Three key misconceptions about CivicTech

by Daniela Schmitzová

Practical myths clouding your CivicTech perceptions

 

In continuation to the previous blog post about five most common misconceptions, there are three more points that CIVIPORT would like to highlight from our practice:

 

1. IT department will need to take care of CivicTech solution

Although a certain engagement from the IT department might be needed, they wouldn’t have to be the primary users, and the degree of their participation in the upkeep will depend on the chosen solution. Some proprietary CivicTech tools offer full upkeep services and training related to their solutions so that press office, leadership, or project managers could easily use them. In case that the city decides to go for an open-source solution or even develop one itself the level of IT sector engagement goes up, which is not a bad thing but rather a choice to be made. Along with technology integration, there should be proper communication about the use of digital tools among both government workers, and citizens.

 

 

2. Civic Tech is going to solve all the problems 

 

Many municipal workers think that if they start using CivicTech, it will instantly skyrocket civic participation. Unfortunately, no kind of tech will give you 100% involvement if effective communication is not undertaken. This may include a range of efforts, from city posters to digital campaigns, that would accompany the kick-off of CivicTech. Additionally, for any real and meaningful impact, the technology needs to be inclusive of the full spectrum of demographics. For this to happen, the solution should be chosen with a specific set of criteria and target group in mind from the very beginning.

 

3. CivicTech is expensive

It is not surprising to encounter this notion amongst municipalities that don’t embrace multi departmental cooperation. Those who do, see that CivicTech can be a huge money saver rather than money spender. One has to understand how to harvest all the benefits:

  • Integrating CivicTech solution to make processes more efficient can save on future spending of municipal money;
  • it can benefit more than one project/department thus being very cost efficient;
  • average monthly fee of proprietary solutions is quite low
  • it can save time spent on mundane tasks, as well as help decision-makers predict and avoid risks.

 

As it is evident from the examples above, the confusion mostly comes from the complexity of the processes of CivicTech implementation. This indicates that the right installment of the tool and project processes around it are equally important as a solution itself. Many municipalities don’t know and don’t realize this. That’s why CIVICPORT offers a free consultation that sets them on the right thinking path and prevents them from making drastic mistakes.

 

The above-listed misconceptions and questions are the most common one in our practice. Have another experience? We’d love to hear about it!