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Rethinking County Services with 21st Century Tech: Highlights from #NACoAnn

Post by Luke Norris on July 27th, 2016

Last Friday, I was privileged to present with Stephen Goldsmith from Harvard Kennedy School at the CIO Summit, a part of the #NACoAnn conference in Long Beach.

He and I were asked to speak about the changing technology landscape and how Counties simply cannot overlook the importance of mobile in how they deliver services to residents.  Technology is changing the way people live their lives.

This is why:

  • 96% of individuals age 18-29 own a smartphone; 2/3 of citizens overall
  • When on their smartphones, citizens spend nearly 87% of their time using mobile applications, compared to mobile web
  • In 2014 the “mobile switch” occurred — more people began using mobile devices to access the internet


This data highlights the value and importance of user-centered design as a driver for how counties re-think service delivery.  Mike Bracken who previously led the government digital service in the UK says in The Strategy is Delivery:

“For digital services, we usually start with a detailed policy…. …We then look to embed that in current process, or put simply, look for a digital version of how services are delivered in different channels. This is why so many of our digital services look like clunky, hard-to-use versions of our paper forms: because the process behind the paper version dictates the digital thinking.”

With each leap in technology advancement, it advances people’s expectations of “meet me where I am, and quickly.” No matter if someone is on a phone, tablet, or PC, the expectation is that the experience must be simple and appropriate to the technology that they are using at the time and yet translate across mediums.  

Near the end of the session, we challenged leaders to the following:

  1. Make mobile a priority.  The combined city/county of New York City recently launched its NYC Digital Playbook in which they not only mention the focus on user-centered design, but also making mobile a distinct delivery medium priority.
  2. Start small.  There are a variety of problems that can be easily solved with lightweight mobile solutions, like SMS. Designing a big website or app may be too much for the actual steps needed to solve the problem.
  3. Set yourself up for success.  Break up enterprise wide RFPs or structure RFPs that allow you to partner with vendors who present the best solution, new business models or can help you solve a problem in a new way.

To find more information about how counties should be thinking about mobile technologies, and some recent stories shared at the conference, download the slides today (link at the bottom).

If you're interested in implementing PayIt's mobile platform for free in your local county, contact me to learn more.

Download Luke Norris' Talk

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