I wouldn’t be the first person to voice a general disappointment of our government’s efficacy. Especially when it comes to their solving of the problems I care most about (number one on my list being gun violence). There seems to be a general disconnect globally in the priorities of the government and its people – and a much longer timeline of getting things done that we would like. Despite all this, some startups around the world are stepping in to change this status quo. These game changers are set out improve the ability for governments to solve the problems that matter most to the communities they serve and to improve communications between governments and their people.
Are you disappointed in your government’s ability to get sh*t done?
You’re not alone.
Here’s a solution – start using CTZEN.
Meet CTZEN. CTZEN is a mobile app for people to report problems in their communities that they feel are most urgent and important for their government to solve on an expedited timeline. This app gives governments first-of-its-kind access to insights regarding what is important to whom they serve by leveraging technology through crowdsourcing to garner data and insight to what matters most to us. This app maximizes the impact of government’s work on citizens so governments can know when a problem is happening, where it is and figure out how high to prioritize it on their agenda. For examples, removing potholes on a street that has a high rate of accidents or fixing the street lights where there is a high volume of crime. By identifying these problems in real time from those who are on the ground experiencing them and being able to identify the amount of harm they are causing, governments can prioritize creating efficiency and effective actions faster and can improve their ability to have a positive impact on the communities they govern and the people they are responsible for protecting.
CTZEN is a mobile app for people to report problems in their communities that they feel are most urgent and important for their government to solve on an expedited timeline.
But these are just the beginnings of CTZEN’s capabilities. The app is continuing to improve by adding new features such as GIS intelligent mapping and artificial intelligence to not only report problems after they happen, but leverage patterns and data to predict when problems will happen, creating the ability to prevent problems proactively before they plague people. To prevent that accident or crime. A.I. algorithms and GIS mapping inform public officials what to do next and how to prioritize their budgets. They can visualize those potholes, even overlay the data of the number of accidents that have happened or amount of money that was spent fixing damages from accidents across the region under their governance. The collection of data from citizens makes the app smarter and smarter the more data collected and algorithms can continue to instruct public officials more intelligently regarding where to prioritize resources before it’s too late. For the first time, governments are able to use quantitative information to make qualitative decisions proactively. To become predictive problem solvers before it is too late.
These are just the beginnings of CTZEN’s capabilities.
Though an app like CTZEN is good enough from a humanitarian point of view, there are perks for governments as well. The happier your citizens are (a.k.a. The faster you are at fixing the problems that they actually want to be fixed), the better your outcomes look for that upcoming election. Also, leveraging data and ability to predict these negative problems and patterns have financial pay offs – preventing the most costly damages before they damage your community and your limited budget. More so, public officials as citizens themselves have the opportunity to voice their concerns on a democratic platform, leverage the data collected by CTZEN to back up their case as opposed to pushing a seemingly arbitrary agenda. The government can make data driven decisions to solve problems and improve efficacy and improve their lives and popularity as public officials.
Though an app like CTZEN is good enough from a humanitarian point of view, there are perks for governments as well.
For instance, in Colombia, CTZEN was able to help the government save massive amounts of money by providing data on police distribution techniques that helped them avoid a decision to hire a large number of new police officers. By realizing that their problems were coming from lack of police in certain areas as opposed to lack of police as a whole, they avoided money spent on a problem that could fix itself and was able to reallocate these resources elsewhere.
It’s policy decisions like this on a micro level that are needed to comprise macro levels of efficacy on behalf of our government. And change the way many of us perceive the government as an unreliable actor in making the changes we want to see. These perks for governments include improving chances of reelection, keeping their party in power, reducing costs, improving their public appearance and approval, and creating laws and mandates that improve the livelihoods of their citizens, and likewise improving the lives of public officials themselves.
“ The most important thing for us is to know what’s the most important things for people and make this information accessible to governments who serve them, making inclusive democracies that give a voice to all and create transparent governments.”
– Daniel Marulanda, Founder of CTZEN
“By decreasing inefficiencies and connecting systems, we’re fixing communications between governments and citizens,” says CTZEN’s Founder Daniel Marulanda, “The most important thing for us is to know what’s the most important things for people and make this information accessible to governments who serve them, making inclusive democracies that give a voice to all and create transparent governments.” By connecting systems, CTZEN brings data and information by bridging gaps across government departments which usually are separated by siloed that barricade communications and effective operations. For instance, the transportation department in charge of vehicular safety and the infrastructure department in charge of safe streets can connect the dots between the increased number of accidents and the increased number of potholes on that same street. Part of why this model of crowdsourcing from citizens to inform government action is so effective is due to the fact that it enables governments to act more like businesses, solving the problems of their citizens similar to how businesses solve the problems of their customers. The better a business solves a problem, the higher the customer satisfaction, retention, and loyalty the customer has to that business – something again that should incentivize public officials when you think of citizens’ votes as the currency similar to money exchanged in business transactions. Apps like CTZEN create business type relationships between governments and those they are mandated to serve, relationships that are mutually beneficial and wildly more effective.
“ By decreasing inefficiencies and connecting systems, we’re fixing communications between governments and citizens. “
– Daniel Marulanda, Founder of CTZEN
CTZEN sells to governments for an annual fee depending on its size. The size of the government they work with is proportional to their size of their scale to solve problems in these regions. They are currently operating in 3 cities in Colombia and are in conversations with major cities in the United States, undergoing a current fundraising round in order to scale effectively into the US. If you are a government decision maker, reach out to their team to explore the potential of collaborating further. CTZEN’s Founder is most excited about CTZEN’s ability to change lives globally as well as use new technology to shift paradigms that currently breach the sense of trust between citizens and their governments. Shifting this paradigm relies on the ability to help governments understand what is important to their community, an ongoing challenge and core part of CTZEN’s work.
If you are a government decision maker, reach out to their team to explore the potential of collaborating further.
Be part of this change and download the CTZEN app (even if CTZEN currently isn’t operating in your region) to be part of CTZEN’s movement to help the voices of citizens be heard by their governments and improve the efficacy and efficiency of our governments, making them governments of the people, by the people, and for the people in action, and not just in word.
Be part of the change. Download CTZEN’s app here.