Governments Innovate in Response to Fiscal Crisis

Who says governments can’t be innovative.  AZCentral reports on ways local governments there are creatively responding to the fiscal crisis:

Responding to a growing demand for library services in east Mesa, the city in 2011 opened an express library at a vacant strip mall for $360,000 rather than building a stand-alone library for as much as $10 million.

In Scottsdale, the city court in 2010 expanded an at-home detention and electronic-monitoring program for DUI offenders with no history of violence, making sure defendants stay employed and receive counseling. The move saved the city an estimated $1.44 million in jail fees the first nine months of the program.

Phoenix improved the city website in 2011, making it easier for businesses to pay taxes. The city has collected $3.7 million in tax payments electronically, eliminating administrative time. . .

It helps to ensure that the government’s culture supports innovative thinking by employees:

The Maricopa County Manager’s Office appointed an innovation manager who last year helped launch Idea Factory, an internal social network that allows its approximately 13,000 employees to submit ideas to increase efficiency or to save costs.

The system allows crowdsourcing of ideas, and employees can both pitch ideas and vote on them. Employees whose ideas get implemented receive a monetary reward.

Idea Factory has been recognized nationally as the first project of its kind launched by a large local government entity.

The full story is here.

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