Officials to share success story in Feb. 16 webinar
Austin, TX (Feb. 9, 2012) - The City of Austin’s community engagement efforts, which included the launch of an online forum SpeakUpAustin and other innovative ways to garner public opinion, have earned a 2011 GovFresh second place award for excellence in government/citizen collaboration.
The City’s outreach efforts included:
- Seeking ideas where people congregate in the normal course of daily life.
- Use of technology to allow people to provide feedback without having to be physically present at a meeting.
- Special events.
- SpeakUpAustin, the online forum launched in summer 2011, to gather ideas and feedback from residents on ways the City can improve its services, projects and initiatives. Topics have ranged from whether to ban plastic bags to potential changes to the City Charter.
“Our community engagement efforts are looking beyond traditional means to bring more people into the process of providing input to their government,” said Doug Matthews, Chief Communications Director for the City of Austin. “SpeakUpAustin has played a key role in creating a public dialogue of ideas, suggestions and ways the City can better serve our community as we strive to be the best-managed city in the country.”
The Imagine Austin comprehensive plan outreach alone generated 18,000 community responses in-person or online.
GovFresh is an online news/blog site focusing on government-public collaboration and engagement especially through technology.
SpeakUpAustin has 1,100 users who have suggested approximately 425 ways the City could improve services. Each is reviewed and a status update, ranging from completed to planned and not planned, is posted in response.
This technology which allows the public to submit ideas, participate in forums, and track the results of its participation is provided by a third party, Granicus, which uses an application called CivicIdeas™. The online forum was designed with government in mind and the City of Austin played a big role in making the features convenient and user-friendly for residents.
The CivicIdeas product was made available this week to any government with the desire to collaborate with its constituents online and utilize these tools to start accelerating their community engagement strategies.
The City of Austin will be sharing its success story at Granicus’ official government launch webinar Feb 16.
"The City of Austin has revolutionized their citizen engagement by creating a responsive and accessible way for the public to share individual ideas about improving their community,” said Tom Spengler, CEO and co-founder of Granicus. “Beyond that, they've engaged citizens with each other to discuss, refine and improve these ideas. Now, those ideas are getting implemented. This is what real American democracy is supposed to look like."
Samantha Park, City of Austin, Public Information Specialist, 512-974-2220,
Lauren Alexander, Director of Corporate Communications, Granicus, 415-357-3618x1788,