From Harford County government:
Initiative allows input from citizens and employees to help improve efficiencies and better connect citizens with their government
Harford County Executive David R. Craig has announced the implementation of a new ideas management software site in an effort to encourage input from citizens as well as employees, to help improve efficiencies in Harford County Government. The initiative called “Ideas at Work” will be introduced to the public this week during the Harford County Farm Fair, and is the first of its kind to be launched in the state.
“Harford County is always looking for new and innovative ways to engage our employees and citizens. The only way to create an effective and more efficient government is to connect with our citizens, they are who we represent and serve. We believe that the growing popularity of on-line social networking and blog sites will allow citizens to easily become familiar with this new way of interacting with government,” stated County Executive Craig.
Following a review of what Manor, Texas was doing to engage their employees and citizens, Harford County Government contacted the software firm SPIGIT for assistance. Harford County was looking for software that was easy for both employees and citizens alike to use. The goal was to obtain feedback in a manner that was not cumbersome and promoted interaction rather than intimidation.
The “Ideas at Work” initiative was introduced to county employees earlier this summer and is still in its infancy stage. Thus far there have been nearly 50 ideas submitted by employees for consideration in helping streamline and improve government operations.Thus far county employees have been eager to share their ideas on how help make Harford County Government one of the best places to work in the region.
“Through “Ideas at Work” we hope to tackle a variety of issues of concern and importance to both employees and citizens, including the budget and budget process. The SPIGIT software program allows citizens to have input throughout the year rather than just during the budget process, regarding how Harford County should allocate taxpayer dollars,” Craig remarked.
The “Ideas at Work” initiative involved a graduation three stage process: Incubation,Validation and Emergence. Ideas which are submitted through SPIGIT first go into the Incubation stage where the community drives whether the idea will be elevated to the next level through viewing, voting and commenting on the proposal. When an idea moves to the second stage, Validation, there must be two reviews completed that together give the proposal a three (3) out of five (5) rating.
When a user completes a review they must rate the idea in five (5) different areas: ease of implementation, ability to solve existing problems, sustainability, feasibility and legality. This allows another filter to be in place and allows experts within the category to weigh in and provide their opinion on the idea. Once an idea or proposal reaches the final Emergence stage, County department heads convene to assess the idea and what will be required to implement the proposal.
Currently there are three (3) ideas pending in the Emergence phase that are under review by department heads. One proposal has already been implemented.
“We look forward to hearing not only from what the citizens of Harford County have to say, but also people from other states and countries as well,” County Executive Craig remarked. “Harford County is part of a global economy and this program will give us and others an opportunity to learn from one another. It is also our goal to bring this initiative of open government to the forefront and show how positive the Internet and growing popularity of social media applications can be used to help better connect citizens to their government,” County Executive Craig stated.