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Startups Using Tech to Empower Citizens

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mejiac
mejiac  
12/26/2013 4:49:36 PM
User Rank Village Voice
Re: Who signs off?
@Susan Leach,

Maybe a possible approach is to make the "administrative sign off" process more streamlined, easier to follow.

If the data captured and be provided in a way that a city office can consume it so as to speed up the process of reviewing and approving, then things move forward.

This would entail that there's cooperations between those that develop the tech solution and the administrative office so that internal processes are considered (meaning that by doing one click, the data is imported, sorted, filtered and placed in  way that's kick starts the process).

mejiac
mejiac  
12/26/2013 4:46:27 PM
User Rank Village Voice
Re: Getting The Horse To Water
@Mary Jander,

I also agree with this approach. If many members of a community would do a small contributions, together they start forming part of the solution.

If a program is designed so that by having many small contributions it can slowly grow and gain momentum, then you start seeing the change and wider acceptance.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
12/19/2013 11:48:57 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Who signs off?
Agree that consensus, not anarchy online or off, is best for communities, @Susan.

And the dog poop issue? It breaks my heart, because the animals get blamed and regulated out of certain areas because their owners can't play fair. As a pet owner myself, I can't see why anyone would make it harder for us to have our dogs blend into the city. It's so simple to pick up after your pooch!

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
12/19/2013 11:47:07 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Getting The Horse To Water
Yes, for me, the key is to go small. I can't devote a ton of time to a volunteer community project, but I can contribute in a smaller capacity. If I don't commit to too much, I can do my part without making it harder on myself or my family.

richheap
richheap  
12/19/2013 11:08:01 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Getting The Horse To Water
I like your last point, Mary. That's not to say I don't like the others, mind you...

If it wasn't for the internet then I doubt I'd be aware of the sports team I play for or the other community groups near me. It's still a leap to from being aware to getting involved, but I hope to do so. Perhaps this can be a new year's resolution for 2014.

Susan Leach
Susan Leach  
12/19/2013 7:19:53 AM
User Rank Blogger
Who signs off?
This all sounds good, Rich, particularly the dog poop part which is such a glaring problem around our neighborhood. I'm almost at the point of wanting to install cameras (only half kidding).

But I guess the one catch for me -- and you touched on this -- is if people can use these crowdfunding/ crowdsourcing sites to gather enough local support and go ahead without bouncing it off city hall. I'm not advocating adding layers of administration, but if people can launch into their pet project without oversight, that's a little alarming. Seems like there would need to be some kind of consensus, some official sign off, no?

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
12/16/2013 2:33:40 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Getting The Horse To Water
Like so many things these days, I think the issue isn't how to make getting people to improve their communities more easily online; I think it's how to get them to care at all.  Hardworking families don't always have the time to spare to attend city council meetings. It's a real effort for anyone these days.

There is no easy solution to civic activity. I know I try to participate in at least one community activity annually, and it's usually an effort, but one that pays off.

One thing the online forums make possible is for everyone who is seeking to make this work to find likeminded people and get the attention of those who might not know about civic activities at all. It's one more pathway, but it can't really make people active who aren't.

richheap
richheap  
12/16/2013 12:43:36 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Getting The Horse To Water
That's an interesting point, kq4ym. The idea with Changify is not just that you'd be sitting at your computer, but that you'd be out, take a photo of something you want fixing, and then upload it. I'm not sure that there's such a clear distinction between out-and-about people and internet people. Aren't out-and-about people also internet people nowadays?

kq4ym
kq4ym  
12/16/2013 10:21:31 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Getting The Horse To Water
It's always important to get the citizenry involved and social media and the internet can certainly be employed to do just that. The problem though may lie in getting those folks with good ideas to join in. There's still a big "social" factor involved in attracting community organizers and supporters to meetings. The lack of that type of interaction may be missing in internet style interaction. But, on the other hand there are type of personalities that work better that way, so there should be a way to combine the forces of the two action styles.

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