Govciooutlook

Icitizen: Fostering Civic Engagement

 Joel Lee, CEO
With an aim to foster a society of better-informed citizens, Oregon Senator Chuck Riley is sponsoring Senate Bill 1038, which requires students to pass a portion of the US citizenship test before being eligible to receive their high school diploma. To stimulate civic engagement and constituent support for his initiative, Riley wanted to gauge sentiment on the topic. He ran a national poll for a week and a half on icitizen—an app and web-based online polling tool that helps citizens and decision-makers influence and drive informed decisions.

Using icitzen’s Citizen Relationship Management (CRM) technology, Sen. Riley could engage with people through real-time polls. What he found was an overwhelming support for bolstering civic education in public schools; 84 percent of U.S. adults support requiring high school students to pass a civics proficiency exam to graduate. Armed with hard data, he took this information to the Legislature as proof of bipartisan support for his proposed measure.

“We’re living in a time now where it’s hard to tell the difference between fake and real news, and alternative facts are being presented as truth,” he said. Using icitizen, he was able to get data-driven insights to provide policy suggestions in the best interest of his constituents.

Based in Nashville, Tennessee, icitizen is disrupting the CRM spectrum by enabling people and their elected officials to engage with one another through online surveys, quantifying anecdotal feedback to drive policy discussion and decisions.

With a fresh outlook on open government practices and open data, CRM has evolved significantly over the past year. “There is a new emphasis and an acceleration of both conservatives and progressives becoming more civically engaged,” says Joel Lee, interim CEO of icitizen.

We build stronger communities in the real world— strengthening online communication to enable a partnership between government and the people they serve


“We’re disrupting this space to help organize and quantify that sentiment in real-time. We build stronger communities in the real world— strengthening online communication to enable a partnership between government and the people they serve.”

By implementing the icitizen platform, decision-makers can gain an accurate picture of public opinion from the national to the local level, depending on the target audience. While elected officials can gauge constituent opinions through online polls and uncover trends in what their district values, icitizen empowers citizens to vote in polls authored by elected officials and organizations looking for feedback. The “ideas” feature (online petitions) also allows citizens to submit their solutions on improving or solving community issues and tag relevant elected officials.

The ‘District Analysis’ feature on the icitizen dashboard under each elected official’s profile displays information on the district’s performance, while the ‘News’ feature keeps the citizens updated about what’s happening in their community.

Through the dashboard, elected officials and organizations have access to public poll results and can manage/maintain the polls and results they publish. Additionally, the data analytics break down individual question responses by age, gender, race, and geography. Poll results are sent to major news outlets and officials specializing on specific policy topic; users are also notified about the same.

Forging ahead, “We are releasing a self-serve polling option with a real-time weighting feature that will empower elected officials and organizations to take ownership over their research initiatives and test policy ideas,” states Lee. “Transforming civic engagement into actionable change does not pit government and constituents against one another, but instead promotes a partnership relationship. This is going to be crucial as we move forward in the citizen relationship management industry.”