In This Section: Policy Cloud Architecture | SimpleGov Extensions and Services | Technology Deep Dive
SimpleGov Policy Cloud Architecture
The Basics of SimpleGov
The SimpleGov digital architecture is built around Projects - digital campaigns including any discussions, proposals, or actions to change public policy. Projects include a defined Problem, suggested Solutions, and responsible Agency Officials (AOA), as well as ratings for Officials, Agencies, and Solutions (CQB). Projects can be public or limited to select users or groups. Projects can be created personally, for a group, or as F.U.R. (Fair Use representation) content, or true and accurate third-party public content on matters of public concern, in order to facilitate better civic education and the effective petitioning of officials for grievances. Projects can incorporate new, existing, or historical dialogue; they represent a dynamic and custom fusion of the official record and the public forum.
“Project”, defined as “an individual or collaborative enterprise carefully planned to achieve a particular aim,” originates from the Latin noun projectum (‘prominent’), and verb proicere (‘to throw forth’), combining “pro-”(“forward”), and jacere (‘to throw’), and SimpleGov Projects accordingly facilitate collaborative effort toward particular aims of improved policy outcomes and prominent results from the present into the future.
SimpleGov’s system of real-time responsiveness creates a dynamic of eternal vigilance. While status quo methods like online petitions have an arbitrary ending date, and electoral politics are subject to the time limits of campaign cycles, legislative procedure and other factors, SimpleGov transcends these arbitrary limitations to help everyone become the watcher of the watchmen.
More About Core Project Functionality: Agency Official Accountability (AOA) Connections | Dynamic Solution Space (DSS) | Fair Use Representation (FUR) Content | Custom Quantitative Benchmarking (CQB)
Agency Official Accountability (AOA) Connections Directly connecting you with over 50,000 government agencies and officials – including most importantly, the ones who impact you.
SimpleGov connects you directly to responsible agency officials at every level of government —from elected officials to agency directors to staff — to facilitate timely, targeted interactions between your institution and the responsible officials. and create tangible policy successes in pursuit of your goals. “Agency” refers to one who “acts on behalf of another person or group...or produces a specified effect,” and derives from the Latin word for ‘doing’. Agencies are the organizations and officials of government that actually do the acts of government. While politicians are also agents and can act to change laws, the laws are always enforced or otherwise implemented by many more agencies and agents of government who are usually unknown and immune to accountability. SimpleGov provides full-spectrum accountability by connecting everyone with all agencies.
• Accommodate all types of jurisdictions and staff, including local, state, and federal. • Easily identify high-priority officials and help keep them on track. • Continually update personnel and contact information through our Wikimedia interface • View all interactions for specific individuals, assign action items, and automate evaluations and communication workflow. • Officials can easily claim (or create) their SimpleGov user profile from any device and import insights from past communications. • Encourage government officials to make better policy decisions based on direct accountability and clear contextual insight. • Oversee official performance in real-time, and
Dynamic Solution Space (DSS) Each SimpleGov Project provides a dynamic digital interface to continually evaluate and optimize Solutions. Defined as a “means of fixing a problem or difficult situation”, the term “Solution” derives from the Latin solvere (‘loosen, unfasten, untie or dissolve’). Like the ancient alchemical mantra of solve et coagula (‘separate and combine’), or modern chemistry, an effective solution requires a process of concentration or isolation of specific element(s) from a larger sample. Accordingly, SimpleGov solutions are independent means of solving the defined problems of each Project, allowing free and open deliberation to identify the best and most effective ideas to achieve such ends, without partisanship, misunderstanding or other common obstacles.
• Allow members, stakeholders, and staff to contribute from anywhere, and view, add, and edit content based on their role. • Assess the impact of your campaigns to continually improve your organization. Keep project and official contact information up-to-date with appropriate assignments.
Custom Quantitative Benchmarking [CQB] Measure the metrics that matter to your organization, and benchmark policy performance based on the impact on your community and values. SimpleGov Quantitative Benchmarking shows how your an agency, official or solutions compares to your goals and best practices.
We integrate existing data ranging from quantitative performance to workforce scorecards, to deliver the precise insights you need to lead with certainty. With a clear understanding of what works and what needs improvement, leaders can allocate resources where they’re needed, optimize potential opportunities, and deliver goal-oriented results.
• Define and manage your own metrics to assess official performance and chart a path to organizational goals. • Evaluate performance based on KPIs of and members, ranging from scorecards to custom-generated data flows • Compare agency and official performance against peers. • Score officials on the achievement of custom-defined goals and incentivize better solutions with comparative assessments. • Apply scores individually or en masse.
SimpleGov Extensions and Services
Bring your policy communications to life Adding SimpleGov Wordpress extensions to your blog posts or other website content lets you turbocharge your ideas, messaging, campaigns and overall civic communications. Our extensions display custom SimpleGov Project data, such as Agency Official actions, suggested Solutions, ratings, etc. Microforum extensions appear as embedded media, such as photos, videos, advertisements and other popular embedded extensions (such as Facebook and Twitter feeds). Hovertext extensions appear only when hovering the mouse (or tapping on mobile devices) over selected integrated text.
• Create custom interface extensions to accommodate your unique insights and perspective, using the same architecture that powers SimpleGov, letting you deliver real-time civic data, relevant communications and engaging functionality into new applications. • Help your readers go beyond the headlines and dive deeper into the true meaning of core values, issues and topics • Maintain eternal vigilance and full-spectrum accountability for the agency officials and policymakers responsible for each issue. • Deploy customized, context-aware content and applications using our API, technical architecture and front-end components. Wordpress interface allows for seamless integration into existing web content. • Increase engagement and attract the right coalition with targeted interactive content. • Rapidly prototype, test, modify and take advantage of new technology innovations from SimpleGov.
Bespoke Integration Services Tailor SimpleGov to your organizational needs and supercharge your advocacy
We offer SimpleGov technology to organizations through our various support services, including integration management and more:
Strategic planning. Incorporate compliance and internal controls into project design from the outset to best address organizational issues. Streamline workflows by developing custom processes tailored to meet your unique requirements. Onboarding. Subject to your approval, our team will integrate your existing communications, outreach and data into SimpleGov as part of our onboarding process. We will register primary users in the initial credentialing process, which will enable staff and members to load existing content, submit ratings, create solutions, and maintain their own data as preferred. Subsequent prospective users can self-register through an external, company-branded website. Legacy integration. Streamline your infrastructure by consolidating disparate legacy systems and processes into new data types within SimpleGov. As part of the initial integration process, we will utilize your existing systems - from petitions, bill tracking or other tools - to improve. Enhance engagement and impact by creating a unique experience across existing content, communications and applications.
Our Technology: Deep Dive
Revolutionary Innovation for Impact Despite great promise, technology has largely failed to disrupt government, especially compared with software innovations in every other sector. No effort has effectively isolated the revolutionary elements of software technology in order to apply them to government. In order to debug the complex and error-laden legacy system known as our government, we must understand the information architecture and how to optimize it.
Software, at its most basic level, is a collection of instructions directing individual processors to perform certain tasks or functions. Similarly, government is a collection of instructions directing individual people to perform certain tasks and functions. Government rule architecture is encoded through thousands of different agencies, with millions of individual officials taking countless actions prohibiting, allowing, or otherwise impacting each individual's tasks and functions.
SIMPLEGOV's innovative policy optimization architecture applies the following core principles of software development:
1st Principle - Peer-to-peer information sharing
Peer-to-peer networks - one of the greatest innovations in modern computing - let each computer act as a server for others, allowing shared access without the need for a central server. Similarly, SIMPLEGOV connects citizens directly with the source of the rule function impacting their lives - namely, individual government agency officials - in order to begin formulating, developing and deploying alternatives. With SIMPLEGOV, each citizen can act as his or her own lawmaker - communicating directly with the agency officials responsible for each issue - without the need for centralized legislative politics.
By contrast, the status quo of politics (and govtech) enforces a top-down architecture, which requires a centralized lawmaking body, and provides only limited public accountability through occasional elections. These systems result in severe information loss, by encoding all public opinion into a simplistic binary scale (Red vs. Blue, R vs. D), and thereby eliminating most of the meaningful meta content (including ordered preferences, core values, and specific policy positions) that could create effective reform and meaningful compromise. With no lossless means to directly send information to power, civic software decays, partisanship becomes entrenched, and citizens must choose between infamous workarounds (e.g. lobbying) or apathetic disengagement.
SIMPLEGOV’s peer-to-peer architecture preserves civic information and enables direct communication among stakeholders to optimize each rule.
2nd Principle - Modular testing and agile development
The best software is continually tested, optimized and deployed in an controlled and evaluated environment. However, the status quo of politics (and govtech) is poorly equipped for any such optimization. Legislative politics favors sweeping one-size-fits all campaign promises, and largely discourages accountability after elections, since past and future results become someone else’s problem.
Like the principles of agile software development, SIMPLEGOV dynamically optimizes each and every policy element on an individual basis, even allowing for multiple simultaneous ratings of officials and agencies. Instead of treating bureaucracy like a monolith, or limiting the platform to specified issues, SIMPLEGOV uses government’s diverse complexity to continually facilitate iterative innovation.
3rd Principle - View Source (the truth behind the screen)
A software interface hides the majority of technical details, while visibly presenting only a smaller subset of information to the user. The best and most effective UI systems thus balance practical usability with technical requirements, enabling ease of use for the novice as well as complex customization for advanced users.
Similarly, while open government is valuable, transparency alone is insufficient to solve all of the problems of modern government. It is humanly impossible to for one person to truly understand the entirety of government action, let alone manage any reform effort. However, a lack of understanding also makes it impossible to fix.
The solution is an increase in transparency within an interface enabling agile peer-to-peer optimization. SIMPLEGOV’s radical transparency architecture enables every citizen to easily view and understand the rule source behind every issue they experience, in order to create positive change.