User Experience Designer + Product Manager
Thanks to Lauren Reid, we got the City of Honolulu's official Twitter handle changed from @HNL_Info to @HonoluluGov today. #win!
The City's Media team is a very traditional, non-innovative team that focuses mostly on press releases in the newspaper. I decided to advocate for a new media strategy to help the city better communicate to citizens all the good work it does. To this end, I arranged for a meeting between Jim Fulton, the city's Media Director, and Tara Coomans, the head of the Social Media Club (a group outside the city), as well as Burt Lum (who straddles both city employment and the tech community outside the city). Having Tara help Jim lay out his goals and the first 5 steps towards achieving them was great. Jim didn't even know Burt, which was a great double linkage. Now Burt and Tara will be working on a social media campaign (for free) for the newly launched Da Bus app (made by 2 of the city's employees) to demonstrate to Jim some of the civic engagement that is possible to achieve on a low budget. It was a great feeling when Jim said to Burt that they should stay in touch.
Update: Forest presented the social media campaign to the City Cabinet, who received it enthusiastically. This has now led to the Geeks on DaBus event:
I helped Louisa Tei in the Customer Service Dept for the City of Honolulu implement a quick little phone tree (e.g., "press 1 for motor vehicle registration..."). The city's information phone line (768-4385) has seen an 85-95% reduction in incoming calls requiring conversation with the city's information staff. Callers can now press a single digit that transfers them to the relevant service. Previously, ALL calls went to the city's information staff. Mary Jen in the city's Dept of IT was quick to implement this change, which targets the most frequently asked questions. As a result, the city's information staff is able to use their expertise to answer more complex questions.
One happy thing about this little win is that it wasn't a project anyone considered worth focusing on (other than myself, Gordon Bruce, and Louisa Tei). I'm so glad Louisa stuck with me through it, because the 85-95% reduction is way more than we'd foreseen!