Citizens Connect Receives Harvard University's Bright Ideas in Government Award
Cutting-edge smart phone application recognized by the Kennedy School of Government Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation
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For Immediate Release
April 04, 2011
Released By:
Mayor's Office
For More Information Contact:
Mayor's Press Office

Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced today that the City of Boston’s Citizens Connect smart phone application is the recipient of Bright Ideas in Government by Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Ash Center for Democratic Governance.

Citizens Connect is one of 36 government initiatives recognized as a Bright Idea. The smart phone app enables residents and visitors to send issues and problems (such as potholes and graffiti) directly from their iPhones or Android-based devices to the Mayor’s 24-Hour Hotline for resolution. This is part of a strategy to “enable anytime, anywhere” service to constituents.

“We are using technology to make government even more accessible and more responsive to our constituents,” Mayor Menino said. “We are excited for residents and visitors to use the Citizen Connect application to help us keep Boston beautiful. This cutting-edge program is an example of implementing technology solutions that enable direct citizen-to-city interactions.”

Empowering constituents to beautify their neighborhoods by making it easier to report basic city service issues such as potholes, after downloading the app a constituent can automatically capture an incident and send it to the City for easy tracking and fast resolution. A recently released Citizen Connect 2.0 version has a portfolio of new features designed to build a community of Citizens Connect users. Within the application, users are able to share publicly reports they have made, see reports others have shared, and use Twitter to publish efforts they have made to improve their neighborhoods. 

“Government is struggling to deliver quality services with strapped resources and diminishing budgets,” said Anthony Saich, director of the Ash Center. “These 36 government programs demonstrate that creative solutions to some of our nation’s most intractable problems can be generated and succeed in even in the most challenging of environments.”

“The most important achievement of this project is to create a platform for innovation for the City of Boston. Citizen Connect allows constituents to engage with the City easily, quickly and directly when they see a problem. We are using the latest technology to improve the delivery of city services and citizen engagement,” Bill Oates, Chief Information Officer, City of Boston.

Bright Ideas is an initiative that recognizes creative and promising government programs and partnerships. The initiative is offered through the Innovations in Government Program, a program of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School. For more information, please visit

Read HKS Press Release


Citizens Connect is a project of the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics: Mayor Menino’s Office of New Urban Mechanics focuses on piloting transformative City services that tap into constituents’ civic engagement and leverage new technology. 


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