Share |

Articles in "Research"

A new study finds that about 14 percent of Americans use social media as their main source of information about a federal agency, and 30 percent use social media to ask the government a question or resolve a problem.

The inaugural J.D. Power 2014 Social Media Benchmark Study—Government measured citizens’ experiences with the social media marketing and servicing of 12 federal agencies.   

Agencies use social media marketing to build awareness of their missions, services and products and to build positive relationships with citizens. Servicing via social media includes answering specific questions or resolving their problems.

“Each federal agency’s social media strategy is different based on that particular agency’s mission,” said Greg Truex, director of the government practice at J.D. Power. “An effective social media strategy can ultimately reduce marketing and servicing costs when it’s integrated effectively into an agency’s overall communications plan.”

In fact, the survey found that subscription email is still the most engaging channel for subscribers.

Government agencies must find better ways to harness data to meet citizens' high expectations for service delivery in an age of unprecedented volumes of data and pervasive mobile connectivity, according to a new report.

In its June 3 report, "The Age of the Citizen: Smart Governments Embrace and Enable Disruption," Forrester Research says today's social media-driven world means agencies at all levels of government must engage with citizens in ways that lead to improved service, data-revealing transparency, and participatory policymaking.

As we started thinking about how to approach cities across the US, we had to think about where to focus our effort and attention. Should we focus on a few key, well-known cities who set the strongest examples of developing transparency and open data reforms? Should we narrow down the list to only the biggest, say, 10 cities, or break them into categories by size?

In confronting these questions, we found important lessons about the population sizes of American cities that we’ll use to shape our overall approach to our municipal work. It turns out that most U.S. cities are far smaller than you might think. More than 80 percent of U.S. cities have fewer than 10,000 people. The scope and kinds of data housed in these cities might be vastly different from the data in a metropolis like Los Angeles, with its more than 3 million people in the city limits alone.

I've been trying to make dollars and sense of the open data economy for years. Does releasing data result in a more transparent healthcare marketplace? What business models for open datawork? Will publishing open climate data increase community resilience? Will releasing more open government data make better laws and result in more accountable governments, improvements to public services, or trillions of dollars of additional economic activity, as McKinsey & Company projected in October 2013?

In the past 9 months, Finland has been taking pioneering steps in experimenting with methods for participatory and direct democracy. For the first time the Ministry of Environment in Finland has crowdsourced a legislative process by asking citizens to contribute ideas for a new law on off-road traffic. The Off-Road Traffic Act is a law that regulates where and how fast snowmobiles and ATVs can be ridden, how to protect nature from off-road traffic, and how to compensate the land-owners for the use of their land for off-road traffic.

In the past 9 months, Finland has been taking pioneering steps in experimenting with methods for participatory and direct democracy. For the first time the Ministry of Environment in Finland has crowdsourced a legislative process by asking citizens to contribute ideas for a new law on off-road traffic. The Off-Road Traffic Act is a law that regulates where and how fast snowmobiles and ATVs can be ridden, how to protect nature from off-road traffic, and how to compensate the land-owners for the use of their land for off-road traffic.

The promise of gathering the whole spectrum of information traces of city life and managing this amount of data dominates the new utopian views. This pursuit for a complete understanding of what happens in cities takes the form of a seductive approach to urban design and urban governance, and tries to take advantage of ubiquitous computing and situated technologies. Thus, the intersection of code and space emerges as a deterministic paradigm.

Can citizens be fruitfully engaged in solving civic problems? Recent initiatives in cities such as Boston (Citizens Connect), Chicago (Smart Chicago Collaborative), San Francisco (ImproveSF) and New York (NYC BigApps) indicate that citizens can be involved in not just identifying and reporting civic problems but in conceptualizing, designing and developing, and implementing solutions as well.

The availability of new technologies (e.g. social media) has radically lowered the cost of collaboration and the "distance" between government agencies and the citizens they serve. Further involving citizens — who are often closest to and possess unique knowledge about the problems they face — makes a lot of sense given the increasing complexity of the problems that need to be addressed.

A recent research report that I wrote highlights four distinct roles that citizens can play in civic innovation and problem-solving.


 

A 10-nation study finds Singapore, Norway, and the United Arab Emirates do a better job of providing citizens with online and mobile services.