Innovation is possible even in small cities with very small budgets. I hope that we can work with more cities to innovate new solutions for the public-sector.
Just as the federal government is using online brainstorming with government employees and the public to generate ideas for saving money or going green, state and local governments are also using new technology to tap peopleâ€™s intelligence and expertise. The City of Manor, Texas (pop. 5800) has launched â€œManor Labs,â€ an innovation marketplace for improving city services. A participant can sign up to suggest â€œideas and solutionsâ€ for the police department, the municipal court, and everything in between. Each participantâ€™s suggestion is ranked and rewarded with â€œinnobucks.â€ These points can be redeemed for prizes: a million points wins â€œmayor for the dayâ€ while 400,000 points can be traded for a ride-along with the Chief of Police.
Manor is also one of the few cities currently using bar codes (known as QR or Quick Response Codes) to label physical locations around town. These bar codes can be scanned with a mobile phone to communicate historical and touristic information, data about the cost of a municipal services, or emergency management information. Manor is experimenting with techniques for providing different information to different audiences. If a resident scans a QR code outside a home for sale, she gets the floor plan and purchase price; the building inspector sees the inspection history; and the policy officer receives information about the current occupant.
You can keep up with the City of Manor’s innovative efforts at the new Manor 2.0 GovFresh page.