ViewPoint Blog

Case Studies, Product Features, and Local Government Resources

Author: Rachel Keyser

Change Happens at the Edge

As a modern, nimble company working to disrupt an entrenched govtech industry, we’re always looking to partner with local government innovators cultivating positive change in their communities. 

We work to help cities and towns across the country modernize their tools, and in doing so improve the lives of their employees and constituents. Moving the wheels of large institutions is hard, so we are interested in the conditions that support proactive change. 

How does innovation happen within a department or an organization? Across a region, society, or industry?

I was intrigued after recently learning about, author and management consultant, John Hagel’s idea that change happens at the edge. The underlying concept: mainstream anything becomes like a black hole. It consumes what gets close, absorbs all energy, and continues to grow larger.  

The core is where the power has amassed, and it absorbs and conforms most of its surrounding environment. Diversity and innovation cannot thrive in this vacuum, and so existing processes, ideas, and power structures becomes increasingly entrenched.

“Because of the relationship between mass and gravity, this means [black holes] have an extremely powerful gravitational force. Virtually nothing can escape from them—under classical physics, even light is trapped by a black hole.” *

Not only do black holes absorb all surrounding energy, but they also cloud the ability to envision something new. 

“This creates an observational problem when it comes to black holes — scientists can’t “see” them the way they can see stars and other objects in space.”

Over the last couple of decades, the rise of the internet and modern software have disrupted the “black holes” in most industries. With decentralized access to consumers and cheaper scalable platforms, new companies have quickly diversified competition and improved the quality of products and services for the benefit of consumers. 

The Disruption Taking Place Within Govtech

Unfortunately, the public sector (particularly state and local government) has been one of the last areas to benefit from these gains.

Many of the large, entrenched companies that have dominated the govtech industry for the last several decades have become an increasingly large black hole. Despite providing subpar products and services at exorbitant prices, companies like Accela and Tyler Technologies have continued to own the market at the expense of cities and towns across the country.  

Outdated procurement laws, originally designed to provide transparency and accountability around government spending, have not only hindered the growth of new players, but have also provided a continued advantage for the black hole (dinosaur companies that have mastered the art of navigating complex procurement processes). 

Local Government Now Driving Change with Decisions

So how do leaders create change against the gravitational force of the black hole? How do local government innovators and leading govtech companies foster healthy competition that will develop products of the same caliber as consumer software?

Hagel argues that change happens at the edge, or in other words—change happens when leaders move away from the core.

Click to Tweet

Hagel argues that change happens at the edge, or in other words—change happens when leaders move away from the core. A small minority of leaders hit the core, and instead of being consumed, they will ricochet off into space to create their own satellite. 

“Sometimes as matter is drawn toward a black hole, it ricochets off the event horizon and is hurled outward, rather than being tugged into the maw. Bright jets of material traveling at near-relativistic speeds are created. Although the black hole itself remains unseen, these powerful jets can be viewed from great distances.”

Safer from the gravitational pull of the black hole core and with clearer vision, these satellites are breeding grounds for innovation. And the successful ones will start amassing energy from the core, bringing the equilibrium into greater balance. 

Your Spend Is Your Vote

Visionaries across the public and private sectors are moving away from this core. Smaller, nimble govtech companies are now leading product development by providing modern, user-friendly software products and services at competitive prices. Municipal innovators are now searching farther and wider, seeking to provide agile, user-centric solutions to their employees and constituents. New government marketplaces and procurement tools are popping up to help connect these groups, and help them build the products that will soon benefit the majority. 

Government officials are starting to bravely invest in these modern, nimble companies, because the risk of investing in yesterday’s technology is starting to outweigh the ‘risk’ of investing in a company that may be newer.

Click to Tweet

In a marketplace, your spend is your vote. Government officials are starting to bravely invest in these modern, nimble companies, because the risk of investing in yesterday’s technology is starting to outweigh the ‘risk’ of investing in a company that may be newer. Leaders see the gap between public and private sector services widening, and they know the positive impact that investing in new technologies will have on their communities for years to come. 

To all of the visionaries working to make your corner of the world a little bit better: the time is now. Together, we have the power to build the world we want to live in. 

*source for all quotes: Redd, N. T. (2019, Jul 11). What Are Black Holes? [Web log post]. Retrieved Jul 26 from www.space.com.

IT Basics for Government Tech Jargon in Plain English | ViewPoint Cloud

IT Basics for Government: Tech Jargon in Plain English

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.

Continue reading

16 Ways Local Governments Use Social Media | ViewPoint Cloud

16 Ingenious Ways Local Governments Use Social Media

Social media has long been an integral part of daily life. We have never been so easily connected as now, and the benefits span far beyond seeing your friends’ Christmas photos and not-so-funny memes. From marketing, to journalism, to fundraising, social media has revolutionized professional industries.

For local governments, it can hold even greater prizes. Social media is part of a foundation for a new type of democracy and community participation.

Continue reading

Five Forward-thinking Ohio Cities Power ePermitting with ViewPoint Cloud

Five Forward-thinking Ohio Cities Power ePermitting with ViewPoint Cloud

Population: 160,000 (total); 26,761 (average)
State: Ohio
Municipalities Involved: Hudson, Upper Arlington, Wooster, Fairfield, Bexley
Problems Addressed: Improving customer experience, integrating back and front end, moving to cloud-based software
Project Highlights:  Saving money on cloud-based software, improving process efficiency

Over a hundred years old and situated next to Ohio State University, the community of Upper Arlington, Ohio has seen recent rises in property values spurring new development, and in turn, permitting and licensing requests.

Continue reading

Benefits of SaaS for Government—Why Cloud-Based Software is the Future

While cloud technology has existed for many decades, it has only become popular in the government sector in recent years. Overcoming initial fears, many leading governments are now embracing adoption of the cloud as a top priority. A 2017 Gartner survey of Government CIOs around the world reported that cloud services and solutions are the technology investments most crucial to achieving their organization’s mission. For those still unfamiliar with the ‘cloud’ and cloud-based solutions like Software as a Service (SaaS), let’s dive into what these things mean and why they are so important for the future of governments.

Continue reading

Online Permit Portals: The Smart City Hall

You’re an entrepreneur looking to open a food truck in your city. You vaguely recall where City Hall is, but haven’t interacted much with your local government. Your idea for a business spurs the first real introduction.

You go to the your city’s website in search of answers to these questions:

  • What do I need to do to legally operate my business?
  • How much will it cost me?
  • Where do I do it?

Continue reading

5 TED Talks to Inspire Government Innovation & Technology

If you need a little inspiration for your day, take a scroll through these 5 TED speakers and see how they are changing government innovation—and the world—through technology. If you don’t have time to watch, here are the highlights:

Myth: The private sector innovates while the public sector gets in the way. The reality is that government has often been at the head of research and funding for important technological advances. The growing industry of government technology is continuing to push envelopes, challenge long-held stereotypes, and change the culture in and around government. Public-private partnerships will continue to be crucial in advancing society.

Continue reading

10 Free Software Tools for Local Government | ViewPoint

10 Free Software Tools for Local Government

With rigid budgets and procurement processes, local governments sometimes have to wait years to upgrade their technology. Luckily, with a world of developers and creative ideas, there’s a whole market of free software tools at our fingertips. From designing more engaging social media posts to better intra-office communication, these easy-to-use tools can be integrated into your regular workflow without spending a dime. To help you do this, we’ve rounded up a list of 10 free tools your local government can use to start working more productively and creatively right now.

Continue reading

Marijuana Regulations Permitting and Licensing Guide | Local Government Resources - ViewPoint

A Local Government’s Guide to Successful Cannabis Regulation & Licensing

Cannabis regulation remains a controversial subject across all levels of government, but there’s no denying the fact that the tides are changing in favor of legalization. The 2016 election seasonwhere a historic number of states passed ballot initiatives legalizing marijuanaseems to have been a tipping point, and the pro-legalization movement is showing no signs of slowing down.

Continue reading

Gloucester's Unified Storefront for Citizen Services | ViewPoint Cloud | SeeClickFix

Gloucester’s Unified Storefront for Citizen Services [Webinar Recording]

Deploying new solutions and services to better support constituent needs remains a difficult task in government today, but strategic project management and communications can make all the difference. With the help of modern GovTech partners, leading local governments are tackling these challenges because they recognize the operational and fiscal benefits to both employees and community members.

Continue reading

Contact Us

617-577-9000
info@viewpointcloud.com

Boston Headquarters
320 Congress St., 5th Floor
Boston, MA 02210

Los Angeles
555 W 5th St., 35th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90013

High-performance permitting for government agencies

© 2020 ViewPoint Government Solutions

Good Reads

Subscribe to our weekly take on
e-government trends