Madison McDaniel, Feedback Labs | March 9, 2022
Receiving and acting on citizen feedback to local government units in the Philippines helps create more trust-based governance and closes the feedback loop. Without good feedback, local governments can’t make decisions that most benefit their community. So how can we hold these governments accountable?
Layertech Labs aims to answer this question through CloudCT, a feedback analytics portal designed to collect opinions from citizens and create more citizen-centered, data-driven local government policy changes. The CloudCT Portal provides real-time analytics from feedback to help government agencies increase the quality of their public services. Through the Admin Console, administrators are able to view public, in-depth analytics and post updates responding to feedback to show citizens their voices are being heard.
With the help of online forms, social media, paper documents, and databases, Layertech Labs has gathered the feedback of many which have yielded positive results in multiple use cases such as speed limit implementation in Pasig City, proposed street pedestrianization in Intramuros, and deploying support for MSMEs amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, in partnership with Makati Business Club’s Digital Democracy Project. Each of these cases collected helpful feedback from communities so that stakeholders and local governments could propose well-informed policies. But Layertech Labs is still looking for ways to increase government usage of CloudCT when closing the feedback loop and scaling their project out.
After Layertech Labs’ presentation of CloudCT and their goals for the future, Labstorm attendees came to some recommendations.
- Sustain CloudCT financially apart from current revenue streams. Labstorm attendees proposed that Layertech Labs seek out assistance from USAID since they often fund local entities. Action For Economic Reforms–a Phillipino research and advocacy organization–is funded by USAID while performing data-driven development. One attendee suggested that Layertech Labs would benefit from connecting with them and learning more about how to also receive funding from USAID. Reaching out to local businesses rather than just local governments about using CloudCT was another recommended strategy as an added source of income. Layertech Labs would better be able to use their time and help more users by increasing their income opportunities.
- Utilize effective marketing strategies for CloudCT. Layertech Labs could combine marketing with incentivizing local governments to close the feedback loop. By connecting local government users from different places on CloudCT, they will have a platform for sharing stories from when they closed the loop which can then be marketed. Almost like a peer network, this strategy will help gain new users while influencing current ones. Labstorm attendees also suggested that Layertech Labs include questions in their feedback tools that would reveal how people found CloudCT, what CloudCT can do to better communicate, and if they know any other local governments that should be collecting feedback. By following this proposal, Layertech Labs would be able to further market CloudCT and learn better ways to streamline its services.
- Incentivize local governments to close the feedback loop using CloudCT. If local government units show citizens that their feedback is being taken seriously and their needs are being prioritized, people will be less resistant to their policy changes when closing the feedback loop. It shows that community voices have been taken into consideration without any hasty decisions being made. And in doing so, governments will feel more inclined to use CloudCT if the response from their community is positive. Attendees also recommended that Layertech Labs experiment with having local governments commit upfront during the data collection process that they will respond to citizen feedback using CloudCT. This creates the expectation that the community will hear back from their government, which incentivizes said government to respond to the feedback they receive. This way more local governments use CloudCT during the entire feedback loop process instead of sharing their results on other platforms.
Some other takeaways that Layertech Labs could gather from the Labstorm: they can collect feedback insight on how to recover from economic backlash, build a sense of community with their current use cases, and focus on what CloudCT does best by working with existing partners. This Labstorm with Layertech Labs highlighted the importance of having tools that make for easier community and local government engagement. Feedback loops are essential to holding your government accountable and empowering your community.
Learn More About LabStorms
LabStorms are collaborative problem-solving sessions designed to help organizations tackle feedback-related challenges or share what’s working well in their practice.
Presenters leave the experience with honest, actionable feedback and suggestions to improve their feedback processes and tools.
To learn more about participating in a virtual LabStorm, please visit feedbacklabs.org/labstorms.