by Lily Liu, Co-founder, PublicStuff
We have come a long way since we officially launched PublicStuff in 2010. We strongly believe that collaboration and transparency are the key ingredients for an efficient government, and we have worked hard over the last few years to spread this belief to local governments across the US. As civic leaders learn more about the potential of streamlining government processes through technology, organizations like ours are able to have a more fruitful conversation about how we can help them achieve this. Working alongside a larger movement by organizations like Code for America and the Sunlight Foundation, we have seen greater willingness by government leaders today to engage in a dialogue about open governance approaches.
PublicStuff participated in the New Cities Foundation AppMyCity! contest last year, and was nominated as one of the three finalists, together with BuzzJourney from Israel and Colab from Brazil. I had the opportunity to travel to Sao Paulo and meet the other participants and finalists, and found it a great place to gather with community and thought leaders from across the world. It was an important event in the field, and inspired us to work even harder to help local governments become more open and accessible.
Since last year’s New Cities Summit, we have seen even more expansion in the US as well as internationally. From larger cities with bigger budgets for improved IT infrastructure, to smaller cities just now experimenting with new governance approaches, we have added clients like Daly City, CA, Durango, CO, Dayton, OH, Palo Alto, CA, Evanston, IL, Miami Gardens, FL, and Hoboken, NJ to name a few. Government leaders in these cities are continuing to take steps towards a more inclusive and efficient government to better serve and communicate with their communities.
With positive feedback from our community, we are further encouraged to make governance a more collaborative process between citizens and government leaders. Working with our clients has allowed us to understand the challenges they face in their processes, and accordingly improve our platform to accommodate issues ranging from water conservation to traffic congestion.
“We are further encouraged to make governance a more collaborative process between citizens and government leaders”
New features, like our smart knowledge base, have helped us address the needs of our growing community of clients. With the knowledge base as part of the backend CRM, government officials spend less time answering repeat questions, and citizens have quick access to a library of regularly updated articles and frequently asked questions. We also updated our One Voice translation feature to allow seamless communication for residents who don’t speak English. Thanks to this feature, citizens can have a dialogue with their government and each other in Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Russian, Khmer, Italian, Vietnamese, Arabic, French, German, Greek, Turkish, Serbian, and Polish.
“We are excited to continue our mission of transforming local government through technology”
We have also seen tremendous support for our mission from influential individuals like Palo Alto CIO Jonathan Reichental, Mayor Bill Laforet of Mahwah, NJ, and Mayor John Marks of Tallahassee, FL, who are trying to implement efficient government solutions and infrastructure in their communities. Over the last year, some of our clients have received additional recognition in the media, such as Government Technology’s 2013 Digital Cities Survey, and PublicStuff was recently named one of Forbes’ America’s Most Promising Companies in 2014. With these accomplishments, we are excited to continue our mission of transforming local government through technology, and taking the lead in civic engagement initiatives in cities in the US and across the world.