Why Government Should Go Beta

Previously Posted On GovFresh

In the spirit of innovation, we are happy to announce the launch of the City of Manor in open beta. Manor launched in alpha in March of 1913, and has been operating as such for the last 97 years.

What does open beta mean?

Open beta is the stage of product release where the alpha product is released to a larger community group, usually the general public, for feedback. The testers report any bugs that they found and sometimes minor features they would like to see in the final version.

How will Manor operate in open beta?

Manor has become a model for municipal innovation and we understand that our model must continue to change and adapt to forces at work within our community. We want our citizens to be able to respond to our agency like individuals testing out a beta product (beta-testers). If they see a problem- they can report it. If they have an idea- they can submit it. If they have a question- they can ask it.

What’s next?

We think it is in the benefit of other cities to operate in open beta. We want to demonstrate that it is OK to say to our citizens, ‘that we’re re-inventing ourselves with your help.’ Operating in beta does not degrade the permanence of your established city, it only adds value by demonstrating to your citizens that your listening and acting what they have to say.

More information about how you can participate is forthcoming.

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Pam Broviak

Dustin – this post is sheer genius, and I love the note about the alpha launch in 1913. What makes your idea so appealing is the risk factor and fear of failure. If people understand that cities are constantly evolving, transforming, changing, perhaps we will gain the understanding and flexibility we need to innovate and improve.

With the current model, people expect us to be perfect and never make mistakes so everyone is grid locked. They refuse to try new things or change or adapt since they know the old way won’t get them in trouble.

Trying this approach with citizens is brilliant! Will be watching to see it develop.