New York City Planning to Use Crowdsourcing for Efficient Operations

New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg has announced an aspiring new program, called Simplicity, focusing on getting ideas from the city employees for efficient functioning of the giant metropolis. The program will use enterprise-grade social networking technology for internal city employee collaborations and solicitation of their ideas. Simplicity will be handled by Silicon Valley tech company Spigit, which has created social networking tools for effective crowdsourcing, internal collaboration and sharing of ideas.

Bloomberg announced the plan during his annual “State of the Ciry” address. He said:

We are launching a broad vision for modernizing City government called ‘Simplicity. It is based on the idea that government should be organized around the needs of its customers, who are taxpayers, businesses, and service users. In the year ahead we’ll launch online forums where every City employee can post ideas that he or she thinks will improve services or save the City money. Others will be able to comment on those proposals, and then we’ll implement the best ones. We look forward to working with Spigit, the company that is powering our online forum.

Spigit said that initially the company will target 15,000 of the city’s government workforce for its first rollout. On the success of the pilot the program will be extended to the city’s entire workforce of more than 300,000. With Simplicity, the mayor and the local government officials expects to see quick and efficient tackling of city issues like operational efficiency, cost and resident services.

Paul Pluschkell, CEO and Co-Founder of Spigit commented that:

It is very exciting to see such passion and dedication around engaging City employees. There is so much that local, state and federal governments can learn by breaking down the barriers and providing an outlet for idea sharing and collaboration. Spigit is very excited to assist New York City in achieving a more transparent and open local government.

Currently, Simplicity is running in beta testing with small proportion of NYC employees, and following are some ideas that have already been signaled out for execution:

  • A centralized research and development unit for assisting city agencies to find information about analysis of new innovations and initiatives.
  • Development of an auction system for bidding and purchasing items relinquished by an agency.
  • Development of just-In-time inventory management system to eliminate ordering overstocked items again.
  • Identification of internal experts for employee training, rather than arranging training visits.
  • Using video conferencing tools as an alternative to travelling, in order to save travelling cost and working time in office.
  • Development of web-based help line for employees, this way the employees may contact experts from different departments for their expertise.

This initiative can turn out to be part of a bigger trend in future, as governments across the globe are looking to technology for efficiencies.