The Philly311 Mobile App constantly adds widgets to improve the way Philadelphia residents, visitors, and businesses interact with city government. These widgets range in functionality, connecting customers with municipal services, seasonal information, and neighborhood beautification tools. This summer’s “Excessive Heat” widget meets all three of these categories.
Created as an on-the-go resource for when the city government issues an excessive heat warning, the widget is packed with phone numbers, links, and information to keep every Philadelphian safe through the hot summer. Here’s what the widget has to offer.
Cooling Center Information: Cooling Centers are air-conditioned environments where residents can take refuge during excessive heat. To locate a City of Philadelphia Cooling Center, click here.
Department of Public Health Tips to Keep Cool: Find the list here.
Elderly Assistance: Check on your friends and neighbors who are elderly or have medical conditions. Contact the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging’s Senior Hotline 215-765-9040.
Parks and Recreation’s Pool and Sprayground Schedule: Click here for 2014’s schedule.
Emergency Air Conditioning Complaints: If you or someone you know is a patient or resident of a hospital or nursing home (commercial only) without air conditioning, please contact 311 via phone, mobile app (Use category: OTHER); email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Twitter/Facebook (@Philly311) to enter a License and Inspections request for inspection. L&I will respond within one business day.
To have these resources (and any more) at the palm of your hand, download the Philly311 Mobile App. The app is free for all iPhone, Android, and Blackberry devices.
What can we accomplish with a little collaboration? A lot. Last week five City departments released a total of 15 new data sets in support of Azavea’s EcoCamp event. Among those contributing were the Streets Department, the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, the Community Life Improvement Program (CLIP), Parks and Recreation, and the Water Department.
EcoCamp is a series of events “promoting sustainability and the environment through technology.” Held June 20-22, the events included workshops, an “unconference” (where sessions are led by conference attendees), and a hackathon, a contest for teams of civic hackers to develop software or other technology-driven solutions to the city’s challenges.
The departments’ new datasets were all environmentally-themed. City departments worked hard to release data for EcoCamp. Mining, scrubbing, and releasing data for public consumption are tedious tasks but these efforts are important. Not only does releasing data work to increase government transparency, it also provides an opportunity for passionate Philadelphians to build software that will improve the lives of other residents. This is why departmental efforts to release data should be celebrated; released data means more tools and apps for Philadelphians like PHL Crime Mapper, baldwin.ph, and schoolbudget.phl.io.
“Data driven decision making is critical when spending precious dollars solving complex problems such as littering and low recycling rates. We are thrilled that folks are using our data to help us better understand root causes and enable the Department to clearly focus its education and outreach efforts.” Commissioner David Perri, City of Philadelphia Streets Department
The Streets Department released five datasets for EcoCamp Philly including:
- Code Violation Notices
- Big Belly Waste Receptacle Locations
- Litter Index
- RecycleBank Participation
- Recycling Division Rates
Parks and Recreation released:
- Street Tree Plantings
- Street Tree Prunings
- Street Tree Removals
- TreePhilly Yard Tree Giveaways
The Community Life Improvement Program (CLIP) released:
- Vacant Lot Cleanups
- Exterior Property Cleanups
The Water Department released:
- Rain Barrel Database
- Green Stormwater Infrastructure
Other releases included:
- The Mayor’s Office of Sustainability released Energy Benchmarking Compliance data
- Big Belly released six months of usage data for their solar powered waste receptacles
- The University Bike Coalition, working with the Mayor’s Office of Transportation & Utilities, released their Bike Rack Demand Survey
The datasets can be found here. Several representatives from these departments also attended EcoCamp Philly, leading workshops and helping at the hackathon.
EcoCamp Philly proved to be a success, yielding five projects from the hackathon. These included Stormfighter, a project by Chris Nies who used the Water Department’s rain barrell data, sewer system data, impermeable land data, and green infrastructure data to recommend ideal locations for rain barrels. A team named LitterDexPHL (a group of mostly Haverford College students) created a map of litter areas using RecyclingBank and litter data, pairing that data with demographic and language data. The project hopes to help the Streets Department better identify target areas for its litter reduction and recycling campaigns.
The Philly Urban Agriculture project intended to expand on Grounded in Philly, an app that filters properties by land permeability, shade cover, land slope, and other sustainable features to identify potential spaces for urban agriculture. The project used watershed, land permeability, building footprints, and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s land use data. A project called MyPark used park boundaries and trail data from Parks and Recreation to create an app for park users to report problems and take ownership of parks and trails. Finally, MilkCrate, a startup that’s building an app for local and sustainable living, used farmers markets and healthy corner stores data to to create a map to locate sustainable businesses.
Here are a few of the results from the weekend via Twitter:
The classification for misplaced waste can get a little tricky. Here’s how to tell if you should file an Illegal Dumping or Maintenance Residential complaint:
Illegal Dumping refers to waste that is inappropriately placed in the public right-of-way. This includes streets, parks, and other public property. If someone places his/her trash along side of your trash in the street, the complaint will be filed as Illegal Dumping. This complaint is handled by the Streets Department.
Maintenance Residential refers to waste that is inappropriately placed on private property. This complaint is handled by the Department of Licenses and Inspections.
*If you are calling Philly311 about either of these two complaints, you are encouraged to share as much information as possible regarding the source of the misplace waste. This can include a license plate number, a car model, or a description of an individual. This information will be passed along to the Police Department. If such information is not included, the waste will be dealt with by the proper department but the perpetrator will not be identified.
**Another Philly311 Hack is to download the Philly311 Mobile App. While the actual contact center is open from 8:00am -8:00pm on Monday-Friday’s, the mobile app allows you to enter service requests 24 hours a day. Download the Philly311 Mobile App here, and follow @MOBI311 on Twitter for tips.
We hope this tip helps!
As we begin to release new episodes of Philly311 TV, I thought I’d write a post about the importance of these videos from a customer service standpoint.
Philly311 TV is the digital engagement effort of the Philadelphia city government’s non-emergency contact center. I serve as the host of the show and interview a diverse range of employees throughout city government. We created the show as part of our multi-channel engagement strategy to provide customers with more information and access to our organization.
After lessons learned from Season 1 (filming 30-minute, talk-show formatted episodes) we decided to move to a more flexible format that would provide more value to our customers. In Season 2, we still film casual conversations in a studio setting, however, we cut these conversations into vignettes in post-production to streamline information for our customers.
With these vignettes, we can provide quick, immediate answers to some of our customers most frequent questions. We can use these videos to populate our social media streams, meaning that customers can see answers to their questions on their newsfeeds before they even ask.
Here’s a great example:
Another benefit to using video to answer customer questions is that it humanizes your organization. If customers can see that real people, who care, are behind your organization, they will be more likely to engage. It’s always better to have an explanation come from a person (or a video of a person) than from a word document, FAQ list, or an instruction manual.
Providing quick, engaging video answers to our customers has been a relatively easy process, and could be for your organization too. What are your thoughts on the using video for customer engagement?
Rosetta Carrington Lue is the Chief Customer Service Officer and Senior Advisor to the City of Philadelphia’s Managing Director. Follow Rosetta on Twitter @Rosettalue or visit her blog at www.rosettacarringtonlue.com
The Philly311 Neighborhood Liaison Program hit a major milestone today, registering its 1000th participant. The program had 1,026 participants by day’s end.
Hitting this milestone means that over 1000 community heroes across the city have been empowered to directly enter service requests into 311’s system. These community members are educated on municipal services and often become the centralized voices of their neighborhoods. In addition to the 1026 civilians trained through the Neighborhood Liaison Program, over 900 Philadelphia Police officers are also trained to enter requests into the 311 system.
“It’s so great that over 1,000 people are trained in our system, but we need more. We need more community heroes.” Philly311 Community Engagement Coordinator Daniel Ramos
The Philly311 Neighborhood Liaison Program recently partnered with Philly KeySpots for a technology upgrade. Now the program has access to a mobile computer lab of over 30 laptops, meaning that community organizations do not have to have access to technology or partner with other organizations to receive training.
The Philly311 Neighborhood Liaison Program provides free training to community organizations across the city. To request a training, or to learn more, email email@example.com. Also, check out the program’s official video:
Congratulations to Daniel and the Neighborhood Liaison Program!
Najeeb Edens is a Philly311 agent who enjoys stepping out from behind the phones and into the community when answering customer’s questions.
Philly311 has a long history of community engagement. The Philly311 Neighborhood Liaison Program was created in 2009 to empower community heroes to directly enter and track service requests in the 311 system. Philly311’s Community Engagement Coordinator Daniel Ramos facilitates this program, gives presentations, and passes out marketing materials across the city to spread the word about 311 and its services.
Now Daniel’s elicited the help of Najeeb Edens to take Philly311’s community engagement efforts one step further.
“It’s great to have an actual agent like Najeeb out in the community. With his experience taking calls, he is a human knowledge base for municipal services.” Daniel Ramos
On the other side of the 311 system, Najeeb knows every service request, the information required to make a request, and the time-table it takes for service to be delivered. Najeeb takes this knowledge with him as he assists Daniel, sometimes giving presentations, sometimes hitting the pavement delivering brochures door-to-door. Najeeb loves interacting with people in the community and sharing his knowledge. What he loves most? Encountering someone who has never heard of 311.
“A lot of people don’t know about 311. We actually empower them, because after we’ve finished explaining the service, they have the tools to get their issues resolved.” Najeeb Edens
What helps the most in Nejeeb’s position is being an active member of his own neighborhood. He loves the Philly311 Neighborhood Liaison Program because it spreads the word about Philly311, and the knowledge of municipal services, to any neighborhood willing to participate.
“The neighborhood you live in belongs to you and your community. You have to take ownership. The Neighborhood Liaison Program gives people the power to do something, to make a difference.” Najeeb Edens
Thankfully, there are employees like Daniel and Najeeb looking to empower every neighborhood. If you’re interested in learning more about the Philly311 Neighborhood Liaison Program, contact Daniel Ramos at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the program’s official video.
It’s that time of year again and Philly311 is proud to welcome its latest group of summer interns. Selected through the Mayor’s Internship Program, Philly311′s summer interns come from diverse backgrounds and bring varying goals of how they’d like to contribute to city government. Each summer, these interns bring creativity and a fresh perspective to the department. This group is no different. Let’s get to know them:
College: Hamilton College
Majors: World Politics and German
Internship Duties: Charlotte will work directly with Community Engagement Coordinator Daniel Ramos. She will help with various community engagement projects to help grow the Philly311 Neighborhood Liaison Program.
What to you hope to get out of this internship?
“I would like to work on projects where I feel like I’m making a positive impact on the community.”
College: Washington University in Saint Louis
Majors: Finance and Spanish
Internship Duties: Jeremy will work with Administrative Operations Manager Graham Quinn and Business Analyst Lenwood Greenwood to improve call center processes and Philly311’s knowledge base system.
What do you hope to get out of this internship?
“I would like to learn about how city government operates from the inside and how the community engages with city government from the outside.”
College: Indiana University
Major: Public Affairs
Internship Duties: Samantha will work with Knowledge Base Liaison and Social Media Coordinator Kimberly Adams on projects relating to social media, the Philly311 Mobile App, and the knowledge base system.
What do you hope to get out of this internship?
“I want to learn about how the role of city government affects the everyday lives of Philadelphia residents.”
Welcome Charlotte, Jeremy, and Samantha! Have a great summer!
Lue was named a finalist for the Silent Hero Award, “recognizing a public service leader of any age who has operated behind the scenes, silently working in a dedicated and committed fashion, without the limelight, who has laid the foundation for stellar public service results and community change at the local, national, or international level.” Lue has worked behind the scenes in Philadelphia city government to improve its customer service operations. In just 5 years, she has helped implement Philly311, the Philly311 Neighborhood Liaison Program, the Citizen’s Engagement Academy, the Customer Service Leadership Academy, the Philly311 Mobile App, the Customer Service Officer’s Program, and is currently leading the effort to implement a new 311 Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, among other efforts.
Of the nomination, Deputy Mayor/Managing Director Rich Negrin said:
Without fanfare, Rosetta has quietly spearheaded our efforts to usher in a new era of citizen engagement in Philadelphia. Her diligent behind the scene efforts are empowering residents to better their communities and improve quality of life in many of our most challenged neighborhoods. Her tireless efforts are most worthy of this special recognition.
Of her own nomination Lue said:
I’m honored to be recognized by such prestigious organizations, among such innovative colleagues. I want to thank the City’s leadership, as well as staff across the organization, for their support in making these customer service implementations possible. I’m excited to see what we accomplish next.
The NextGen Public Service Awards and training bring together those dedicating their intelligence, exuberance, and professional lives to improving and invigorating the public service field. The ceremony will be held on July 23, 2014 in Washington, D.C.
Traditional leadership models usually wield power from the top of the organizational hierarchy. Power flows down through the organization not unlike the typical command and control structure found in the military. In contrast, a servant-leader empowers others within the organization and puts the needs of others first as they help staff develop and achieve optimal performance.
Further still, service centered leadership goes beyond the servant leadership model and drives the “in service of others” philosophy through the entire organization, even to the customers or citizens they serve. It is not about one great servant leader at the top, but an army of leaders and employees all committed to a service mentality to achieve great results down the line. Unlike other leadership styles, service centered leadership is not about being at the top of an organization; it’s about affecting those around you and contributing to an overall culture of service.
Significantly, you don’t need to be a public service organization to find success with this approach. All of our organizations are working to serve stakeholders that are important to us. Whether its customers, citizens, shareholders, students or clients, a passionate commitment to service is often the life-blood of any great organization.
Mothers In Charge
A few weeks ago, Mothers In Charge (MIC) held their national convention here in Philadelphia. MIC is a group of mothers who tragically lost their children to gun violence and now passionately advocate for non-violent conflict resolution and peace. After three days of interacting with Dorothy Johnson-Speight, Director of MIC, and leaders from the public, non-profit, and academic sector, a distinguished Doctor from North Carolina, who attended the conference, stood to address conference attendees. He humbly explained how he had worked for two big city mayors, as well as a governor, and he had never seen the type of leadership around the gun violence issue he had witnessed here in Philadelphia. He summarized the type of Service Centered Leadership I’m talking about:
“You have something special going on with your leadership in Philadelphia. You know what service is all about. It’s not about taking care of yourself; it’s about using your position to take care of others.”
That level of leadership is what we aspire to. While I don’t know whether we achieve it every day, when we are at our best we are using our positions to serve others. We are constantly trying to improve the lives of others for the greater good of our community, our organization, our employees, and our customers and citizens.
Father Knows Best
Perhaps the best example of this form of leadership is Pope Francis. The Pope is the international face of the Catholic Church, the spiritual leader to an estimated 1.2 billion followers. Despite the fact that he is half a world away, this important leader is influential right here in Philadelphia. And if City leaders have their way, he will make even more of an impact in Philadelphia in 2015.
Recently, Mayor Nutter and a group of Pennsylvania delegates traveled to Rome to ask the Pope to visit Philadelphia during the World Meeting of Families, which will be hosted in Philadelphia in 2015. While a Papal visit would generate millions of tourism dollars to the region, there is another reason that City leaders are so genuinely excited to host Pope Francis in Philadelphia: he practices service centered leadership and personally embodies many of the best qualities of a leader.
Pope Francis is a very different type of Pope. There’s a way about him that has caught the world’s attention as he quickly works to revitalize the Catholic Church. While his famous “Who am I to judge?” and other tolerant views have certainly distinguished him, it’s Pope Francis’ consistent “service-above-all” leadership that has helped set him apart from his predecessors. Pope Francis has made service his top priority and (perhaps more importantly) through his personal example, has driven this priority through the entire church hierarchy.
First, at the very beginning of his Papacy, Pope Francis chose his name after Saint Francis of Assisi, a humble Catholic friar who dedicated his life to serving the poor. Since that time, Pope Francis has honored that name by calling for a church that “is poor, for the poor” immediately after his election. Then, he chose not to adorn himself with the more elaborate garments and shoes of his predecessors. He has been publicly critical of extravagant spending by subordinates, setting an important tone at the top. Pope Frances has charged Vatican leaders to sell their desk and has urged them to “go out and find the poor.” (The Pope sends archbishops letters each morning from followers who write to him asking for help.) Pope Francis has also invited the homeless to his dinners and has even secreted out of the Vatican (in a humble disguise) late at night to feed and commune with the poor, a behavior he was known for as Archbishop of Buenos Aires. His is most definitely a service centered leader.
Pope Francis’ approach was on display when during his meeting with Mayor Nutter he humbly asked the Mayor to pray for him. The Mayor was a little taken back (by the fact that the Holy Father would desire his prayers) and told him he would certainly pray for him but that he would welcome his prayers as well. I found this story amusing. Two service centered leaders each humbling themselves before each other asking for prayers from the other. As a Philadelphian, I was proud of that moment.
Leadership for Today
The traditional models of leadership no longer apply. Today’s leaders must make service of others the priority if they are to empower and engage employees and stakeholders in new ways that will achieve great outcomes. Today’s employees require more of their leaders if they are to stay engaged and continue with the organization long term. Today’s customers and citizens require more from their leaders as they seek to connect with and hold leaders accountable in ways they never have before. Today’s leaders must use their influence to serve others both inside and outside of their organization. Only then will we achieve true service centered leadership that results in great service for all of us.
Rich Negrin is the City of Philadelphia’s Managing Director and Deputy Mayor for Administration and Coordination. Service Centered Leadership is the Managing Director’s blog series appearing on PhillyInnovates. Follow Rich on Twitter @RichNegrin.
A few weeks ago, I was honored to welcome more than 200 Chief Information and Technology Officers to Philadelphia. We candidly discussed the challenges we face in closing the talent gap around technology and the importance of STEM education. The event was also a great opportunity for me to highlight many of our efforts around innovation. I am proud to say the room was “a buzz” over the progress we have made in Philadelphia over the last few years.
Last week, the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Innovation and Technology was recognized for one of its most successful years to date. The StateScoop 50 Awards, honoring state and local government’s “best and brightest” presented the City of Philadelphia with not one but THREE awards this year. The City’s Chief Innovation Officer, Adel Ebeid won a “State Leadership Award.” Ashley Del Bianco, Program Manager for Innovation Management, won a “State Up and Comer / Most Inspiring NewComer to Watch Award.” And the City’s newly piloted Academy for Municipal Innovation (“AMI”) won a “State Innovation of the Year Award.” All three of these awards were well deserved.
Under Ebeid’s leadership, the City has seen success in innovation management, mobile technology, G.I.S. services, open data, and improved IT infrastructure, among other areas. Ashley Del Bianco has been an essential part of the City’s expanding innovation management effort, including but not limited to, the KeySpots program, which helps to close the digital divide in our poorest neighborhoods, and our new Academy for Municipal Innovation which provides our municipal employees with the training and tools to innovatively solve problems into the future.
Ebeid and Del Bianco have been working in their new roles for years, however, the Academy for Municipal Innovation’s win was especially significant since the program only launched this past January. The Academy, a first of its kind for city government, partnered with Philadelphia University in an effort to build capacity and institutionalize creative thinking and innovation in the municipality. Nineteen (19) selected City employees, worked through an 8-week program at PhilaU to learn the tools and techniques of innovation used to find solutions to complex problems. Significantly, at an official graduation ceremony, participants formally received a framed certificate in Municipal Innovation. With this inaugural class, and more to come, the academy will create a network of innovators who will then spread the innovation gospel throughout City government. The StateScoop 50 Awards “honor the best and brightest who make state and local government more efficient and effective.” To see more of the StateScoop 50 winners, click here.
Congratulations to Adel, Ashley, and AMI!
Take It To The Lab
These great efforts are just the beginning of our innovation efforts. Next month, we will launch the first true Municipal Innovation Lab right here in Philadelphia.
During the Nutter administration, the City of Philadelphia has made innovation a priority. We have seen the creation of a Chief Innovation Officer, an Office of Innovation Management, a Chief Open Data Officer, a Director of Civic Technology, an Office of New Urban Mechanics, and an important shift in culture that embraces innovation and creative problem-solving. We strive for a culture of continuous improvement. A physical innovation lab that sits upon the top floor of our Municipal Services Building with a majestic view of City Hall will serve as both a concrete commitment to these changes and a vehicle to expand our innovation efforts across the City. It will also serve as an important symbol to all stakeholders that we are truly in the innovation business.
Currently, Philadelphia city government views itself as a convener, facilitator, champion, and advocate for innovation in the city. The innovation lab will further these roles by serving as a publicly-sponsored R&D lab to innovate inside and outside of city government. This will be accomplished through a range of core functions and programming. Specifically, the lab will:
- Open a creative technology enabled space that energizes participants around innovative thinking and problem solving in an atmosphere never before seen in municipal government. Put simply, the space will be bright, colorful, and just cool.
- Provide a location for the Academy of Municipal Innovation to hold classes, meetings, and brainstorming sessions.
- House a formal process of ideation (facilitated by the Center of Excellence or AMI graduates) through which teams of City employees can solve old problems in new ways.
- Facilitate projects/initiatives/events sponsored through the City of Philadelphia’s Innovation Fund (in addition to other efforts related to the Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia).
- Provide a location for senior executives and city leaders across departments to meet around innovation, strategic planning and other project management efforts.
- Sponsor hackathons (collaborative tech events focused on software projects), specifically internal hackathons, and other tech-related programming for City employees.
- Provide programming for the City’s youth, including but not limited to, hackathons, and other tech-related activities where neighborhood youth can be exposed to technology and mentored by City employees.
- Space to highlight partnerships with the local tech community around emerging technology, current partnership efforts and potential joint programming opportunities.
Through this innovation lab, we will see our innovation efforts spread to every part of city government, and more importantly, outside of it.
The lab will see public-private sector partnerships, collaboration between government and constituents, and inclusive programming for community members. The lab will reach into our neighborhoods and pull-in our children to excite them about public service and the power of technology to create positive change. The lab will be a living, breathing catalyst for innovation—innovating around our fundamental purpose—to improve Philadelphia and the everyday lives of our citizens.
“As we take our thoughts and systems to the cloud, let us keep our feet firmly rooted in our neighborhoods.” Rich Negrin, CIO Executive Summit on May 6th.
With these important efforts we hope to institutionalize innovation, not just for the remainder of our administration, but for the future as we change the way City government thinks. Working together, we believe Philadelphia, a City of so many firsts, can help lead the way on innovation for our entire community. Today’s leaders must make sure innovation is baked into their teams DNA. Today’s leaders must not only create the conditions for innovation, they must boldly demonstrate the behaviors that make innovation possible throughout their organization.
What are some of the things your team is doing to encourage innovation?
Rich Negrin is the City of Philadelphia’s Managing Director and Deputy Mayor for Administration and Coordination. Service Centered Leadership is a blog series appearing on PhillyInnovates. Follow Rich on Twitter @RichNegrin.