Great video explaining the power of citizen engagement

Even though our time with the Town of Cary Technology Task Force (TTF) is almost over, I can’t stop researching. I’ve had the same experience with car and house shopping. You can’t turn off those compulsive Google searches even after you’ve found what you’re looking for.

Last week, I found this video on citizen engagement from PBS News Hour. It features a couple of tools we’ve discussed in our TTF meetings – SeeClickFix and MindMixer.

Some of my favorite moments in the video:

The quote from the mayor of Omaha on the town’s experience with their Engage Omaha citizen engagement effort:

If somebody has an idea at 3 a.m., they can go online and tell us about it.

And the story about how the hot dog vendor’s music annoyed one lady, but was actually beloved by the majority of the local folks.

Check it out and let us know what you think.

Citizen engagement and natural disasters

I can’t stop reading stories about New Yorkers and folks near the Jersey shore. I’m particularly interested in how people are forming small bands of brothers to help those who might be overlooked in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. And, as a member of the Town of Cary’s Technology Task Force, I’m wondering how we would respond as a community to something like this. All towns have a disaster recovery and relief plan. But how do we plan to use technology to help people in need–and possibly allow people to organize and help themselves? Continue reading

How design can improve citizen engagement with government agencies

The city of Milwaukee engaged a local advertising agency to help communicate with the public in a more concise, consistent way. Their first step was to review online assets for several major police departments, put them on a wall and search for ways to deliver a better experience for citizens.

They were able to distill all the information they need to communicate to five sections–all delivered from one page. They also added a section called The Source that shares unfiltered news from the department.

Read the article from Fast Company.

You really can’t fully appreciate this website until you see how it works. While the design is rich and deep, the navigation is actually super simple and there are only around 5 pages. Play with it here: milwaukeepolicenews.com.