It’s time for governments to hit the New Year refresh button and reassess the tools and methods used to meet goals, and to reassess the goals themselves. And, if you’ve spent any time reading government technology articles or attending governing strategy conferences from last year, you know 2013 is the year to jump into online public engagement.
From various popular social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter that strengthen personal connection to government, to mobile news dispensers that keep citizens on the move informed, to civic idea building websites that involve citizens with governing and improvement projects, the tools available today are multiplying and evolving faster than most government agencies can implement them.
With so many tools available, it’s important to keep in mind what the critical components of your next-gen public engagement architecture are. Here’s how I like to break it down:
Citizen IdeationAllowing for citizens to create meaningful ideas with fellow citizens is how you get citizens involved at the very beginning of government… inception!
Focused DiscussionGet a broader swath of citizens involved in specific projects that are critical to the livelihood of your constituency by creating online discussion narrowed to that topic. Citizens then become part of a wisdom bank for legislators to draw from and make the best decisions.
Direct Agenda FeedbackCollecting feedback on agenda items involves the citizen right through to the final stage of governing and gives them real ownership of decisions and opportunity to make a difference.
These three components of civic engagement involve the citizen at all levels in the government decision making process. This is how you make the government, as President Lincoln once described it, “of the people, by the people, for the people.”
Granicus’ Citizen Participation suite is aimed directly at achieving all these critical facets of online public engagement. The feature list is quite impressive, as is its simplicity and ease-of-use. What isn't listed in that feature list, however, are the amazing new features coming in this month's new release of CivicIdeas and iLegislate! Watch out for that in coming weeks, because jaws are already hitting the floor.
In fact, next week, we’ll be holding a webinar where we will reveal many of these new features:
Preparing for Civic Engagement in 2013
How Governments can Meaningfully Engage Citizens with CivicIdeas™
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