January 31, 2013 By Chad Vander Veen
What does it take to be No. 1? Winners of the Center for Digital Government's 2012 Digital Cities Survey ought to know. And they even shared some of their secrets during a webinar held Wednesday, Jan. 30 that was hosted by Bill Schrier, who is the former CIO of Seattle and current Deputy Director of the Center for Digital Government.
Representatives from the first-place cities -- Beth Niblock, CIO of Louisville, Ky; Bill Haight, CIO of Salt Lake City; Dan Rainey, IT director of Ann Arbor, Mich.; and Carl Drescher, IT director of Marana, Ariz. -- explained some of the key actions their cities have taken to reach the top spot in the survey. And while common themes emerged during the discussion, it was equally surprising that each city placed high value on different strategies.
But adapting to and leveraging change rang true for every city.
Digital Cities History
For 12 years, the Center for Digital Government, which also is owned by Government Technology's parent company e.Republic, has surveyed cities in four different categories based on population during its annual Digital Cities Survey. Each year there are a number of cities surveyed that consistently rank in the top 10 – cities such as Riverside, Calif., and Augusta, Ga.
Survey criteria focuses on results achieved by cities via the use of technology in operating efficiencies and realizing strategic objectives despite current fiscal constraints.
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.