A citizen-centric government is an expression of a vision that the most recent political commitments – among which, the Tallinn Declaration – are seeking to achieve by taking advantage of the available technologies and approaches for honing cumbersome administrative processes and delivering services that cater to citizens’ needs.
Citizens are fundamental enablers of seamless cross-border public services for businesses.
Within this framework, the CitizenCity initiative contributes to supporting these topics by representing the Citizen Focus Action Cluster’s advocacy group, whose main efforts are devoted to highlighting the centricity of citizens in the process of city making. Specifically, through the Societal Engagement Toolkit (SET), seeking to facilitate the implementation of an inclusive approach for bridging cities needs for social engagement with tools.
When we look at how cities extend into the lives of city dwellers, the effects of city administration touch many points. Some are quite visible in their “doing something”, while other – almost invisible interventions – are part of what brings a neighbourhood to life. Both aspects show there are a role and an opportunity for many companies to implement a citizen-centric approach and positive social impact.
The organic manifestations of user-centricity principles are necessary for transforming the citizen experience.
We met Newae and Etra, two companies with a unique view of citizens’ role in business strategy, and here is how they explained the impact their work has on the real world.
Newae understands we are transforming from a welfare state into a participatory society. It favours an integrated approach by fostering a cooperation with residents and civil servants. The Dutch company places great emphasis on communication with both the client and the end users. Another distinct trait is the combination of technology with residents’ perceptions: this innovative approach is called “Livable Streets” – “Leefbare Straat™” in Dutch.
By providing timely insight into the available technical opportunities and the financial consequences, Newae offers its clients realistic solutions, directly applicable to actual situations.
The key elements of Newae’s citizen perspective:
• Use of limited resources
• Sustainable balance
• Broad support make people happy
Additional information can be found in the full interview, available here.
We also had a chat with Grupo ETRA’s Director of Technology, Mr. Antonio Marqués.
For the last several decades ETRA has wanted to stay connected to the real needs of people, knowing that Energy and Transport have the highest impact on their quality of life. ETRA puts citizens at the centre and brings in multiple perspectives to support them. Taking a pragmatic approach to only address problems where solutions should be. They do this with a realistic feet-on-ground perspective and vision to serve citizens.
“We all know a smart city pilot will get front pages and smart city plans not as easily. What we need are sustainable efforts to keep responding smartly to citizens’ needs”, Antonio explained.
In applying proactive thoughtfulness for understanding citizens’ needs and habits, the company assesses citizens’ with the support of specialized agencies that provide them with insights on various sectors that affect the quality of our everyday life. A well developed and implemented approach to citizen engagement gives companies the capability of truly impacting citizens with the offered solutions/services.
One of the unique actions taken by ETRA is advocacy. The website www.Mobilityasaright.com supports both administrations to monitor and manage resources in real time and the user to have useful information on their mobiles, thus improving accessibility, equity and inclusion.
CitizenCity seeks to support these approaches by developing the SET as a solution platform that transfers knowledge from social engagement practices to city municipalities, SCCO1 projects and other EU funded programs.
So while ETRA and Newae provide very different solutions, they are part of the wide range of companies that cities rely on every day to provide service to citizens. Each of these companies has opportunities to engage with citizens in different ways and levels. What is similar is their committed response to serving citizens. As cities, EU funded programs and companies create the cities of our future, it is important that we find our own ways to bring citizens more central. SET helps connect engagement needs with the best-fit techniques for engagement and shares that learning with others.
By John Zib & Gemma Glorioso