tumblr_labyr67TAx1qazof9o1_500By Minsun Kim

The government and public agencies have provided invaluable services for the public. In order to deliver its essential services, in a traditional way of setting, the government unilaterally approach to the clients (public) through agencies, based on the “command and control” procedure. Modern government system, however, need whole different kinds of service delivery process, in which government has more opened and networked structure. This paradigm shift also affected how the government communicate with its clients, from the notice like “what we want you to know” to the conversation like “what you want from us,” and in sync with the recent social media revolution, the government makes efforts to engage the public more interactive way.

 

So, how can you successfully engage with your client and constituency?

Scott burns, Co-founder and CEO of GovDelivery had very insightful process and thoughts on this.

 

Agile Management Strategy?? 

One of the strategies of building database I found very interesting was his adapting “Agile Product Management” techniques which software developers use, into the public sector. Unlike traditional delivery methods – spending huge amounts of money over many months and years to eventually deliver possibly not quite the right thing or even the completely wrong thing, you launch not the perfect service at first, rather you start with the manageable amount of programs and keep testing and upgrading.

Credit: GovLoop

In this way, for the many nonprofit professionals and public officials who are overwhelmed by the pressure of online communications, this could be an another way of good starting point. You can do it by step-by step or by trial and error, for instance, after you make some good contents on the blog, then you can share these through Twitter, Facebook or YouTube. Maybe then, you can publish them by your newsletter, you can make testimonial pages if your clients would give you some good feedback.

 

C.O.P.E / APIs

He also touched on the more practical ways of communication using technologies. Among the ideas, C.O.P.E (Create One, Publish Everywhere) and crowdsourcing through open API (Application Programming Interfaces)s methods also can be helpful to reach people easily and effectively. For instance, if you make a press release for an emergency on your website, system automatically sends it by SMS, posts on Twitter and Facebook. Also, by opening your APIs, people can make some smartphone /web application using your open data. These show the way how government and public communicate interactively. You can read more on the C.O.P.E in here. (link: Guardian)

 

Possible Obstacles

You should think about some bumps you can encounter. How could we reach the population that are not familiar with these online things? What if you work for (rural) social service agency and your dominant clients are composed of elderly people who barely use internet and smartphone? This “digital divide” issue can make you hard to employ all of those online strategies. You might consider segment your clients by digital accessibility and reach them differently. In addition, you always consider how online communications make offline things happen,  in other words, you need to think about how each online connection you are making has real values.

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