Intro & interview with John Keisler from Long Beach - Government to Business episode 1
Welcome. To government to business the, go-to location for, executives, delivering, digital, services, to business and, now, here's, your host, Gavin. Atkins it. Can. I am welcome to the government to business podcast my name's Gavin Atkinson, I'm just, so. Pleased to be bringing to you today the very first episode of a podcast, that I've been wanting to do for a very long, time now, what. Am I trying to do what am I trying to achieve here what's, the purpose of this podcast look put, simply I want to serve you I want, to help inspire you with the stories of other government leaders around the world I want. To help you grow as a leader so that you can deliver some truly spectacular benefits. Internally, to your government organization, and to, the businesses, that are local, and in your jurisdiction. Essentially. Look I'm here to help you transform, your government to business digital, service delivery, so. Why does it matter well, if you want to reduce the cost of government you should care, transforming. Your service delivery achieves, channel shift and by getting the right strategy, in place you, can absolutely save, money that's, a fact, it's. Not just government that can reduce costs, I've, seen time and time again, businesses. Saving time and money all, from well-planned and executed government. To business digital, transformation. But. What else is possible if. Your department or agency delivers. Against your customers, expectations you'll. Better help them start their business and grow not. Only does this help make for a more satisfied, businesses but, if they're growing you're also in they're also employing and, job. Creation, as we all know is the key means to building, a strong stable community. So. What's. This podcast all about what I hope to achieve well. Every week will be a little bit different but, essentially. What I want to try to do is highlight best practice, and look at contemporary, issues and trends that are impacting the digital channel I'll, be conducting interviews, with executives, just like yourself who. Are delivering government to business services I'll. Concentrate on what works for them the challenges, that they've had to overcome and also give you the best practice, examples, from, them that you can learn from. Now. Things will vary and I'll probably try to get one of these every, second week but maybe, I might spice it up and maybe it might come out every week, those, episodes where I'm doing interviews they'll probably go for around about 30 minutes to an hour and, the.
Very First interview is actually going to be on in a couple of moments so stay. Tuned in. The weeks between interviews, or. When, something, kind of occurs, that kind of catches my eye and, I feel you, know I'd like to spend some time talking about that I plan. To have a much shorter format. Show that'll, be a little bit more thought leadership based more. High-level and inspirational. So, if something's occurring, that I think, oh that's, that's really, bad practice, and I want to be able to highlight. That so that you don't make the same mistake, I'll do so the same time where I see some great, stuff occurring, around the world being, delivered by governments for business, I'll. Be highlighting that too and of, course any stories, or anything else I've heard that I think yeah that would be really, really useful for you as an actual government leader when it comes to government to business service delivery so. These, are this my initial, thoughts and I. Want this really to be about you I want to be able to deliver immense, value to you so. To. Do that I need to know what you want I need to know what would be interesting, for you what you want to learn so please drop me a line at Gavin. At government. To business comm. Or. You can connect with me at twitter at gov to business, that's. With the number two for that one or. Of course find, me on LinkedIn importantly. As I said before I really want to know what you want to have covered in the show and the ideas, that you have on how I can improve things. To make it more relevant to you so, that's, about the podcast now. A little bit about me and a, little bit about why I'm doing this at a personal level I am, a father with two teenage, children a son of the daughter who. Are coming to their final years of high school education, and. On top of this I have a wonderful, loving wife of. Almost 23 years so. I'm going to keep that going as. You, can tell from my funny, accent, obviously I'm Australian, I currently, lived in Australia when I'm not doing this and. I'll basically try to keep, myself entertained with, other activities with. My kids and that often involves camping, getting outdoors and also from. My point of view I like to keep physically active as well so. Why, am I doing this look I've I've found that over the years because I've been in the space now for many. Years now I've tended. To concentrate my efforts and, help government's, when.
It Comes to their service delivery but it's ultimately in just one location and I. Really. Want to make a bigger impact of the world to be perfectly frank when, I'm doing what I'm currently doing is very much focused around one, location on one location, only over. The years I've done that obviously when it comes to Australian, Government's and also, in the UK but. I can see so much more opportunity that's out there and I. Really want to help governments, globally transform. Your digital service delivery to business so. That's how I think, I can help make a difference through, this podcast, and also the website that I've established at, government to business comm, I want. To try to ensure. That government leaders are able to improve the. Way they're able to deliver their services to their local jurisdictions. So. That they can make truly, powerful, changes, in the lives of others you. See by empowering people to be able to start and grow their businesses, those, business owners will be out there, in your local community, employing, people and when. Jobs are created locally. Like this it helps build a stronger and more stable family. Environment and stronger. And more stable communities. And, look that's something, that I think is a really fantastic mark, to leave on the world so, that's, what I'm trying to achieve here with, you today, so, this podcast, and the YouTube channel I can't forget about that if. You look for government, business you'll find that one there too is, my way of helping achieve. That that's, my initial thoughts of where, I see things going here. At the the very beginning of episode 1 so. Join me every week as I cover a different topic about government, to business digital, service delivery, ok. So that one's the opener that's done that's out of the way now, it's time for my very first interview, with John Keisler so, John, is the director for economic, development at the of long beach in california in. Late 2016, john led the development and the delivery of biz, pot the. Award-winning. One-stop. Shop for businesses in Long Beach but, as, you'll no doubt find out as we explore in the interview he hasn't been resting on his laurels in fact he's really, done a lot of hard, work to continually. Improve the. Service delivery offering, that they're, currently doing for Long Beach businesses, it's it's a great story so, enough. Of that let's get straight into my interview with. John Chrysler from, the city of Long Beach. Thanks. Very much John for joining, me today I'm. Really, really interested to talk a lot about the Long Beach business. Portal you've. Been very successful obviously, with the Center for Digital, government allocating. Yourself a you. Know a winning, role in the government to business category, late last year can, you tell us a little about how. You lead the city's vision with this port and a little bit about yourself. Absolutely. Thanks, so much for, for. Today and for including, me in this yeah. So so my name is John, Kaiser I actually am, the economic, development, director for the city of Long Beach were, a city of about a half, million people in Southern California, we. Are on the water Pacific. Ocean just south of Los Angeles and. We. Have a really. Dynamic and, diverse community, that is. Is seeking, ways. To position our, workers investors, and entrepreneurs in. The new economy so. That they can be successful our our job on a day to day basis, in the, department, we say is is ultimately. To. Help you make helped people make more money and.
So If you meet us if you're a resident of Long Beach you come to Long Beach looking, for economic opportunity, our, goal is that if you're you. Reach out to us that but you're, from now you'll be making more money than before we, met so you. Know when we look at when we look at tools, that. Can help workers. Investors. And entrepreneurs to. Navigate, the. OP you know the opportunities, out there this. Port was one of those that came. Out of our interviews. With. With people who have been displaced or, people who after. The recession, maybe. Have lost their jobs with companies, and were coming back as independent, contractors and, they, may have had a range of skills they could be, good at you. Know creative. Stuff or they were in. Maybe. They made things or maybe. They were a consultant. But they didn't necessarily have, a lot, of experience, running, a business that was something that was. New to them and so. You. Know the the theory behind this part was that if we could make, the. Very complex process of, opening. Starting. Or growing your business in the city if, we can make that easier it was a way that, we could help people to. Turn their skills, into. Into. Money and ultimately, Economic Opportunity and so just. As an example when, we started this investigation talking. With people about. The, process of starting or growing a business we, found out that for a restaurant, that had. You. Know alcohol and entertainment, and in food, and all that stuff that they may need as many as 26, different licenses. Or permits to open a brick-and-mortar. Restaurant. In the city of Long Beach and that, sounds crazy but that's actually common, that you. Know for a chef. Who, may. Have these skills to. Make delicious food and and create, really cool experiences. And places for people to meet neat, you. Know they have to go through a very complex journey, and and they may interact with as many as a dozen different, government, agencies along, the way so. This part was really in an attempt, to map. Out that process, you. Know in an in a what we call a user. Design. Process, where we, we built, the tool. Around the, journey of. The entrepreneur, so beginning with the, resources, that they may tap into for business planning and financial, planning and getting, a consultant. Even. Before they actually apply for a business license and, so. What we learned from our users was that they needed help with site selection, finding. A, space, that was zoned properly. Things. That you might you, have to pay a consultant, for they. Were able to do, just.
Through The tool itself and then of course as they move through the process of. Applying for a license, or registering. Their business that all those different, steps along the way were. Accessible, to them in, in the order of their. Journey regardless, of what you. Know business. Type or what agency, they have to interact with it was all laid, out for them and in a nice roadmap and, so that that was the basis of this port user centered design and, in in, leveraging, technology, like a, mobile. Phone and. A website. To map out that process and. From there we learned a lot more, along. The way. Excellent. So to. Be able to go. Through that exercise of speaking, to business, owners and people who are looking at more more more particularly people who want to become a business owner and what their challenges and their issues, were. There. That's the type of thing that you could get a really really long laundry list but, it sounds like you were quite targeted. With the way that you approach that how did you prioritize. That to make a decision around what, are you going to get out as part of an. Initial iteration and, then building on that from me, yeah. That's a great that's a great question, and you know this. Is where the. The the city made, a. Significant. Shift in the way that we. Built this application so, and. This is this is one of the things that makes. This. Port innovative, for the city of Long Beach so first and foremost we. Used a very very incremental, approach and. And what I mean by that is that, we. We we actually built, the. The website in, in, real time and we. Didn't we, didn't spend about time. You. Know in a bunch of months interviewing. People and. Building. Something in in, secret and then launching, it all at once instead, first, of all we engaged Code for America which, is a civic tech company and, and. We, had. Them on site meeting. With with, entrepreneurs, and and and people in the community that serve, as business navigators, people that may be, directors. Of Business Improvement Districts, and we, and and staff who are on the regulatory side and we learn from them what, the most common, opportunities. And challenges there were that. Face number. Two is we got a we got a straw, man or a prototype up right away so, within the first couple. Weeks a. Website. Launched and, it was very basic but, it gave a piece of clay for. The, users to work with and to shape and reshape so. They. Were active, they're very active in, the. Design of the tool from the very start and we. Didn't we. Took some risk in that we, wrote it in, first. Of all a language, called Ruby on Rails which we'd never written, which. Is an open-source technology. We. We also put. That up on live. On on web and it was available to, anybody. Took to comment on and to, provide input and, and. That was a real risk for us because typically, you know as a government we hire. A consultant, they have maybe a proprietary, language, or a proprietary, software with.
A, Closed, system and maybe, they they spend months and months and months building it and then unveil. It and hope that it meets the needs of the users instead this. Thing was built in. Each day there were improvements made code, was a you know updated. And adjusted, and and people would actually even weigh in with, other applications that. You, know might be able to tie in or plug into to. The the application itself and so by building it out there in the public I think, it. Was it was a bit risky but, it, really built momentum because. The people who were who. Are participating, and, in contributing to the process they, were very excited because they got to see it evolving. In real time and it wasn't something. That we just talked about it was something that they got to, shape and then they got to see that how, it responded, to their, input on a day-to-day, week-to-week basis. Excellent. Um you actually touched their or and that whole nature of providing, that code, source and building. Off an open source environment, you. Obviously, are very very much aware that in the last month, or so the city of Minneapolis has, gone live with their own business portal which looks remarkably similar to the the city of Long Beach and, has a number of, functionality. And components, which you know identical, but then they've got their own different. Approach, when it comes to content and information architecture. And so forth what. Was the actual rationale, to take, that really, open. Approach to sharing, and making this you know the actual code base for the application, available, so that other governments could do the same, yeah. Well that I'm glad you brought that up so that was another really. Innovative, piece, of this process for us so user. Centered design you, know engaging with the user and having them drive development, the. Sort of open. Process. By which it was developed as a as, a prototype, I. You, know live but, but the third thing was making, sure that we, put, the code out there in, github for, anybody. To use and and there's there's a couple of reasons why that's important number one from. A sort. Of a public, service standpoint we. Want you. Know to be able to share lower the cost of government, innovation, so that other governments can go out there and grab the code they, don't need to pay for anything. Maybe, the the. Only cost that they have really is for. Either a designer, or a programmer, to go in and modify the code. For. For their unique needs and their unique process so, that was one thing the the second thing though from a self-interest. Standpoint, is that, this. Model of having an open, source, or an, open market, where you, know you. Can put code. Out there and then, we, can also grab code so if, minneapolis. Comes up with an innovation and they put some money and time into evolving. The tool because. They've, been able to identify an improvement we're, the beneficiaries. Because they're gonna put that code right back out or, modify. Our. Code in a way that that that helps us to evolve and that that. Is kind of the the the more organic, way that. You see innovation happening, now. In these open-source platforms, so just, like, you. Know in the old days maybe. The, apple would be an example of a. Company. That you, know built their their, hardware, as well as their operating systems in a closed way so they, maintained, control, of their intellectual property and, that, was a profitable, way of doing.
You Now see companies. Who actually, build, platforms. For. You. Know content like Facebook, or, Google. Which actually, leverage the content, that's generated, or developed and the applications. That are developed as plugins. To their. Platform and so we're, really taking that approach as government, with this particular application to. Create a platform, by. Which the, market and the creativity of others, can help to evolve, you. Know the content, the architecture, and then the code and then, in in in in doing that we're all the, beneficiaries, of that that creative marketplace. So. This. Should obviously be some benefit coming through from yourselves as you said there's more, and more, city. Governments, and, state governments kind of approach that and start you know expanding. On that so, it's. A fantastic, initiative I think it's it's wonderful this was all part. Of the initial. Bloomberg. Philanthropies, Mis, challenge, is that correct is that what kind of kicked off the the kernel behind, the project. Yeah. So we. Were, the recipient. Thanks. To you know the leadership of our mayor and our, city council back. In 2015. The, city received, a Bloomberg, philanthropies. Innovation. Grant, so the. The the mayor's challenge is is something that Bloomberg. Does around their specific, project, but. The the Bloomberg innovation cities what the, these teams do is that, the, the funding from Bloomberg helps to pay for a team of, of. Individuals. That may not have any experience working. Inside City Hall or inside government people. With backgrounds, in in in Long Beach for instance, we. Brought in a designer we, brought in a, cultural. Anthropologist we. Brought in a, programmer. And a data scientist, and and, what we we. Created was, using. The, funds from Bloomberg a an. Innovation, team and so the innovation team. Was. Responsible. For investigating. And, then identifying, potential. Solutions, for. Reducing. Economic disparity, in the city of Long Beach particularly. Looking. At the. Way that the economy had been changing, and the, way that the tools that were available to, city, governments, were. Also evolving with the elimination, of redevelopment and, some other things, that had changed in the California. Legislature. So yeah. The the the, biz port tool was just one of many, initiatives. That, the innovation team launched, from, that Bloomberg grant. And we've actually started to implement a. Almost. Two dozen of, various initiatives that flowed out of the recommendations. Of the i-team. Well. Okay and, that's obviously, a very discrete.
Amount Of funding and that funding, has, now ceased, I'm, assuming. That that there's obviously some significant, outcomes and benefits that are being delivered by this port, for, you. Know it's a long beach and and your mayor to kind of continue to actually fund, that team and also fund the work being done by yourselves, within the economic development space. Yeah. Absolutely so, there's, there's actually a number of, really interesting benefits. I, would say one. Of the things that were really really excited about, is is, the. Economic development blueprint, that evolved out of the the, the i-team's work, and. And part. Of the part. Of the thing that you. Know really. Was driving, the, need for a. Plan. You know it was that so. So, many changes were happening in the economy the recession. Had. Been really, significant, in throughout. The country but but, also in in, in the sense that cities, were trying. To identify the role that they would play in the, economy and in how. They might, position. Their residents. And their workforce today to, compete and so, a, couple, of things that we had, recommended as part, of our initial investigation, to. Identify where. Where it was that the city could have the greatest impact was, really, to develop an blueprint. For economic development, which. Was a community-based, process, we did about. 26, different community, meetings with. Our Economic Development Commission, of devel furs and. You. Know housing. Advocates, and. Entrepreneurs. Different, people that represented. Sectors of the economy to. Develop, basically. 82. Recommendations. Divided, into seven different focus, areas and so the blueprint for economic development. Mazid. Opted back in in april of 2017. And it lays out a lot of the the recommendations. The. Objectives, in and and, ultimately the, the. Focus areas that our, City Council and our city is now investing, in to, move the city forward, economically. For, workers investors and entrepreneurs and, so I encourage people if they're interested to go to our Long Beach gov. Economic, Development Department and, and, download. The blueprint to take a look at some. Of those recommendations but, we're very proud of that because it, is, community, it, was community driven it. Was, not written by a consultant it, was written by, the. The outcome and the ideas from those study. Sessions, that, we conducted, and now, we've. Immediately, started driving into implementation and, I'm actually looking at the, the, schedule. Of about 19 initiatives, that are currently. Happening. This. Year already. Launched. Into implementation and and, so you, know the the i-team what I think, probably was the biggest. Impact. From the grant because the i-team has now moved into. What. You're. Describing. As our public safety challenge, just. This week they launched, what's, called the long. Beach justice, lab and that is, a again. A data-driven approach to, identifying. Ways. That we can, help. High, utilizers, of the public safety system, to. Divert them to. Support. Services and resources, rather, than putting them in jail and. That. Justice. Lab actually. There was a public announcement of it by our mayor last week at the State of the City and then, rolled. Out, through. The press this this week so we're, very excited about the i-team's work in that area. Fantastic. When, you have. That consultation, and, you develop up that that's, a relationship. I guess with the economic development community and, you're getting that type of feedback saying, hey we're interested, in Long. Beach delivering, this this and this, when. That kind of cuts, across different. Bits of municipal. Government, how. Do you kind of address those challenges and, bring, on board other parts, of, of. The actual government in that journey to deliver and improve the customer, experience online. Yeah. So so. Speaking, specifically, to. You. Know this port is the example.
You. Know what what it was interesting, was that the. The regulatory. Staff that are responsible, for many. Of our of, our governmental, agencies. They. Really want to be able to say yes they really want to, have and, provide a good customer experience, even though their their job or their responsibilities. May be to, regulate. Business. Or to, approve safety, standards for construction. Their, goal is to make the transaction, as easy and quick as possible. And, while still ensuring you. Know safety and in compliance and so. What we found was that you know from, from their perspective, if, there, was ways to, reduce the workload if there, were ways to, prepare. Applicants. To. Be successful. That, our our, our partner, departments, and agencies were very much on board and it. Wasn't that we were coming and saying hey we, want to improve customer service because it's. The right thing to do and you, know we should all strive to, make it easier for the customer instead. It was really asking you. Know government agencies, what is it that we could do or. What is it that we could help the customer with that would make your job easier if, every, customer, came in with. You. Know the right answers and with the application, filled out with all the requisite paperwork if they, were to apply. For, say an inspection, and they were to provide the correct information the first time if. We were able to help you map that information, and if we were able to help you eliminate errors, I let me give you an example. So one. Of the tools that, came, out of this port was, the. Point. At which you need to. Apply. For a business. Or, an. Inspection, of your business so let's say you did, an addition or put. In a new kitchen. What. Was happening was that the old system was basically, a manual process and, it was phone driven so you called in you left a voicemail and you, could leave a voicemail in, up to about 3 p.m. each afternoon. And then. Those. Voicemails up to that time the, next morning at about 7. A.m. as people would start. Technicians. Would start to listen to those voicemails and there's about 150, of them a day and they, would hand write out. The, in their requirements, and the address. And what kind of inspection, and then, they would have to map them manually. On on a large map and then they would have to take. All those cards that. They had created from the voicemails and sort them and hand them out to. The inspectors, who, would then would go out that day well. It, therein lies the the, opportunity, so anytime you find a process that might be manual, or might be horrible as you described on you, you have an opportunity to gain a partner, and so, from an innovation team's perspective it was looking for that pain point that manual process and so lo. And behold we worked. With Code for America and. It. Created what was called Inspector, Gadget and to. You. Know their credit the. The department, who. Was responsible for these inspections was was very, excited. Because we were helping to address one of their concerns and. About. 9 hours of work a day were eliminated, and what. What happened was Code. For America helped, to develop a very simple online, drop-down, menu whereby somebody. Could apply for or. Submit an application for, a license, inspection, or, a permit inspection, any. Time of the day that, information. Their, choices were forced. In terms of what kinds of inspections would you know they needed a and you, know to put in the address properly it was Auto mapped using.
Google Maps it was, then. Auto scheduled. For, because. You used algorithms, to schedule the. Appointments. To certain inspectors, within certain zones and it, just streamlined, the process and, eliminated, a lot of. Unnecessary. Mistakes well. In the end we, also developed, through that process a really, good relationship with that particular division, because. We were solving their, problems, we were helping to improve their life and through. That small, win. We. Were able then to develop a relationship to go on and conquer, bigger challenges, in. The in the process that, the life was made better for the customer and I even had one. Of our high-level, government employees, call, me you. Know a couple, weeks ago and say hey, guess what i just used Inspector Gadget for, my own home, permit. Inspection, and, it worked great and so, as a result of solving an internal, problem with, our regulatory. Agency, by from, a process standpoint we. Developed a great relationship with them we were able to tackle bigger issues and as a result we also got a better customer experience. Right. I, mean the. Thing that I find actually really interesting when you when you've been talking a lot John around what, bears pont delivers, is it, is well, and truly going, towards that whole you know one-stop, shop if you're a, business. In tender you want to start a business or you already have an existing business within, Long Beach you. Can pretty much do almost everything, within. The site and. I've noticed in in recent months there seems to be a lot of government. Agencies who, are you, know really focusing, just on one, area, like an actual niche and just, focusing, on that and not looking at the bigger picture when, it comes to the overall customer journey, what. Are your thoughts on that why do you think you, know why did you intentionally, take, obviously that path of trying to bring everything all together into you, know a single. Integrated, offering for the customer. Yeah. Well that's you. Know in the in the in terms of design you know that one of the things that you want to, make sure you do is you want to give, you. Don't want to overwhelm people so you, you, want to make sure you're you're providing. Information. That's relevant to, any user, you. Know in, the journey at the right time in the journey but, you also want.
To Make sure that the. Resources. You, know it's a small enough bite that you can chew and so, the. The accordion, design, you. Know with with planning, and then applying and then growing your business was. Meant to break. It up into three key phases that we thought, most. Of the the entrepreneurs, would would, would face. Along, the way the. Second thing is is that, have. To look at everything at once but you know they could use the drop-down accordion, style. To. Look, at the stuff that they needed to but. Then they also had a sense of what was ahead so you, know one of the challenges what we faced as a city was that if you, needed to get your business license you went to the financial management. Organization. Webpage, and you were in financial management and you. You were really. In. Some. Ways you, you you, had just the information you needed to navigate that piece of process the problem was that. After. You you started the application for, a business license you may have to go to eight different departments, you, would have to go to, the. Health department to get a license. Or an inspection the fire department, the. Police department, for entertainment, or you. Would have to go to planning, and building and all of these different departments had their own website so, there was a different style there, was a different you know you. Know format or structure if you could find the right site you knew which site to go to next, you, then were in their world what. We tried to do was we tried to dumb down the language non-technical. Language we tried to create. A very simple style and format everything. Translates. Through the google translator so that it's in about six or eight different languages that were commonly spoken in Long Beach it, also had. Chat so. So, the chat function down, in the bottom right corner with, intercom was the first time the city had ever used online chat and we. We wanted to test that because we had heard from a lot of the entrepreneurs that I don't. You know I I, know I have to you know get these these permits and licenses and, go through this process but. Oftentimes, I don't know which one to go to in, what order and when. I when I get stuck it's, really hard to get unstuck and I have to make multiple phone calls and many of the departments, don't know what the other department, does they. Know what their process is they're experts but, they don't necessarily know, you, know what's what's, next, for the entrepreneur, so, the idea was if you could from start to finish from, you, know your very first idea your. Very first mentor, or consultant, or business planning process if. You could, click through very quickly and see that hey there's a lot you know involved over the course of time but I'm just going to take it one step at a time and. If. If I can. Ultimately. As the from, the regulatory side if I'm, in the fire department I know what, comes before, you. Know my step and what comes after we, could really improve, the. Sense of awareness about. What, you. Know the the entrepreneur, was going through from the government side and we, could also improve. The. Interaction from the customer, side about what's coming next so that they can anticipate and. Not get its too excited, when they completed you, know one step but not also so become. Overwhelmed. Because of you know not having the right expectations, about how long it might take and. Not make, commitments financially. And otherwise don't, sign that lease until your tell you need to because. Anytime you're carrying, costs, when. You're trying to start your business. You're. You're, losing, money and anytime that your process, is longer, than it needs to be as they always say time. Is money and our, job really was to reduce the median days to approval, because, time is money and. People. Who save. Money can. Invest that in. Successfully. Growing. Their business and hopefully surviving. At a higher rate than the, national averages, so there's a lot of reasons for, thinking. About what, happens, before and. Keeping, people from. Applying. Or signing, a lease or making. An investment until the last possible. Minute there's. A lot of benefit. To doing that to. Help them with surviving, at a higher rate than they might, you. Know it in other places. Okay. Looking. Around this, they still will, see a number of long, beach municipal.
Websites That are still there and I guess, they kind of cross over a little bit between the citizen view in a business view so like there's the long long, beach development, services as an example where, I'd imagine that you know that be kind of dealing with both citizens and businesses. What's. The overall strategy I guess at the at. The city level for how to approach service delivery when it comes to that dichotomy, between citizen, and business. Yeah. Good good, good. Point so so first. And foremost I, think we're we're, sort. Of in, in, nascent, in, the the the, infant, stage when, it comes to, really. Really. Understanding. The right architecture, and the evolving, needs, and expectations of. Users. And technology. We're. We're, learning a lot and we've been trying to improve you. Know consistency. Through our website and and and. And using, a, style, guide and all that to. Really improve the experience, that a customer has to make sure that it's consistent, and, that you. Know it's it's familiar and, that the information, is easy. To understand, because you don't have to adapt. To the very different. Presentation. Of information that you might find across, different agencies so. We're all aware that we're in. In the early stages particularly. Was, you. Know this port and and. With our website with. With this port specifically. I would say that we, made a decision initially. To. To to only what. We call link out to information. So we weren't going to go in and we, weren't going to try and convince, every every, other agency we interact with that. They needed to change their website and their content, we, were simply going to be provided. An, aggregator. Tool. That. Would provide links. To, the various resources that people need and that, our hope was that. If, this was considered phase one, by. Aggregating that information, by creating. You. Know a one-stop. Shop a clearinghouse, for the. The, all. The resources that that an entrepreneur would, need we, would then. Be, able in phase. To begin. Interfacing. Or integrating. With the various. Systems. And. Processes. So so, as an example, right. Now you create, your profile and Dysport and that it gives you a chance to where you can track your progress and you have a checklist and you can pick up and where you left off what. It doesn't allow is for a single sign-on where, you're. Able to log, into your biz part profile and that, automatically. Like, you would experience, let's. Say with TurboTax where. You're logged in and TurboTax, and when you get done with all of the information. Collection. And answering, all the questions, you. Would then are able to say you, know click the button that says submit my taxes, to the IRS, that's, the tool that's the interface that, we. Would like to be able one. Day to create between. The the. Busy port profile, and all, of those other agencies, that single, sign-on that. Would cut across and. In your profile would cut across all the different systems and departments. And agencies that you might need to interact with so for, instance your business licensing. Profile. Your, utilities. Through, gas. And oil or, you know water or sewer and trash, maybe. It's your, building. Permits right now all of those different systems have, different sign ons they have different, back-end. Databases, because, these are this was the era of closed. Systems. And and we have these legacy. Proprietary. Systems, that are still out there and that. Unfortunately. You. Know one half of government. Is still dependent upon, these. Big investments we made over the years and it's going to be a big investment to transition, out of those those those proprietary systems, and. Then on the other hand were utilizing. You. Know open source and and online, you. Know hosted solutions. That. Like this board or like you. Know some of the other applications, that are running out. Of the cloud and you. Know they present a lot of opportunity, for api's. And. Direct interfacing. And, potentially. Single sign-on like you experience, when you're logged in when, you use your Facebook profile. To log into different applications online so that's, where we're headed, God's, still in. Future phases we, did our best in one year vote remember, the entire busy art was. Built in less than a year built, and launched in less than a year and I think that we, made a decision to do.
This. First. This. First version with. The idea that we would then take a full year of, investigation. To see how people are using it and where we have opportunities for improvement, before we, would then build version. 2 so we're, now happy, to say that we've hired a staff member who, will be taking over in. January the biz port application. Not only the curation of the content, the. Management. Of the chat that, the triage and referral, of inquiries that come through the system but, then also starting to meet with groups of users. Around the. Improvement. And and restructuring, of some, of the best part architecture, as well as maybe adopting, some of minneapolis, a--'s innovations. Fantastic. Everything. You've just said before leading. Up to that john made absolutely. Perfect sense I mean the approach of you know building, certain components, and then durably. Improving, that and expanding, out and proving your worth over time. There's. Obviously a certain advantage within. A municipal, government because of its size that, you're able to kind of deal with this a little bit more it's a bit more confined, how. Much of those principles. That you follow do you think could be applied you know beyond, a. Municipal. Government whether you're looking at a state type of level or a national, level. Yeah. Well I I do think that, don't. So I I do think it can it can apply at. Any level because, of the, way that you, know information technology. Internet-based. Cloud-based. Information. Technology, is. You. Know almost infinitely, scalable I mean that's that's the thing it's that, that the, the in, the old days when you had a client based system. That was you know sitting on servers, and the basement, of City Hall there. Were a lot of constraints as to you know how many. How many records how. That, information, would. Flow in and out of local system, secure systems, but. Now because, of the speed of, processing. Because. Of the advent of the cloud so, where it's hosted and how information, is processed and then distributed, and. Then just the sheer. Size of. You. Know the the network. Is. Really. Making, you. Know the these tools available. Anywhere. In the world for any size of organization and, and, that's why to if. You can build in, an open, architecture. Where. People, are able to plug in their own innovations, and their own applications, I mean our hope is that someday we'll. Get to a point at least within.
Our Community, that, you. Know will build the, the, initial platform like this part and then. The entrepreneurial, community will. Find opportunities, where they can plug in, applications. That. Will, both pull data out and push that in but but allow for people, to. Improve. Maybe. The the, market. Research component. Or the site selector, or they're, able to improve. The. Way that that, content, is is displayed, or delivered so you, know with regard to how, big can it get how. It just depends on how much. The government itself, wants to control, the. Resource and how much the government wants to partner for. Delivering. Solutions, and. Then it all begins with, the initial architecture, of whether or not US government, believes that hey we're going to provide all the solutions and. We're. Going to be the. Source of of the solution, and and or, we're, going to create a platform by which the. The, creative marketplace. Can. You. Know identify, challenges. And, create. Those solutions and and then contribute, them. To. Solve, Jona. Can't hate you Joanie. You they I still can't hear you can. You hear me okay, I, think, I'm just, and down the elevator now because I get a pick up my son from basketball. No. Worries John um my. Daughter's, basketball so I know exactly where you're coming from, just, before you got in look you're talking about partnering. With private. With the private sector to, help with your delivery, approach verb is port in one. Area I know that you've started tackling is, rather. Perennial. Issue actually for new business and that's that's accessing finance, John. Can you tell us a little bit about what, you're doing in the space absolutely. So, so what, what we did initially would be the innovation team is is by. Shadowing. And observing, users. And particulars. Different. Types of entrepreneurs throughout, the city we, identified, some really common challenges, that that, cut. Across the, the different types. Of businesses, and the different types of entrepreneurs that, that. We met. Mainly. Cost. Confusion. You know clarity, of the process, but also access. To capital so. That. Was one of the the primary. Challenges. That the, entrepreneurs, face no matter what industry sector, or. So. So for us you. Know when we were looking at. You. Know there were. Opportunities. And, loans. That require certain levels of. Historical. Revenue, and and credit, history, now. We're just not available to a lot of micro, entrepreneurs, and and, many of the people that we talk to you where we're generating. Their. First, seed funding, through friends and family and. And. Not through traditional banks and so you.
Know The other place that then. Traditional banks, that people were accessing capital were through you know government subsidized, loans like Small Business Administration. Federal. Loans and. Those kind of programs but those also started, at about $25,000. And also. Required even. With the, city underwriting. Or the, government underwriting, some of the risk they. Still, required. A, certain level of credit history and, things that a lot of our micro entrepreneurs, simply, just didn't have and, so, what. We've what we decided was hey let's look at some, other options and when. You look around the world you. Know micro finance, is one of those. Opportunities. That's working in many developing, economies, and. Essentially. What happens is that, many. People contribute, small amounts, you, know trustees. And lenders. Many. People contribute, small amounts of money to. Help. Micro. Entrepreneurs, to, put. Together small. Amounts, of capital. To invest in and. Then repay those loans over a period of 18, to. 36, months and so. Leveraging. Technology, and leveraging. You. Know the Internet is a really good way to both, identify. Borrowers. As well as to identify. Lenders. Potential, lenders and to get the community to contribute to, local small businesses, through. Microfinance. And so, we. We've, recently, launched Kiva. Which, is a, which. Is a nonprofit again. A, nonprofit, technology based, company that actually provides, the platform via PayPal, to. Connect. Micro. Entrepreneurs. Who. Need capital to a. Whole network of people who provide, capital they've done over a billion dollars in loans around the world and, they have about a 97%, repayment. Rate which is beating, the the, commercial banks in terms of repayment for. People that don't have to have any credit history all, they need to do is be able to. Establish a PayPal bank account they need to they need to find, a trustee, somebody. In the community who will vouch for them and say yes this is a real person and I'm, going to help this person with. Their business and then they can you. Know go up on the Kiva platform, as a potential, borrower and tell. Their story and people can contribute so that's, an example again of government, not necessarily. Being the solution we, don't have to come up with millions of dollars and manage a big lending. Scheme in. Fact we can let. You utilize, technology, and, utilize partnerships, with nonprofit, sector, again. To create a platform, by which the community can, both, invest, in and benefit from, investment. In. In, an open-source. Kind. Of environment, so so. Yeah that's another example of using that same philosophy of, public-private.
Partnership, Of open-source. Platforms. Leveraging. Technology, and. Ultimately, making it easier for people to. Get. To overcome a challenge I've, recently read in the Long Beach Business, Journal that you were also looking at another really. Innovative diagnostic approach, using artificial intelligence to match entrepreneurs, with local mentors, who can support them on their business journey I really. Think our listeners would love to hear a little bit more about this as it's something that I've never had been done before can you tell us a little bit about it John, absolutely. Well another one that we, just recently, launched, is something, we're very proud of in. Terms, of partnering, with in this case the private sector to. Identify, what's, called a psychometric, assessment. Of entrepreneurs, readiness. One. Of the challenges, that first. Of all starting, your own businesses, is really, really difficult and there's. A really high failure rate in, fact in. America you know more more, than 50% of businesses, fail, for. Reaching that 60. Month mark and and you know we wanted to help businesses, be. Successful starting. We, wanted to help them grow but are also our goal from, a from an outcome, perspective, with the see, if entrepreneurs. And Long Beach could last and. Survive, longer than the national average so one. Of the things that that we had identified again. As. A potential, solution is how do we help entrepreneurs, to. Identify. Whether or not they're ready or, whether or not they're they have the right stuff, to be an entrepreneur because there's, really three main ways people make money in Long Beach one is as a worker, for. Somebody else. As, an entrepreneur, so self-employed. Or employing, others or as, an investor, you're doing you, know equities, you. Know securities. Maybe real estate investment, investing, in other people's, projects. And so it's not the case that everybody needs to be an entrepreneur even though that's a major focus, of our economic development work, and so how, do we how do we help, people avoid, making fatal, mistakes as well as how do we in a low-cost, really, efficient, way, even. A fun way help, entrepreneurs to. Sew. To match. Up or connect with resources and mentors that, really. Can help them so it's not somebody you. Know who who, spends, a lot of time, consulting. But really have no experience. In that particular type of business with that particular, type of person so we. Went, out to market, through something, an, innovative, procurement process, called City Mart it's, an open procurement, Challenge City Mart was originally, started in Europe they're now in New York, great, groups who are trying to revolutionize government.
Procurement, We put this challenge, out to the open market and said who, has solutions who can help us you, know help entrepreneurs, connect, with these resources and really know if they're ready to, start a business and I'm. Happy to say that we just launched, last month, we, became the first investor, and the. Partner, the governmental partner, with, started, up org, and this. Is in its beta. Phase right now and you can go online you, can download at. Startup, org, either, for Android or for iPhone, this, group did an incredible, job, they. Had experience, building these applications, and the, the actual. Tests. That, entrepreneurs. Take through this application, is. Done through, a chat, function, on their mobile phone it. Saves all their information and then via, algorithms. It. Matches, them to bits, on their strengths and weaknesses, and matches them to a potential met mentor. In the network and we, just launched this in Long Beach you can't it. Just, we're. Going to be doing the second, meeting. And launch party on the on the 22nd. Of January. But. It's. Really, an exciting application. That we hope will, revolutionize. The way that we. Assess entrepreneurs. And connect entrepreneurs using, technology. And algorithms, to people, in their, Center Network and. The. Question, just you know, the. Questions, were developed, by Stanford, University over. A three-year study and so, these are these, are really interesting, tools. An interesting, approach again. Government, not, necessarily. Creating the solution itself but, partnering, with the private sector to develop new solutions we. Have the, you know we put in some money some seed capital but, we also more importantly, connected, the, developer, with the. Pipeline. Of entrepreneurs, in our one of our small business that. You know Business, Improvement Districts, in North, Long Beach we. Connected, them with partners, locally, and also. With, you. Know that the. Background, on the challenges, that we face as a government, so we partnered with the private sector to. Develop something that's never been, available. Before so we're really excited about that tool well John that's some amazing stuff that you're doing there at the moment thank, you so much for sharing with me, today and sharing with our audience and. And. For being my very first interview on the show. You're. Doing an amazing service by connecting, us all with good practice, around the around, the world literally. An international. Good. Government so thank you for your work and keep, it up. Thanks. John, talk, soon see you bye. Thanks. For listening to government, to business for show, notes and how Gavin can help your department, or agency, visit. Government. To business comm. You.