From idea to citizen app in five steps
1. Pre-project to uncover needs, solutions, partners and content
A group of key people clarifiy needs and vision for the city’s citizen project. The platform is flexible and the technology can be adapted to the city’s needs. In this phase we test hypotheses and ideas on user groups to ensure that what we are planning actually meets the needs of the city and its citizens. Meetings with representatives of key volunteer organizations and organizers are effective and useful in this phase. And we make plans for the kind of citizen involvement the city prefers.
5 to 8 weeks tends to be a good time horizon for this phase, given that key people set aside sufficient time to contribute.
Deliverables: Design and visual profile, identification of relevant sources and information, schedule for upcoming work, description of the initial phases of the project with goals and objectives, visual prototypes, schedule with milestones.
2. Project initiation, structure and training
We initiate work by setting up the platform and the various tools as defined in the pre-project. This will take from 4 to 8 weeks depending on integration needs and response times from key city personnel. In parallel, the city continues the work to identify relevant information, define responsibilities and tasks, anchor the project internally, and externally with partners. We jointly work to identify and gather relevant city information.
Most of this information should be gathered automatically. We have a variety of tools that can be used to do this quickly and easily. Our advice is to avoid introducing new systems and we would like to avoid duplicating work at the city and partners. Training is done as closely to launch as possible.
3. Meetings with volunteers and mobilization of collaborators
This step can easily be conducted in parallel with step 2. The objective is to inform the community about the new service and to recruit local voluntary organizations, teams, clubs and associations. In our experience news of the planned service is positively and enthusiastically received. It is important to recruit the most influential and popular organizations first. These are typically broadly relevant among citizens, and will often bring the others along.
Brief information meetings are conducted with key volunteer organizations and leading organizers of local events. Prior to these meetings we have prepared beta versions that the city can demonstrate live, and the most important platforms have been prepared so that partners can start using them immediately. It is important that organizations do not have to wait too long prior to launch as they tend to lose patience with the process.
4. Personalization & sources
Now we are getting to the fun part, with information, events and stories starting to flow into the solution. Most of this setup is done by the city, with training, support and guidance from us. We build content menus, local interests, define neighborhoods, and link content and information sources to places and interests. We define content rules and build content feeds and rules for automatic notification services that can be selected. Simultaneously, we complete the work of linking the platform to relevant IoT solutions and sensor services if applicable.
5. Launch & improvement
Before the citizen service is fully launched, it makes sense to conduct a public trial period. Be open about plans for the service, and invite citizens to test and share experiences with you. Engaged users represent a fantastic resource, and it is our experience that people are happy to get involved by sharing advice, feedback, tips and their own content.
Following launch, it will be a continuous process to further improve the service. Remember: The launch is only the birth of the service. We would be happy to join you on this journey!