The theme to the recent ICMA conference held this past week in Kansas City included a large focus around how to improve, and perhaps, simplify service delivery to residents. It is a driver of our passion as well. Below are some highlights of the things learned and shared:
ELGL is changing the face of local government
The week began with partnering alongside ELGL (Engaging Local Government Leaders) welcoming ICMA attendees to Kansas City(KCMO) through fun and interactive events:
ELGL Happy Hour- Following the #CityHallSelfie event, the party continued on at OneLight Apartment's event space. Sixty innovators in local government joined us for food and drink from some of Kansas City's finest, including KC Bier Co.
Serving Residents in the 21st Century is Tied to Mobile
Luke Norris, PayIt's Head of Local Government Solutions, spoke to a crowd of around 200 ICMA attendees about "Improving Customer Service with Mobile." Jean Ann Lawson, Chief Performance Officer for KCMO, co-presented with Luke about the adoption of mobile technology across various demographics (e.g. 77% of ALL Americans use a smartphone today). Smartphone technology, Luke concluded, is "the biggest opportunity governments have to fundamentally change the way they interact with and engage residents."
Jean Ann further outlined KCMO's modernization efforts and PayIt's role to help reach these goals. An example is PayItKC, a mobile app that will soon be available to KCMO residents. For the first time, citizens will have a single app to pay for multiple city services, starting with water bills and court tickets. Jean Ann highlighted that the City could further transform the way it communicates to residents by utilizing data from the app's platform. Methods include proactively alerting residents about things like bulky item pick-up or court date reminders; which could alleviate many of the 400,000 calls that the City takes from residents each year through 311.
Government + Startups = Opportunity
To cap off the final evening of ICMA, PayIt hosted a dinner for 36 guests from all over the country. It was an incredible mix of leaders, varying from both small and large cities/counties. All attendees had a chance to introduce themselves and were asked to share their favorite app. Their responses clearly indicated that app-usage is ubiquitous and even garnered some laughs as folks mentioned PokemonGo.
During the event, Evan Absher from the Kauffman Foundation, talked about how the procurement process can impede technology adoption in local government. He also highlighted some of the signifcant research the Foundation has done that points to net-new job growth being driven by startups/new companies.
Following Evan, KCMO City Manager Troy Schulte, talked about how Kansas City is helping create an innovative startup ecosystem. Kansas City is partnering with local entrepreneurs leveraging a Resolution that was passed to enable the City to more easily contract with these groups to pilot and test innovative solutions. Troy added that the program is designed to give startups a "front door...to develop, test, and demonstrate innovative solutions with KCMO data and infrastructure" with the end goal of creating potential procurement opportunities that create benefits for the government and startup alike. You can read more about the IPP here.
Thanks again to ELGL as well as all those who we were able to meet at the conference! We left the conference even more motivated and compelled to keep working with you to find innovative ways to streamline the way you transact with citizens. Your feedback and suggestions help us to do that better each day.
If you'd like to learn more about the ways PayIt is simplifying government, visit our website.
Also, if you are already familiar and would like further discussions, please feel free to reach out to Luke Norris at firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time!