Why Sharing is Smart

Why Sharing is Smart 

You’ve probably heard of Limebike, Uber and Air BNB.  If you haven’t you are most likely listening to a transistor radio in your basement after eating a satisfying jello-based salad.  So, you probably get the idea that sharing things these days, or at least not owning everything that you use – is a real thing. 

So why is that? 

There’s a certain amount of elegance to having access to whatever you want, or need at exactly the moment that you want, or need to use it. 

Don’t like to pay for parking, insurance and gas – there’s Uber.  Just need to go on a short trip downtown, Limebike is a great option to get you there with a smile on your face. (unless that’s not your thing). 

In the world of municipal government sharing is not new, it’s a widely accepted practice.  For decades, it’s been a common custom for municipal officials to trade polices and best practices like they were trading collector cards.  “You have a new employee drug policy, great.  I’ll trade you for your new community cannabis policy.”  Exchanges like this have happened since administrators have been talking, or at least receiving telegraph messages. 

Industry specific search engines are emerging as one of the most effective and efficient ways to share the best and brightest ideas in municipal government.  Want to learn more about open data?  You could hop on Google and weed through the millions of results, or would you rather punch the same search term into something that is only directed at municipal documents and see a handful of truly relevant results? 

Don’t get me wrong, Google has it’s time and place.  It also has its fair share of ad words and distractions that can lead even the best staff researcher down a never-ending rabbit hole.  You may have hit the search box with the best intentions, but the distractions that keep you from finding what you really need are endless.   

Have you ever been there?  Websites are built to be “sticky” to keep you on their pages and connected to them for as long as possible.  That’s how they get paid.  Isn’t your time worth more?  Would you rather find what you are looking for, or is the quest to find the treasure (ie. the perfect document and spending all kinds of time on a quest) worth the hassle and the numerous encounters with frustration and disappointment?  

What if you converted the time that you take finding treasure on the internet to better use?  What if you had the tools to find things faster and with better results?  You could be considered the real hero in your organization.  Who doesn’t want to save time and be in position to reallocate scarce resources to do the MOST important things on your list. 

Industry specific search platforms make it possible, more than ever for you to share the best from the best municipalities in the world.  You don’t’ have to limit yourself to what’s happening in your region, or the City down the road that you desperately want to outperform.  You’ve heard the expression, think globally – act locally – that’s the bumper sticker that supports the concept.  

So, if you want to be the best, why not think about how you can be the best in the world – not just the best in the neighbourhood.  Look at what’s happening in Amsterdam, Austin, Adelaide and as you expand your world you just might discover that thinking globally really does put you at the front of your peer group – instead of suffering the fate of being average. 

Sharing is definitely smart and today it’s easier than ever to share the best ideas faster.  

About the author

Paul Salvatore, CLGM is the VP of Member Relations of BoxOfDocs a municipal software solution that municipalities use to find best practices as they craft new policies and approaches to do better work for their organizations and the people that they serve. His award-winning experience spans 20 years in government service and has been part of many award-winning technology projects.