Sometimes citizens don't need a push before they jump into engagement. Sometimes they take matters into their own hands and organize to promote their cause. The key is for government to be right there next to them saying, "It's ok. You can do this."
Admittedly, this balancing act can be tough to master but the citizens and government of Raleigh, North Carolina have made it work for the better of the city.
There are lots of lessons that can be learned from Raleigh and the six other stories featured in the GovLoop Guide - Innovating at the Point of Citizen Engagement: Seven Government Stories.
Six Questions to Ask Yourself Before Your Community Takes The Plunge:
1. Who are the most active citizens/groups in the community?
2. Is there an active developer community that regularly hosts hackathons or works in a common space?
3. Who are the key local government leaders - both career employees and elected government officials - that would be energized by such a venture?(Note: they don’t have to be IT people, though that helps!)
4. What objectives or projects in your strategic planning documents could gain strength and momentum with greater citizen involvement - or could benefit from a webbased or mobile application?
5. What public datasets are readily available? What other datasets can be made available after working to clean them up?
6. Are there any smaller projects that serve as low-hanging fruit - a paper-based or other outdated process that could be transitioned to an online medium?
We also want to offer a special thanks to the sponsors of this report:
To learn more about the ways in which GovDelivery drives citizen engagement, please visit: http://www.govdelivery.com/how-we-help/. Also, be sure to read our full interview with GovDelivery CEO Scott Burns.