Any busy city official will tell you, there’s nothing worse than a crowded inbox or non-stop notifications with no clear path for how to dig yourself out. A missed deadline or overlooked application step could mean non-compliance, an incomplete inspection, or unwanted delays to community development.
The ViewPoint Cloud office has been ablaze with excitement as we near #ELGL19. For this year’s conference, we’re sending a first-time attendee, Tom Crosby, and we thought it would be fun to have him sit down with our resident ELGL veteran, Rachel Keyser, to chat about the upcoming event.
Leadership expert and frequent TEDTalk presenter, Simon Sinek, has a lot to say about the idea of modern tribalism: forming a social network based on certain feelings such as trust, respect, and understanding. The modern tribe today, he contends, is most often a person’s place of work, where a shared set of values provides a “sense of purpose and cause.”
This past week, we saw a modern tribe in action as local government leaders from around the country gathered in Reno, NV for the Alliance for Innovation’s 25th Annual Transforming Local Government Conference (#TLG2019).
Among the many themes from TLG, the importance of peer support and learning, finding avenues for concrete action, and building an inclusive community stand out. Here are the key highlights.
TLG Attendees Support One Another—Across Different Cities and Sates
The warm, friendly atmosphere among local government attendees was immediately apparent at TLG. There were flurries of handshakes and hugs, inquiries about smart projects, legislation changes, and challenges—crossing the divide of different cities and departments.
One attendee described the feeling of relief this conference instills, being surrounded by a group of people who “just get it.” She spelled out the contrast between discussing day-to-day challenges with TLG’ers versus a close friend, or even a spouse. With TLG, she finds instant understanding, shared endeavors, and connections to return to for support when enacting change. Most of all, unlike general lamenting, the Alliance actually provides solutions to help communities address, implement, and improve the status quo.
The Future of Innovation Relies on Peer Learning
Joel Carnes, President and CEO of the Alliance for Innovation, encouraged attendees to utilize TLG as a connecting point for this tribe of innovators—a place where leaders are supported in their quest to achieve efficient government operations and elevate communities across the country. The Alliance’s forthcoming Innovation Leagues is a specific part of this vision, mapped out as a network of regional bodies comprised of city leaders, universities, technology companies, and other stakeholders who all have the shared goal of helping their region reach its full potential.
The Alliance facilitates peer-learning between members who want to address a certain issue and members who have already excelled in that area. To showcase how this works, The Alliance pre-selected teams from cities to present to their peers at TLG on how they achieved certain successes. Bloomington, MN, for example, shared how to work outside of the traditional org chart to strengthen workplace cohesion. Attendees raved about the presentation, filling the conference app with photos and highlights.
Private Sector Partners Should Want to Help You, Not Just Sell You
Back in 2016, the Alliance created their Corporate Partner program with the express intent of connecting local governments directly with the latest private sector technology and innovation companies committed to push meaningful member initiatives forward. At TLG, Corporate Partners contributed to the knowledge base with Learning Labs—hour-long sessions focused on municipal education and processes improvement.
We teamed up with NIC to share three innovations to eliminate pain points in technology procurement, helping navigate a necessary process many Alliance members find particularly frustrating. In addition to new procurement strategies, the session focused on shifting away from the traditional vendor/customer dynamic that is a one-time transaction. Instead, local government leaders should seek out value-based partnerships with modern companies dedicated to relationship building. This creates a feedback loop to continuously improve government services.
The TLG Conversation Continues Year-Round
Rounding out these pre-slated Learning Lab and peer support sessions, the Alliance also offered an additional “unConference” track where attendees got to brainstorm common areas they were keen to discuss and vote on their favorites. The top ten became dedicated breakout sessions throughout the conference. Topics spanned artificial intelligence & customer service, data dashboards & how to utilize them, infrastructure for aging populations, and project prioritization through the lens of equity.
After the conference, The Atlas, an online government marketplace and this year’s TLG Technology Partner, will enable these conversations to continue remotely— helping government leaders find best-fit technology solutions to help their communities thrive.
For the “doers” in local government, The Alliance for Innovation’s Annual TLG Conference provides a safe space to build an extension of their modern tribe. Leaders connect with other leaders from cities across the country and the knowledge transfer that occurs between sessions, learning labs, and conference networking provides a strong foundation for innovation between public and private sector partners. If #TLG2019 was any indication of the progress that can happen in just two days, we can’t wait to see how the TLG Tribe evolves throughout 2019 and into next year’s conference in Phoenix, AZ.
Population: 24,386 State: North Carolina Departments: Community Development—Building, Inspections, Code Enforcement, Fire Problem Addressed: Cumbersome, makeshift software Project Highlights: 2 month implementation & inspection management
Kernersville, North Carolina is a town of 25,000 residents and a booming commercial base. Located in the center of “The Triad”—the third largest metropolitan area in the State—the Town is a popular location for business and industrial parks, contributing a vast amount of work to the Community Development Department. One prime example: the 1-million-square-footAmazon fulfillment center being built in Kernersville right now.
Imagine you’re a government official in the City of Parkview and you oversee permitting and licensing fee collection. Some projects require multiple permits like building, electrical, plumbing, and mechanical—the cost of each can vary according to the specifications of the project, and they may even be interdependent on one another.
In honor of the new year, we wanted to reflect on some of the people, podcasts, and platforms, that we’ve learned from and been inspired by in 2018. ViewPoint works to carve out our own mission of digital transformation, but nothing exists in a vacuum, and we’re excited to be surrounded by so many other leaders in the realm of government innovation and technology.
So without furtheradieu, here are our 10 favorite voices powering government innovation (presented in no particular order):
ViewPoint Government Solutions is excited to announce that Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) has selected ViewPoint Cloud to bring modern, user-friendly permitting to the agency. VTA will be using ViewPoint Cloud to manage construction permitting in and around their transportation hubs, furthering their mission to provide community-focused transportation options that are innovative, environmentally responsible, and promote the vitality of the region.
Far too many government staff members find their daily workload bogged down by inefficient and unintuitive processes and tools. Whether it’s trying to physically deliver paper documents and manually track applications, or using outdated software that doesn’t quite fit your needs and makes collaboration difficult. Local governments everywhere are realizing that decades-old tools are no longer cutting it.
Sharon Lee, Low Income Housing Institute’s (LIHI) founding Executive Director, joined the National Association for County Community and Economic Development (NACCED) and ViewPoint Cloud to speak on tiny house villages as a crisis solution to homelessness.
Watch for a history and how to guide, sharing how Seattle developed its innovative Tiny House program to quickly and affordably provide shelter to people living on the streets, and how other communities could do the same. LIHI went from one village to ten in three years, learning valuable lessons in construction, management, and key partnership formation along the way.
With the rise of AirBnB and other online rental platforms, AirBnB regulation has become an evolving and complex area for local governments. While some may think it’s only an issue in larger cities or tourist destinations, there are over 2,700 U.S. cities and counties with more than 50 short-term rental (STR) listings.*
With the near universal presence of Airbnb, there’s no denying that short-term rentals have cemented their place in modern life. For some, hosting has become a necessary second source of income. For others, short-term rentals present a form of cultural currency for meeting new people or exploring a city. However, they also represent a modern regulatory challenge for local governments—how to regulate globalized, tech-based markets within their own jurisdictions.
Sometimes it’s hard to keep up to date in a world full of new technology, especially given the rapid advances in public sector applications. But technology is changing the way government works, from better customer-service to internet infrastructure to widespread collaboration on open source projects. That’s why we made this short guide for you (or someone you know) to brush up on IT concepts both old and new.
Population: 9,722 State: Maine Departments: Code Enforcement and Planning Problem Addressed:Lack of centralization and flexibility Project Highlights: Tailor-made templates and high-level reporting
When Town Manager Kendra Amaral and then Code Enforcement Officer, Bob Marchi, set out to improve Kittery’s permitting process they were looking for a platform that would bring start-to-finish tracking and a centralized database. They wanted a solution that would help the Town streamline their workflows and lessen the load on residents and business owners—overall, making the process as efficient and responsive as possible.