An interesting Google initiative is called “GovTransformers,” in which Google highlights a public servant who is bringing new and innovative ways to improve the way government operates. I’d encourage you to take a look at all the great case studies on the web page, and see how Google’s GovTransformers are leveraging Google tools and applications to bring innovation into their agency. They are all great stories and case studies about government innovators.
One story that I really enjoyed reading was from the Macomb County Clerk’s Office in Michigan, highlighting GovTransformer Carmella Sabaugh. The case study is titled, “When the economy gets tough – the tough get innovative.”
Here is a quick video overview of Macomb County and Carmella Sabaugh:
The case study notes that Macomb County was hit hard by the recession, and like most governments across the country, Macomb County was faced with difficult decisions. Like most parts of the country, the County was facing a potential fiscal catastrophe. Through hard-work and commitment to the community, Macomb avoided any catastrophe, and emerged in much less precarious state than other counties across the nation. Carmella stated, “We refuse to be among those “cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat” in Theodore Roosevelt’s words. We innovate. Macomb County, Michigan is now one of only 67 counties nationwide to earn a AAA bond rating from Standard & Poor’s.”
Carmella then proceed to tell about the ways that Macomb has used Google Apps for Government as a way to innovate at the County. Carmella states, “One way we innovate is to use Google Apps for Government to improve service and save money. In the past it could be be disruptive for court clerks to receive phone calls while court was in session as they were helping judges work through their dockets. But some matters require immediate attention in order to avoid further delays. Google Chat makes it easy for court clerks to instantly get information without disrupting the docket flow and reduces in-coming phone calls and walk-up requests.”
Another area that Macomb County has used Google Apps for Government is to assist with managing jurors. The case study noted that over 19,000 jurors pass through Macomb County Court annually. Carmella acknowledged that using the web is critical to managing all the jurors, since the jury room only has 1.5 full-time staff. Carmella stated:
“In the past, special Web publishing software was required and updates would only be posted during a pre-scheduled “push” of Web content to the county’s Web server. Urgent updates, such as when trials settle at the last minute or if there is inclement weather, commonly required a phone call for manual IT support. Now, using Google Presentations that we’ve integrated into our website, jury clerks can post juror updates from any location and any device, without the expense of separate Web publishing software, and updates are visible within minutes on the jury room Web page. As a result, jurors get better service and the county can spend less on Web publishing software.”
Hearing stories about how government has innovated using new and emerging technology is always fascinating to me. I love to hear how government employees are able to use new technology to drive efficiencies and reduce costs. In a time of growing fiscal concern, government needs more employees like Carmella, who are working to help transform government and serving as innovators within their agency.
|Google is a public and profitable company focused on search services. It’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Check out their Google for Gov group on GovLoop as well as the Technology Sub-Community of which they are a council member.|