We’re energized following a great week at Accela Engage. The event brings together agencies from around the world, best-of-breed partners and the growing Accela ecosystem. The VuSpex team enjoys our membership in the Accela community. Maybe it sounds a little hokey, but we are actually true believers in the spirit and message of Accela stakeholders. We know we are part of an innovative community and movement that is making democracy better. We do our bit by helping communities build better and in real time.
For those of you who do not know about what we do at VuSpex, please check out this 2.5 minute video that we shared at Accela Engage last week: https://vimeo.com/102289421 (password is “engage”). The video shows our Smartphone Inspection Solutions app in action, and we’re proud that it was a winner in this year’s Accela Construct App Challenge. If you’d like to learn more, take a gander at this recent GovTech feature article, “Video Inspection App May Save Contractors Thousands.”
The Smartphone Inspection Solutions app in action
Simply put, we help agencies apply our remote mobile video inspection solution to their construction, public safety and other inspection needs. VuSpex offers your agency an opportunity to get control of your workload. Here’s what we hear from agencies: “The economy is heading in the right direction. It’s getting busy out there, but leadership is reluctant to add headcount and we are slammed.” VuSpex enables you to do more with the same team. And, since the inspectors can be in their office or at other locations, there is an opportunity to save hundreds of hours of drive time—and help your agency meet its commitments to greener operations.
One of the key points to remember about the VuSpex solution is that we are fully integrated into the Accela Civic Platform. From your agency users’ perspective, the user experience is seamless and the data and reports are instantly part of your records.
We have been so fortunate to work with the engineering and business team at Accela. Their engineering evangelists have on numerous times sat and brainstormed with us—and even laid code with us. Accela leadership is committed to supporting innovators such as VuSpex and helping us to succeed in our service to all stakeholders. As one senior Accela executive said while we were in joint discussions with an agency, “We are a team. The agency, VuSpex and Accela will work together to make this a success.” For us, Accela and our agency partners, it is a win-win-win value proposition.
Now we find ourselves at a juncture where we have enough technology and talent and accessible data floating around the government vertical to create useful solutions in hours instead of months or years. With this proliferation of solutions, democracy is faced with new challenges in terms of discovery, the perception of risk and reward, “not-invented-here” tendencies, customization vs. commodity and so on. The question is not so much, "What can we do?" but rather, "What should we get done and do we have the will and the environment to do it?"
You can't have innovation if you're not willing to change the way something has been being done for 100 years. Culture becomes the key challenge to evolving government into a more effective and productive servant of its citizens. The fulcrum point between the cultures of government and innovation is that innovation cultures race to fail as quickly and cheaply as they can. Government is a large organization and by definition moves more slowly and cautiously.
Elegant innovation can and does come from within government, but sustained and scalable innovation will probably always need energy from smaller entities narrowly focused on making new stuff. Government is going to need to adapt its culture in order to create and sustain innovation suppliers. If it doesn’t, there will be no viable market and the nascent innovators will not be able to raise funding, build their businesses and stay in the game. Why is it that there is so little investment in the government vertical? Primarily, because government takes too long to make up its mind.
The fact that you are part of the Accela community of stakeholders means that in large part, I am preaching to the choir. In the end, voters need to reward leaders who can find a new balance of risk versus reward in government culture. In particular, democracy and its leaders must not punish failing cheaply and quickly. Ironically, the only way to get this virtuous circle rolling is for individuals like us in communities like ours to lead—to take personal risk and champion intelligent innovation. When we win, the message will be viral. Positive change is happening.
As they say out here, you can't win if you don't play. Let’s play to win-win-win.