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Pokemon Go and connected government

By Rich Roesler
Results Washington

GovLoop's Adam Giorgi has an interesting post this week about Pokemon Go and potential intersections with government.

At first glance, it may seem silly, but I believe Pokémon Go’s momentum can strengthen local communities, bringing people together in public spaces and creating an increased interest and pride and in the places where we live, work, and play. For local governments, that strikes right to the heart of the matter.

It would sound sillier if not for all the players we've seen in the evenings this week wandering the state capitol campus here in Olympia -- which has a lot of Pokemon and stops, just sayin' -- and throughout the downtown waterfront area.

Giori notes also that the fact that the game gets people out exploring their neighborhoods and beyond is an obvious boost for wellness, and perhaps for a sense of community. He also argues that it may point the way toward "incentivizing public engagement with government."

After all, look at the rise of mobile-based tools like the SeeClickFix app. As Gizmodo's Alissa Walker recently put it:

SeeClickFix turns a walk around the block into a mobile scavenger hunt. You can photograph and geotag a service request on the spot, choosing from dozens of customized categories ranging from the mundane (“dead tree in street”) to the horrific (“dead animal pickup”).

There's a lot of interest in government -- particularly local government -- in using the increasing prevalence of smartphones as a way to help make government more responsive and efficient. In addition to responding to problems and getting actionable, real-world information much faster, approaches like these could help crowd-source solutions as well.

A steppingstone to that two-way conversation may be things like the state of Michigan's MiPage app, which centralizes and optimizes for mobile devices the state information the user wants, with a single log-in for access to personalized info from multiple agencies.

The app connects Michiganders to job openings, unclaimed property listings, state parks info, events, lottery numbers, voter info, traffic, hunting and fishing info and more. It is highly customizable by the user, and presumably provides useful information about exactly what kinds of information the public wants to see.

Stay tuned.