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Better government through civic engagement

Using Accela To Meet Department Needs And Save Money

Guest Blog from City of Pittsfield, Massachusetts Recently our Building Maintenance Department informed us of the upcoming license renewal for their internal work order system for the City of Pittsfield. This system was used to report a building issue to the Building Maintenance department, and also housed all of their preventive maintenance calls. Upon further investigation, we learned the cost for renewing the license and bringing the application up to date would be a staggering $42,000. Accela to the rescue A search was conducted to find a less expensive suitable replacement. During the search process, I realized we had a product in our arsenal which could do the job. I approached the Director of Building Maintenance and told him I was pretty sure I could adapt the Accela Citizen Relationship Management (CRM) solution to fit his department’s needs. I met with his staff and examined their request submission, workflow and preventative m......
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Startup in a Day: Have You Accepted the Challenge?

Startup in a Day: Have You Accepted the Challenge?
Earlier this week, we hosted a webinar on the national Startup in a Day initiative. The White House is working with the National League of Cities, and has challenged governments across the country to reduce the new business licensing and permitting process to less than a day. As of last week, 71 cities and Native American reservations have taken up the challenge. I was joined by Clarence Anthony, Executive Director of the National League of Cities and former mayor of South Bay, Florida, and Peter Koht, who previously focused on small business support with the Economic Development Department in Santa Cruz, California, which inspired him to cofound OpenCounter. We’ve teamed up with OpenCounter to offer a solution that meets the needs of this national call to arms by making it easier for cities of all sizes to support new businesses. In fact, the City of Palo Alto launched OpenCounter’s business registration ser......
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Bringing the Ten Faces of Innovation to Accela

Bringing the Ten Faces of Innovation to Accela

It’s an exciting time to be a part of the Accela family! As a member of Accela’s Product Management team, which is responsible for product vision and planning, I need to understand what is important to government agencies. The team looks for ways to ensure our customers’ goals are met across all of our solution offerings. Pulling from different areas in and outside the company helps us accomplish this, which is why I attended IDEO’s Ten Faces of Innovation seminar led by coauthor Jonathan Littman.

The seminar brought people from Pandora, UCSF, Walmart, Cisco and, of course, Accela – a great group with varying expertise and backgrounds. I was excited to attend the seminar because it focused on using strategies to spark innovation within organizations, and it did not disappoint. The day consisted of lectures and several exciting group activities that pushed us to produce under pressure.

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Hacking for Civic Good at CodeAcross 2015

Hacking for Civic Good at CodeAcross 2015

Code for America is holding its fourth annual CodeAcross event this month in the U.S. and around the world. On February 20 & 22 join government agencies, developers, community organizers and others for a weekend of civic hacking and open data innovation.

This weekend coincides with International Open Data Day as well as the last weekend of the Code for America Fellows’ residencies in their partner cities.The CodeAcross events bring together passionate groups of people and provides an opportunity for them to get involved in their communities.

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Extending the Civic Platform to Connect Government and Citizens

Extending the Civic Platform to Connect Government and Citizens

With the Accela Civic Platform, we want to align government and citizens to build better communities.  By continuing to expand our platform, we can help agencies of all sizes with a wide variety of solutions.

Accela’s core focus has been around land and asset management and business licensing, so when we looked to grow our platform we stuck to offerings that fit and were an extension of these solutions. We have added Legislative Management, Recreation and Resource Management, Environmental Health and Safety, Citizen Relationship Management and Right of Way Management to our platform and continue to add new capabilities to help agencies innovate and engage citizens.

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Community in Action: Recap of CityCampSF

Community in Action: Recap of CityCampSF

Last month a passionate group of citizens gathered at the Code for America headquarters in San Francisco, California, to share, listen and take action to build a better community. I was one of the organizers of CityCampSF, an event that brought over 200 citizens together to discuss what is most important to them and their community.

The event kicked off with welcoming remarks from myself to an exciting mix of public, private and nonprofit sector citizens. The opening panel hosted by GovFresh revealed insights about pioneering civic innovation within the City of San Francisco from Chief Information Officer Jay Nath and Chief Data Officer Joy Bonaguro. The day continued with presentations and discussions on disaster preparedness, community development, legal code and more from other government technology leaders.

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