In my last City, I borrowed an idea that I first discovered in the private sector, called “Product Wishes”, and adapted it to the public sector by creating a web page called “City Service Wishes.” The premise was, if you could design City services any way you wanted — what would you do different? I don’t have a website devoted to that here in Kent (YET), but in the meantime I wanted to give you a chance to be City Manager for a day and tell me what you would do different.
The idea is to create a place for our customers to submit their ideas about City services. If you have ever said “If I was in charge, I would…”, then this blog is for you.
When resources are tight, it is more important than ever to understand our customers needs and to find new ways to do more with less. We’ll never be able to afford to do everything but we also can’t afford not to listen to new ideas.
The idea is to give our customers a chance to let their own ideas about City services be heard directly by the managers of those services. While every idea may not take root we are hopeful that this will prove to be invaluable in our efforts to serve you better — and if we’re lucky it may even produce a genuine service break-thru.
If you are considering submitting an idea, please try to avoid focusing on what is “not wanted” — instead tell us what “is wanted.” We welcome each and every idea but think of this as your chance to design your City services from scratch so focus on your ideal “City services” rather than limiting yourself to the existing services only. We do however request that you try to avoid making suggestions that require technology or equipment that has not yet been invented, , e.g., water system that doesn’t need water pipes.
This is also not the time to worry about how much it might cost or how difficult it would be to implement. We will worry about those issues later — for now just try to think about how City services could be changed to serve you better. With this in mind, we want to capture those ideas that are floating around at 30,000 feet, e.g., collect trash, garbage, and recyclables in the same truck — so don’t let yourself get bogged down at ground level, e.g., fix the pothole on my street. We are not disregarding those ground level problems but for now we want to think big.
Once an idea is submitted it will be forwarded to the appropriate manager to think about. We’re hoping that by posting the ideas on-line, your idea may stimulate another good idea from someone else. City services are community services so we are hoping to foster a community dialogue.
So get posting!
ps. If you think your idea is really good, and would work in other cities, here’s your chance to cash in. Read on…
The Better Government Competition (BGC) is an annual citizens’ ideas contest for improving governmental effectiveness. As one of the Pioneer Institute’s signature initiatives, the BGC provides an unrivaled opportunity for citizens, scholars, public policy leaders and business people to identify, analyze and present proposals to make government more efficient, and more effective. Ideas that have earned recognition from the BGC have inspired change at every level of government, and have saved Massachusetts taxpayers more than $400 million.
The theme for Pioneer Institute’s 16th Annual Better Government Competition is Building Competitiveness at the State and Local Level. We seek ideas to improve the quality and efficiency of government, strengthening our economy for both businesses and individuals. As ever, we welcome proposals for the reforms at the state level. We’d also like to encourage the reform of county and municipal government operations. Entries can describe ideas that have already been implemented, or innovations not yet undertaken. They can address any aspect of government: improved delivery of government services (including education, public order, housing, transportation, environmental protection, general regulations, etc.); fiscal reforms; and efforts to encourage business development and job creation.
Initial submissions should be 5-10 pages in length and include the following information:
§ a summary of the idea/entry
§ the problem it seeks to solve or has solved
§ a detailed description of the solution
§ the results it can or has produced
§ any current application of the idea, and its potential for Massachusetts
For a more detailed version of the competition guidelines, please go to:
The grand prize winner will receive $10,000; runners-up will receive $1,000 each for their proposals. For questions regarding the competition, please contact Shawni Littlehale at 617-723-2277 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.