Citizen Engagement: Tools for Bridging the Gap

Introducing an innovative tool that can improve governing is exciting. Doing it for over five hundred registered attendees looking for better ways of connecting government leaders and their communities was an honor. During yesterday’s launch webinar, I presented the positive effect of putting public feedback at the fingertips of government staff and elected officials with our new version of iLegislate. Based on the quantity and quality of the questions that were asked, it seems government innovators are eager to make mobility and community engagement work together.

It was not surprising that when we polled the audience, fifty-six percent said that they primarily gather community input through in-person meetings. For much too long, government agencies have been siding with the lowest-common-denominator of the digital divide, assuming the job is done because everyone can meet in person. The job is not done. The landscape has changed. Community ideas are not represented by the people with the time to schedule meetings with government leaders. That interaction needs to happen where the citizens are at; today, citizens are online.

 

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During yesterday’s presentation I also delved into the details of the tools involved in creating effective community engagement. Research, preparation, and collaboration are the key purposes for the new integration of iLegislate with our Citizen Participation suite. Here are some of the features we reviewed in during the webinar:

  • Mobile Preparation – access agenda packet materials, annotate, take notes, bookmark & email
  • Legislative Research – watch previous meetings, research topics
  • Paperless environment – reduce paper consumption
  • Cloud Sync – prevent data loss & access the latest information
  • Community Ideas – access crowdsourced community ideas & analytics
  • Public Comment – review a dashboard display of public opinion by agenda before making decisions

Our communities have thousands of members and their ideas, experiences, and opinions are what should form the future. That’s a lot of data. While engagement must remain a personal experience, the data gathered from so many in the community must also be looked at as a whole. The iLegislate + Citizen Participation Suite integration is designed to provide a simple and clear view of both the forest and the trees.

If you are interested in seeing how Granicus is working to close the gap between government and citizens, check out a recent webinar we hosted to debut the new app.

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