Dustin Haisler Dustin Haisler

Photo: Dustin Haisler, CIO, Manor, Texas

Winners of the Center for Digital Government's Best of Texas awards were announced Thursday, Feb 18. State and local agencies won honors for IT performance and innovation, with three nods going to local governments and four acknowledging state agencies.

The program's Visionary Award went to Manor, Texas, for its Manor Labs tool, which took a different spin on interacting with citizens.

"We were surprised. Manor's quite a small community with 6,500 citizens. There are only 35 full-time employees. It was kind of a surprise that we were even in the running, said Dustin Haisler, CIO of Manor.

Manor Labs is a citizen collaboration platform that the city deployed for citizens to submit technology ideas for the city and rate the ideas of others. Manor then chooses some of the proposals for implementation. The twist is the city has an incentive for fueling activity on the platform. Every time someone submits an idea, comments another's idea, or votes on an idea, that person wins "Innobucks points." The various citizen activities within Manor Labs are worth different amounts of Innobucks, which can be turned in for tangible prizes. For example, one million Innobucks points wins "mayor for the day" status, while 400,000 points can be traded for a ride-along with the police chief.

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Andy Opsahl  | 

Andy Opsahl is a former writer and features editor for Government Technology magazine.