In ‘The Future of GovTech’ series, we highlight tech startups with the potential to solve public sector challenges and transform the public services we all use. This week, the platform service for local councils novoville.
For some startups, their project begins through a big idea: a plan to change the world. For others, like GovStart member novoville, it’s a plan to change the local – most namely local councils.
“We always challenged ourselves with the question ‘How we can make running a council easier to monitor, more effective and more inclusive?'” says novoville co-founder Iraklis Bourantas. “novoville was born out of our firm belief in crowdsourcing politics. The collective intelligence that people have about the places they live in should be the starting point for any policy design.”
In practical terms, novoville is a citizen engagement platform. Citizens are provided with an app through which they can apply for services, report problems, and, most importantly, share their opinions. This information feeds through in real-time dashboard controlled by the council, allowing councillors to detect and solve problems quickly and efficiently, whilst seamlessly updating the citizen who has filed the report.
“novoville allows councils to make significant savings while dramatically improving customer satisfaction. Councils make data-driven decisions, offer better services and, of course, save money.”
The company was founded in Greece and now operates in 40 cities across Europe. Iraklis and co-founder Fotios Talantzis are now bringing the platform to the UK, and have joined Public’s GovStart 2017 cohort.
“IoT, big data, user profiling and smart city applications will change local governance…”
“People use mobile apps to order services or products, communicate and pay bills, but the notion of using an app to request a public service is still obscure. This shouldn’t be the case. We aim to reshape the relationship between the customer/citizen and the public authority.”
Iraklis and Fotios see the benefits of this change to go beyond citizens and local councillors: political engagement more widely can gain from embracing new ways of connecting communities.
“Local governments are the “front-end” of politics. Transparency, openness and participatory decision-making are key factors in understanding local politics and how these affect our daily lives. Most importantly they shape our perception of central politics as well. If a council takes an action that improves our neighborhood we typically interpret it positively for politics as a whole.”
“IoT, big data, user profiling and smart city applications will change local governance and overall interaction with citizens towards a more personalised service offering, delivery and participatory decision making. We believe that local politics will be increasingly crowdsourced and hopefully we will be ourselves part of a new era of local governance.”
To find out more about novoville, visit their website.