Rare is the city that can’t find room for improvement in the services it provides its citizens. The trick, of course, is finding ways to do so that are both effective and affordable.
A new report by the IBM Center for The Business of Government looked at cities that have cracked that code, and offers a how-to guide of sorts for other municipalities.
“Increasingly, cities are the public sector service delivery engines in the United States,” write the authors of “Using Innovation and Technology to Improve City Services.” Whether that’s because of flexible budgets, community activism or locally-based collaboration, cities are leveraging IT for better management, citizen engagement and service — and four key trends in cities’ use of IT for improved service delivery stood out:
1. Opening data
Many cities are making data more accessible through open data initiatives, in which government agencies release electronic versions of documents or machine-readable data in one central location. Often organized by theme and usually featuring data visualization tools, open data can include geographic information, chemical and environmental data, building construction data, health and economic indicators and information from the private and nonprofit sectors. Open data can also benefit public sector employees as large datasets are housed in one place, which saves time searching for information.