Greater transparency and citizen engagement Tune in to the webinar hosted by Governing on March 5th at 11 am PT to hear how Derrick Saedel,… Continue reading

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Community-Building for Better Cities

Lawrence Grodeska
What happens when you gather local officials, city staff, entrepreneurs, designers, developers, journalists and citizens in a room for one day, and ask for their best ideas to improve their communities? You get CityCamp – a lot of excitement, a little chaos, plenty of solutions and a whole lot of action. CityCamp is a national movement that brings people together to build stronger communities where they live. Core to the CityCamp model is the belief that local governments and community organizations have the most direct influence to make cities more open and “user friendly.” CityCamp provides a space for that to happen through locally organized “unconferences.” At an unconference,… Continue reading

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From the DMV to the Model T: Five Ways Government Processes Are Becoming More Efficient

Kathryn Vargas
Standing in line at the DMV, applying for a business permit, trying to fix a pothole or trying to contact the right government agency—what do all of these situations have in common? In most cities, they are inefficient and frustrating. Though these processes and the people leading them are well-intentioned, the processes themselves are typically inefficient and stuck in a bygone era in which things had to be done in person and information was tracked on paper. Automation = Efficiency “Efficiency” sometimes has a negative connotation, such as in the “Work smarter not harder” comment in this Dilbert comic, because it often means that you are doing the job of several people and you just need to “make it work.” The definition of efficiency is the “accomplishment of a job with minimum expenditure of time and effort.” Employing systems that make your job easier and more efficient allow you to focus on the more enjoyable aspects of your job…. Continue reading

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Discussing the Real Value of Open Data with State, City and County Leaders and the Sunlight Foundation

Mark Headd
On September 29th I had the pleasure of participating in a panel discussion at the NASCIO annual conference on the value of open data. Entitled “Open Data: Is the Value Real?,” the panel also included: Dale Hartman, IT Service Delivery Manager, King County Elections Washington Carolyn Parnell, Chief Information Officer, State of Minnesota Barbara L. Cohn, Chief Data Officer, New York Office of Information Technology Services Emily Shaw, National Policy Manager, Sunlight Foundation During our talk, we had a chance to dive in deep on the real value of open data for governments. One of the most encouraging takeaways for me was that the vast majority of attendees at this year’s NASCIO annual conference understood what open data was,… Continue reading

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Transforming the Way Governments Engage with Their Citizens

Maury Blackman
Today, Accela acquired Government Outreach, a leading provider of citizen relationship management software. This ushers in a new era for Accela and our customers as we further strengthen our Civic Platform with citizen-facing offerings to help governments of all sizes better connect and engage with their citizens. We are thrilled to welcome Government Outreach customers to the Accela family. Government Outreach will be rebranded as Accela Citizen Relationship Management, and we will offer the solution to existing and new Accela customers. At Accela, we believe that engagement makes all the difference. Citizens want engagement with their government to be simple and streamlined. They increasingly want to connect with their government like they do with other organizations—on their own time through digital and mobile,… Continue reading

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