Leveraging the power of citizen engagement to dramatically improve customer service, agency focus and cost efficiency.
Who is the Best at Citizen Engagement?
November 7, 2010 at 5:46 pm #114336
Who do you think is really really good at citizen engagement? People or agencies that reach a ton of citizens and engage them in really meaningful ways.Part of it is based on discussion I had w/ friend the other day regarding politics and how people like Blue State Digital are really good at reaching/engaging voters.And I was thinking to myself…I wonder who is the best in government? and how would you measure that success?
November 7, 2010 at 5:48 pm #114382
Some thoughts on my end:
-Military is really good generally – them seem to hire and spend lots of money and focus on it
-NASA is really good too
-CDC is really good
I’ll have to do some analysis on it.
The other question is how do you define good:
-maybe % of potential citizens who should care that know about your information/engagement?
-simple things like # of fans, followers, friends, etc
-# of people that compete in challenges, contests, etc
November 7, 2010 at 6:38 pm #114380
November 7, 2010 at 10:20 pm #114378
Before anyone asks, yes, I am completely biased, but…
SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) is on a roll, including:
– A recent UserVoice-based engagement around the agency’s strategic initiatives garnered ~700 ideas and 26,000 votes. Moreover, this feedback is being used to help guide the final draft of the agency’s Strategic Initiative Document.
– SAMHSA uses Facebook not just as channel for message dissemination but also for customer service and for soliciting feedback
– SAMHSA is using Challenge.gov to bring groups that have not been part of traditional public engagement into the tent – see the recently posted HBCU Mental Health Promotion Campaign 2011.
However, there is lots of love to go around and some great examples and great leaders across government. A few of them being:
– HUD Ideas in Action and their public engagement around their agencies strategic direction: http://hudideasinaction.uservoice.com/forums/55040-feedback-on-hud-s-final-strategic-plan
– GPO and Federal Register 2.0 – great story behind its development and great final product: http://www.federalregister.gov/
– GSA Center for New Media and Citizen Engagement – they are building many of the platforms upon which all of us in Gov 2.0 land are engaging: http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/140445
Lots more to mention and so many talented people out there making government better every single day.
November 7, 2010 at 11:55 pm #114376
Andrew – That’s awesome – and great examples.
How would you measure success?
Is it size of audience? Maybe size of audience compared to topic/potential audience? For example, if City of Dayton has 10k email, FB, Twitter followers that’s worth a lot more than NYC.
Also I’d say the topic of space, environment may have broader national appeal than a niche topic like FDIC updates
How would you measure engagement?
November 8, 2010 at 1:47 am #114374
Success has to be tied back to mission if it is going to be meaningful (and defensible both to management & the public). This can mean many things however depending on the agency.
For example, if the goal is to “create awareness”, then the number of followers or fans may be relevant. It can also be something that is much more complex thought. SAMHSA is also piloting some engagement that will provide information that may help improve business processes and how effective the agency is in meeting the needs of stakeholders (engagement is basically around what publications should be prioritized by the agency). In this case, success would be measured in how business process have been modified and improved as a result of the engagement.
I would agree that benchmarking can be difficult and that comparing NASA (which has some innately compelling content) with Dept. of Labor might be difficult on the surface. However, it should not be a competition for the most fans etc, but again, how effective the engagement is in meeting mission.
Finally, I would argue that community building can also be a key goal with engagement. I have written about this before and, although the metrics presented there might not be spot on, community building is often an important goal – http://andrewpwilson.posterous.com/a-new-take-on-social-media-metrics-for-govern. Growing the network can be extremely important, esp when first getting engagement off the ground.
November 8, 2010 at 1:58 am #114372
Behavioral change…I like that.
So for politics, it’s not about # of followers/friends/etc in the end, its about VOTES
For e-commerce marketing, it’s not about # of follower/friends/etc in the end, its about SALES
Now, the tough part is getting to those tight behavioral change measures…
November 8, 2010 at 2:15 am #114370
Wayne Moses BurkeParticipant
Well, I think we’re all in agreement with Gwynne and Andrew. If you’re going to measure success, the metrics make the mission and tying #followers/likes to mission is rarely a direct correlation.
This makes the question of who is best within government incredibly difficult because you are largely comparing apples to oranges, which largely results in a popularity contest (and let’s be honest, NASA would be homecoming queen!).
On top of that, ‘citizen engagement’ is rarely the end goal, but rather a single component of everything that is required to meet the mission. Having said that, I’m sure there are many examples where we can compare granny smith to golden delicious and clementines to tangerines.
November 8, 2010 at 2:27 am #114368
Interestingly we have a local communicator on gov20 radio and he measures citizen engagement according to 4 goals
-Provide additional channels of input to citizens
-Increase transparency of city processes
-Facilitate sense of community
-Reach new audience w/ city information
My sense is tough to compare but you also know it when you see it. Some agencies have unusual advantages due to brand/mission/etc. But some are doing really well – do to specific amazing people and great execution – would be cool to show and say that is due to great work.
November 8, 2010 at 2:56 am #114366
Steve, we have developed a bit of a methodology on how to measure this.Looks through the lens of economy, efficiency and effectiveness
November 8, 2010 at 2:57 am #114364
Love the SAMHSA examples Andrew. Is SAMHSA partnering with any state and local governments on any of these?
November 8, 2010 at 2:58 am #114362
Awesome – is it public? Got a link?
November 8, 2010 at 3:08 am #114360
not yet. We will be done in a week or so. We’ve also developed something which shows how you can use social media to enhance mission and reduce risk at every stage of the journey from idea to result in big initiatives. BTW: Governing will publish Wed a conversation between Chip Heath and myself on making change when change is hard in government. Hope we can get a GovLoop discussion going on it
November 8, 2010 at 3:25 am #114358
Awesome – please share when it’s up….
And send me the link on Wednesdays article (or post it as discussion and I’ll highlight)- would love to get discussion going on it
November 8, 2010 at 4:05 pm #114356
We’ve been pushing “mission matters” with our clients because, while engagement is important, we see almost unlimited evidence, that most people’s experience with government is highly personal. I believe in Open Government, but I felt very relieved earlier this year when I heard a drumbeat from OSTP, NAPA, and others about how Open Government is really about laying a foundation for delivering great customer service and exceptional outcomes for the public. The real thought leaders on this are the civil servants that have been plugging away since before the open government focus. They see the feedback direct from the public as well as search traffic, Web traffic, subscription numbers, etc. that all point to the same thing. The # of citizens interested in engagement pales in comparison to the number interested in health, jobs, benefits, grants, etc.
One great metric I saw earlier this year was from Janice Nall when she was still at CDC. She was able to show that the public’s trust in CDC content went up when people came in to CDC.gov from social media. That is a powerful realization when you consider that more trust in CDC means more people getting their kids vaccinated which means many lives saved.
I’ll be interested to see information from Deloitte on improving measurement. We’re working on making a bigger contribution for our clients on this issue as well. One hope is that you can use the more personal interests as a way to engage citizens who might not otherwise have the time. I like to say that public health events, tax season, Social Security rate changes, NASA launches, are like the government’s “Da Vinci Code.” That’s how we get people in the store, and we can “upsell” engagement at those times. (sorry if this makes “Engagement” sound like a self-help book, but hopefully you get the idea…)
November 8, 2010 at 4:23 pm #114354
The best training available is the Institute for Participatory Management and Planning. We have used their approach for more than a decade at the City of Round Rock, Texas, and it works. Their website is http://www.consentbuilding.com. They have done a ton of work for federal and state agencies as well.
November 8, 2010 at 5:00 pm #114352
This is a very broad question and depends on a lot of factors. I think before you can have a conversation about measuring anything you need to scope it out.
What does citizen engagement mean? What is the specific purpose for citizen engagement? What are the goals? desired outcomes? Are they unique to every agency or can they be universally defined and agreed upon so that they can be compared? How you define concepts like “reach” and “engagement”? Who are the stakeholders? what is the ideal outcome for citizens? for government?
Once you know what the purpose, goals, and outcome are then you can begin to create metrics that match them.
What are you going to measure? qualitative vs quantitative; quality vs quantity? Do the metrics connect back or relate to a specific goal or outcome? etc…
November 8, 2010 at 5:36 pm #114350
I found a link to the OSTP and NAPA presentations from our Open Gov user forum earlier this year where the importance of strategic / mission goals was emphasized and some great examples were shared.
I apologize that I don’t have a direct link to these handy so you’ll have to give us your email address to see this, but I promise it’s worth it. If I find a direct link to the presentation, I’ll post it.
Using Innovative Technology to Embrace the Open Government Directive
Robynn Sturm (Assistance Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Open Government, OSTP) and Lena Trudeau (Vice President, NAPA) examine the need to connect Open Government efforts with an agency’s existing strategic goals and challenges to be successful at meeting the objectives of the Open Government Directive. View Presentation
November 8, 2010 at 9:32 pm #114348
I see there’s consensus emerging that engagement is really a means to more effective service delivery. So amen! A couple of thoughts:
1) @Will – Great to see my fellow Texans leading the way!
2) Even if it’s not directly tied to increasing service efficiency, increasing trust is a very important part of the mix. The more involved your stakeholders, the more responsive your operations, and the greater effectiveness achieved. Which leads me to…
3) The need to focus on the qualitative. There are so many quantitative measures in any initiative that’s technology-based, but the impact of engagement won’t be measured in hits/votes/likes — it’ll be in connecting the actual input to the results achieved. Measuring success in this way holds leaders accountable for being responsive to the input–even if they can’t enact it immediately–which then feeds back and increases trust!
4) Andrew mentioned HUD’s Ideas in Action, which I’m a big fan of. Their Ideas initiative is about one year old now, and because it’s become such a potent platform on which to engage stakeholders in an ongoing way, they are really focusing on how to “push” ownership for the site down from their corporate level down to the program offices. After all, it’s the program offices that deliver the services that these participants receive, so the most efficient/effective thing would be to have them directly involved in the conversation. (That’s not exactly performance measurement, but it’s a process improvement that deserves some props!)
November 12, 2010 at 5:12 pm #114346
I’m working on a research project right now looking at these two questions but specifically in local and state governments. Anyone have any thoughts on state / local agencies or leaders?
November 12, 2010 at 5:17 pm #114344
How are you hoping to quantify it?
NAGW award winners are good places to start w/ state/local.
Also Digitial Cities, Counties, States award winners
November 12, 2010 at 5:36 pm #114342
Still working on how to quantify it.
I think Daniel hits on the lens we’re looking at above – “it’ll be in connecting the actual input to the results achieved. Measuring success in this way holds leaders accountable for being responsive to the input–even if they can’t enact it immediately–which then feeds back and increases trust!”
We’re very interested in examples of leaders responding to the input – but, as Daniel points out, that’s a longer term view. Increased trust in public entity is a good one. Projects implemented on the ground due to engagement is another one.
We’re still figuring the measurement piece out – so any suggestions are very welcome!
November 12, 2010 at 8:30 pm #114340
Two bests come to mind. One, a person, Dustin Haisler former CIO of Manor, Tx. He’s used creativity and innovation to deliver better government through technology. Tiny Manor (pop. 6,500) uses game mechanics and augmented reality to engage their citizens. Here’s his video on YouTube, he explains it much better than I can: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNhtVLMqp2s. Sadly for Manor, he’s recently left government to work in Silicon Valley. Another best for Austin is our 3-1-1 department. This group is beloved, to the point of people posting songs and poems on Yelp to declare their love for them. See for yourself: http://www.yelp.com/biz/austin-311-austin. How come so many citizens have a crush on them? People say “They’re nice on the phone.”
November 16, 2010 at 9:58 pm #114338
I would agree on the success of NASA’s public engagement – one of the keys to their success is not just pushing out news through social media channels, but actually embracing the community with active social media, including offline events like the tweetup at the Johnson Space Center for the Space Shuttle Discovery launch.
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