Five Steps to a Lean Organization
How Agency Leaders Are Doing More with Less
SmartComment was lucky to spend several days last month with the leaders of some of the nation's most innovative environmental agencies at the annual Environmental Council of States (ECOS) conference in Jackson, Wyoming.
Alongside clients, contacts and new friends, we attended sessions that focused on some of the most current - and critical - issues facing environmental regulators today: streamlining state coordination with the EPA, better communicating program outcomes with the public, improving the permitting process, and many other important topics.
The Engagement Advantage
Why Accreditation Agencies Are at Forefront of Public Outreach
For companies and government agencies operating in today's ever-vigilant consumer climate, having a dedicated, artfully employed digital public engagement program is no longer a nice-to-have feature for the forward-thinking few. Rather, installing an accessible and genuine method for interacting with stakeholders is an absolute necessity for organizations of all sizes.
Aided by powerful new interactive tools, modern public engagement yields untold advantages -- from gleaning data and reliable evidence that can accurately anticipate clients' ever-evolving needs, to developing organic channels to foster future growth or respond to a crisis.
The Golden Age of Go
Big Investments, Ideas Fueling Transportation's Future
If historians ever go searching for a start date of the modern era of transportation innovation, they might very well look at November 8, 2016.
On that day, millions of Americans -- divided as never before by issues of politics and party -- agreed almost uniformly on one thing: the need to prioritize our nation's transportation systems as the backbone of our future economic growth. Voters in 26 states approved transportation spending measures that will invest an eye-popping $200 billion over the next generation in upgrading, replacing, and reinventing the ways Americans get around -- from subways to highways to bicycles and beyond.
A Digital DIY Dilemma
Five Reasons Agencies Should Opt for a Software Partner
There was a time -- back when PCs were beige and "java" mostly referred to coffee -- that building in-house software was the go-to staple of any dynamic, forward-thinking organization. If a corporate enterprise or government agency identified a problem that could be better solved with a computer program, they did the proactive thing and either hired or assigned an in-house developer (or five) to build it.
Like buying Palm Pilots for the entire staff, this made sense at the time. After all, computer coding was still fairly primitive and Silicon Valley was almost singularly fixated on putting a "dot-com" behind large traditional institutions. Simply put, there just weren't enough specialized software companies building digital tools for an organization's many different needs.
DEQs Going Digital
How Environmental Agencies Are Revolutionizing Comment Management
State environmental agencies go by many names -- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), among others. But no matter the nomenclature, their task is the same: to enforce their state's environmental laws and protect its air, water and land.
In this role, environmental regulators often end up as referees between the citizens and businesses whose activities and interests affect the region's natural resources. And, like referees, you usually only hear their names when something goes wrong. An oil spill. An invasive fish decimating a native species. Groundwater pollution. Such hot-button issues are everyday subjects for a DEQ or DEP, which have the critical -- sometimes impossible -- job of solving such catastrophes to the closest satisfaction of a seemingly endless collection of stakeholders. Controversy is expected. Lawsuits are common.
However, there's an in-house task familiar to every environmental administrator that can be just as precarious as the delicate environmental issues they monitor. Namely, the hundreds or even thousands of public comment periods they're legally required to conduct and manage each year.