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Engagement Tech Firm CitizenLab Rebrands as Go Vocal

The move comes as the gov tech company seeks a greater profile in the marketplace, eyes more U.S. growth and plans to expand its AI-backed offerings. The CEO explains how the change came about.

Citizens meeting.
CitizenLab has a new name: Go Vocal.

The Brussels-based government technology firm focuses on building ties between local public agencies and their constituents, and has a growing presence in the U.S.

The new name, according to an executive, reflects how the company has grown and where it wants to go, while also reducing marketplace confusion.

The name change was in the works for almost a year, CEO and co-founder Wietse Van Ransbeeck told Government Technology.

“We felt CitizenLab was outdated,” he said.

That’s partly because the company wanted to move past the relatively limited concept of “citizens” and instead embrace the ideas of “residents” and “community.”

As well, the company, founded in 2015, is not “experimenting anymore,” Van Ransbeeck said.

Not only that, but other organizations have embraced their own Citizen Lab branding, and Go Vocal will help the Brussels firm stand out, he said.

Finally, the new brand “is pretty bold,” another attractive trait in the increasingly crowded and active field of gov tech.

“It’s a call to government, residents and partners to go vocal,” Van Ransbeeck said.

Go Vocal intends to function as a platform, not just a citizen engagement tool, reflecting a gov tech trend. To help it achieve that, Go Vocal will boost its investment in artificial intelligence, with generative AI representing a “whole new way of innovation” in this particular space, according to Van Ransbeeck.

Its Sensemaking tool already uses AI to help governments analyze community input and other forms of data to make reports and help officials make decisions, he said. The company aims to deploy that type of technology more often in the coming months and years.

Go Vocal has about 500 global clients, including larger cities such as Seattle, Dublin and Vienna. The company works with about 50 local governments in the U.S., Van Ransbeeck said, and plans to capture more of the U.S. market in the immediate future.

In St. Louis, the company’s technology helped more than 15,000 people weigh in about how to use $250 million in settlement funds stemming from the Rams football team leaving the city for California — an example of the types of projects Go Vocal helps to operate.

Community surveys and budget participation also stand as typical tasks handled by the company’s platform.
Thad Rueter writes about the business of government technology. He covered local and state governments for newspapers in the Chicago area and Florida, as well as e-commerce, digital payments and related topics for various publications. He lives in Wisconsin.