Something like NYC’s BigApps competition might be just the thing to:
1. Get young, cool, talented, and creative people from all over the region focused on Springfield or Holyoke. (Add this to the list started here.)
2. Reinforce the commitment to accountability that Springfield’s CitiStat and 311 programs represent.
3. Engage residents. We’ve been discussing a neighborhood CitiStat tool since our “Municipal performance indicators that matter to residents” event in July. I’ll put this on the agenda next time we meet.
Web apps might be a little cart-before-the-horse in terms of digital literacy and broadband access among end users in Springfield, though we’re working on that. And this kind of thing must be combined with initiatives that meet residents where they are. How do we do that? Mentoring programs have proven to be particularly effective, and Mass Mentors just happens to have a training coming up in Springfield (Oct. 21-22). Details here.