Episode Archive

SCP E225 Connecting Residents and Government through Digital Platforms, with Bratton Riley

Hi #smartcommunityfriends. In this episode of the Smart Community Podcast, I have a interesting chat with Bratton Riley, the Founder of CitiBot, a customer service tool for governments and companies. Bratton tells us about his background in local government and community, and his shift into business and technology, as well as his passion for connecting residents and government through digital platforms. We discuss how important trust is between local governments and residents, the challenges and opportunities of working in public service, and why supportive leadership is so important in local government. Bratton then shares with us a bit about CitiBot and the work his company does, as well as why it’s so important to them to facilitate equal access to government institutions in underserved communities or those with accessibility challenges. He tells us about some of the key learnings and successes from working with cities and counties in the US, as well as ways local governments can use data to make better decisions, improve user experience and create opportunities for residents to be engaged. We finish our conversation talking about the emerging trends of evolving government to support innovation and developing vision- and outcomes-focused local government leaders. As always, we hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it.

Listen here: 

What we cover in this episode:

  • Bratton’s background in local government, business, technology and community
  • His passion for connecting residents and government through digital platforms
  • What sparked Bratton’s interest in the local Smart Community space
  • How important trust is between local government and residents
  • What a Smart Community is to Bratton
  • The challenges and opportunities of working in the public service
  • Why supportive leadership is so important in local government
  • About CitiBot and the work Bratton’s company does
  • Why it’s important to them to facilitate equal access to government institutions in underserved communities or those with accessibility challenges
  • Some of the key learnings and successes from working with cities and counties in the US
  • How governments can use data to make better decisions, improve user experience and create opportunities for residents to be engaged
  • The emerging trends of evolving government to support innovation and developing vision- and outcomes-focused local government leaders

Quotes:

“How could we better connect residents to their local government through chat, through text and web and some of the other channels that are out there?”

“I think that’s the essence of where Smart Communities start is really the interconnection of trust between the people and its government. And we see a lot of examples today of where the trust doesn’t exist…it really starts with the privilege that local governments have of relationship with every single one of the precious people that lives in the community.”

“When I talk to potential employees, and they’re asking me what it’s like to work at CitiBot, one of the first things I say is, ‘you get to hang out with people that work in local government. And 99.9% of these people are amazing, because they truly care. And they truly are public servants. And it’s like a little family atmosphere. And it’s such a privilege that we have being a vendor in the space to be able to interact with so many of these amazing people all around.’”

“Think of [CitiBot] as kind of a free agent, AI machine learning powered chat technology that will nestle ourselves into the tech ecosystem of local government to make it easier for residents to interact.” 

“You assume, and the beauty of data is the data takes the assumption out of the conversation and you can actually see for yourself what’s happening. And there’s been a lot of those lessons learned.”

“It’s just nice to be there to answer the call when your customer needs you. Because you want to help the people and you want to help build the relationships of trust, which is exactly why we’re in the business to do what we do anyways.”

“A lot of those precious [Millennials] that I know are really about mission. They want to connect their work to what they want their community to look like, what they want their world to look like. And you don’t have to be a Millennial to want to do that. I’m a Gen X-er, and it’s important to me too.”

Connect:

Find the full show notes at: www.mysmart.community 

Connect with Bratton via email bratton@citibot.io or the website citibot.io  

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community 

Connect with My Smart Community via LinkedIn or Twitter and watch on YouTube

The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Perk Digital.

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