In St. Paul, Minn., technology won’t find its way into city government without a purpose. While shiny new tech is always a temptation for those in government — budget allowing — leaders in the city are looking to put it to work for more practical reasons.
St. Paul Chief Information Officer Sharon Kennedy Vickers explains that technology is great, but technology for a purpose is better. In her city, tackling the issue of equity is one area new tools might help to improve the lives of citizens.
"One of the things we’re doing in the city of St. Paul is we’re really thinking about putting the residents at the center of everything that we do,” the CIO said. “Our new mayor has an initiative centered around St. Paul for all, and understanding what that means is really inviting our residents and really listening and hearing. And so, anything that we do as it relates to technology, the user will be at the center.”
A conversation in the works explores data around disproportionate ticketing on snowplow days in communities of color. Kennedy Vickers sees an opportunity to narrow an identified communications gap using tools that could more effectively notify non-English speakers of the need to clear the streets during snow emergencies.