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How-to: 30 Steps to Become a Digital City

At GovLoop, we recently released a report on “Digital Government Strategy”.

One aspect of Digital Government, we touched briefly on but I wanted to dive in deeper in this post is the question “What’s a Digital City?” and “How Do I Become One?”

This I decided to write a list – 30 Steps to Become a Digital City

1) Website (that actually helps citizens find what need right away, is in plain english, and gets traffic)

2) Email updates to citizens on a bunch of topics (road closures to school hours) – ideally 3 % of your population signed up to alerts at least (1M citizens in Cincinnati, at least 30,000 subscribers)

3) Facebook page for the city that is regularly updated (ideally 1% of your population following you)

4) Twitter profile for the city that is regularly updated (ideally 1% of your population following you)

5) Live-stream meetings online

6) Great infrastructure – fast Internet, good wireless

7) 311 capability

8) Mobile 311 reporting app (like SeeClickFix or CitySourced or PublicStuff)

9) Open data site and a commitment to open data approach (from publishing, hackathons, participation in local tech community)

10) Transparency – all contract data and performance metrics are up on city website

11) Have an active blog sharing the story of your city

12) Have an ideation site to get input from citizens (and your employees) on key projects

13) Website is optimized for search

14) Can pay all bills/transactions online (bonus points if can pay certain transactions through mobile device/SMS)

15) Have a YouTube channel that has been updated in the last month

16) Paperless statements instead of print (don’t send me a paper tax statement)

17) Social media policy for employees and city agencies

18) Elected officials have regular online engagement with citizens (live chats, FB town halls, etc)

19) Transit data that is easily usable (for example w/ Google Transit & for developers to build upon)

20) Special recruitment program to hire best/brightest out of college/grad school (like City of San Francisco Innovation Fellows and programs like FUSE Corp & City Hall Fellows)

21) Live chat customer service on city website

22) Website is in multiple languages

23) Modern web-based permitting processes

24) Video archiving w/ meta-data

25) Calendar/event data available publicly

26) Support modern transit tools – Mobile parking apps, bike sharing programs, support new companies and approaches like Uber

27) Your councilmen have iPads and manage city agenda and meeting minutes through them

28) Use QR codes on city materials (from tourism to buildings)

29) You are a Code for America city

30) Your employees are on GovLoop :)

What’s missing? Leave your comment below

Want More?

Read our Digital Government Report

Check out our Digital Government page on GovLoop

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5 Comments

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Profile Photo Joe Sanchez

Great start!

First and foremost, what are the challenges that a digital city should address? Ideally, these challenges should be prioritized and linked in a way that enables benefits to cascade from one challenge to another. How do these challenges translate into short-term objectives and long-term goals? Do these objectives and goals resonate with government leaders, businesses, NGOs, and citizens?

How are those challenges going to be addressed via digital technologies? Keeping in mind that technology is an enabler, what process and change leadership initiatives are needed? Challenges can be manifested in risks so how will risks be mitigated?

How will performance and achievement of objectives and goals be assessed and communicated? Per one of your actions, “Elected officials having regular online engagement with citizens (live chats, FB town halls, etc)” is one way to accomplish communication.

Just some quick thoughts to augment what you’ve started.

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Profile Photo Christopher Whitaker

+1 ) Your city is taking active steps to shrink the digital divide

+1 ) Your website is in multiple langauges, bonus points for each additional langauge that isn’t Spanish

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Profile Photo Andrew Krzmarzick

Great list, Steve! Some top of mind ideas:

– Assign real staff to create content and engage in conversation with citizens online (if only part-time chunks of various people…this is not just an intern task)

– Get citizens involved in content creation for your digital platforms…guest blogs, Facebook moderator, etc.

– Connect the city’s digital mission with schools and libraries – critical digital access points

– Integrate with traditional means of reaching people…one driving the other in a virtuous cycle

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