Applications Open for City Startup Challenge

Applications are now being accepted to help the City of West Sacramento solve civic challenges through the 2018 Startup In Residence Program. (STIR)

Last year’s STIR campaign resulted in the creation of a new app to help the City address homelessness.

Startup In Residence 2018 is an opportunity for small tech firms to team up with the City in three specific areas:

Civic Engagement

Problem Statement: Develop a community engagement application for the City of West Sacramento, that would allow low-stakes, gamified interactions with constituents.

Context: The City of West Sacramento is striving to understand the aspirations and priorities of its residents in order to deliver policies and programs that the community loves – and we want to accomplish that goal while minimizing the need for residents to take time out of their busy lives to attend City meetings.   As articulated in Mayor Cabaldon’s 2013 Ted X presentation,  the City is trying to move past the public meeting, and to explore lower-stakes approaches to gathering valuable community input.

Technology Need: The City is seeking to develop a tool that will allow low-stakes, gamified interactions with constituents that will yield insights into their priorities and values. Like “Tinder for cities,” this application would present users with a series of pictures and invite them to swipe left or right to register their opinion. Similar programs already exist; however, the City is seeking a product that does more than facilitate expressed preferences about photos.   We are looking for a program that tracks multiple characteristics within each photo to help the City understand not just which photos are more popular, but what underlying factors within the photos might be driving that outcome. By eliciting revealed (rather than expressed) preferences from its constituents, the City can enact policies that meet resident expectations while minimizing the need for residents to attend public meetings.

Apply here. Deadline is December 10,2017

Special Event Permitting

Problem Statement: Design a user-friendly special event permitting application that will improve the City’s review of the permit applications for staff and applicants.

Context: The West Sacramento Parks and Recreation Department maintains all public parks and trails within the City, schedules and staffs private and special events in City parks and buildings, operates a full service recreation center, and community center, and offers a variety of recreation activities to all ages. Additionally they operate two preschools, and a quality in early care and education program serving all preschools within City limits. The Parks Department administers the City’s Special Event Permit process, which applies to public or private events that meet certain thresholds. The software currently in use to track special event permit applications is not user friendly, and does not facilitate timely review of applications or the tracking of relevant information for the City.

Technology Need: Parks and Recreation seeks a software product that will improve the City’s review of Special Event Permit applications by reducing the potential for human error, better tracking revenue, ensuring needed information is collected, and avoiding duplicative requests of staff. The software should be capable of showing all available venues for rental by the public or staff, and should include a simple, user-friendly, application with user inputs driving distinct back-end approval processes for different types of event. Revenue should be tracked in order to identify income and expense for rental facilities and staff should be able to easily and quickly pull up a Special Events permit request, or generate an invoice.

Apply here. Deadline is December 10,2017


Problem Statement: Redesign how the City engages volunteers by creating an engagement tool that would facilitate matching city-focused opportunities with local volunteers.

Context: Promoting volunteerism in the community is one of the City’s key strategies for continuing to meet constituents’ needs within increasingly constrained budgets. There is a substantial interest among community members in volunteering; however, the organization, management, and execution of these volunteering engagements is time-consuming for the City, and pulls staff away from other community priorities. West Sacramento has over 34,000 residents between ages 15 and 64. If just 5% of this cohort would volunteer four hours per year, the City could generate almost 7,000 person-hours of community effort, or the equivalent of three full-time employees.

Technology Need: The City is seeking a software tool that would facilitate matching volunteers with volunteering engagements through a variety of relevant variables, including day/time, duration, type of work, physical demands, and more.   Similar products already exist that are oriented towards non-profits; however, the City is looking for a program that is locally-oriented; city-focused (though non-profits could also participate); and includes expanded features such as ratings by volunteers of volunteer opportunities (and vice-versa); a simple, attractive and intuitive user interface to facilitate participation from those with limited technological experience; multiple language support; and gamified recognition for volunteers and the local entities that put them to the most effective use.

Apply here. Deadline is December 10,2017

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