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Some people are adamant that there is no such thing as magic. But, we assure you—there is. It’s called technology. Technology makes our lives easier, our day-to-day tasks more efficient and our ability to serve others more effective. Here are a few of the latest government technology trends and ideas to incorporate them today!Cloud computing
In 2009, the City of Los Angeles become the first government entity to convert its entire internal e-mail system to Google Gmail. Why? It was identified as a safe, secure and affordable solution to replacing the city’s outdated and cumbersome e-mail system.Additionally, the switch enables agency wide access to Google apps, like internal document sharing, calendaring and more, that increased employee efficiency and streamlined processes among all departments.Gmail is just one of Google’s many products that is based on the technology trend known as “cloud computing,”  and it effectively eliminates the need for the city to store programs or information on individual in-house computers or on expensive servers.

“Government agencies at all levels—federal, state and city—are looking to cloud computing as a way to advance innovation while decreasing costs,” Google spokeswoman Aviva Gilbert said in an interview with The Los Angeles Times.

Work with your organization’s IT department to assess what cloud computing applications could serve as resources or solutions to your organization’s current efforts. Examine e-mail systems, servers and databases, consider moving to on-demand software services, or try using wikis or shared documents as a means of storing and editing draft publications.

If it’s determined that cloud computing makes sense strategically, be sure to communicate to all staff what this means and how it affects their work and communications. Build awareness with a fun, themed giveaway like a Sky-Blue Bistro Mug or this Cloud Shaped Opener.

Open government
Local and federal government agencies are continuing to strive for transparency in operations and communications as one way to break down the barriers between citizens and government, thus enabling trust and promoting participation and collaboration.

This trend began in the United States with the launch of the federally operated website www.data.gov in May of 2009. This site serves as a clearinghouse for government documents and resources based on government-obtained data sets.

As this movement grows, agencies will likely find themselves developing more data for public consumption and finding ways to make this data accessible online.

Developing a public awareness campaign around efforts to become more transparent can serve as a springboard to launching trust and promoting the work of your organization. Hand out items that resonate with the concept of transparency, like Transparent Tote Bags or Magnifying Glass-Shaped Pens.

Online trends for citizen engagement
In the last few years, many local government agencies have started to develop a presence on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube or other social media channels, and this continues to be an increasingly popular means of interacting with citizens and constituents. Some government organizations are taking this type of an engagement to the next level by merging it with open government concepts and existing websites.

For example, the City of Manor, Texas, recently created ManorLabs.org, a city website that serves to recruit new ideas and innovations from constituents while encouraging integration and interaction in similar ways through the city’s social media profiles. Users can rate and comment on each other’s ideas and the city takes the highest-rated ideas into consideration.

Consider following Manor’s lead and creating an online outlet for innovation and idea generation as a means to engage citizens and offer a sense of involvement in local government initiatives and efforts. Test the waters for interest by using your organization’s existing Facebook, Twitter page or blog. Hold an online “Next Big Idea” event for your community, offering a free giveaway to all entrants, like a T-Shirt with your agency’s logo and the name of the event. Ask other followers or fans to vote on the best idea and reward that entrant with a larger giveaway, like a Travel Mug Gift Set.

These technology trends are likely here to stay as the ways in which we communicate forever change. Consider these trends to improve processes and engage!

L.A. Weighs Plan to Replace Computer Software with Google Service – Los Angeles Times.Featured Articles From The Los Angeles Times. Web. 21 Apr. 2010.

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