Advancements in information technology have opened doors to opportunity, enabled the transformation of services, and allowed us to attempt novel approaches to solving problems and achieving success. Yet, the pace of technological change and demand for digital services have placed a myriad of demands on every organization, and our government is no exception.
In the words of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, "The pace of change has never been this fast, yet it will never be this slow again." Given this reality, we felt it would be judicious to focus our efforts and apply the resources of the City of Santa Monica effectively, efficiently, and to great impact.
We need a strategy, and a plan to define a clear path for technology initiatives that reap the highest benefits for our community and our staff. A community-centric, people-centric plan focused not on the technology, but on what technology can achieve.
This plan was developed over the course of nine months. It involved the entire ISD team, as well as representatives from all 11 City departments, the City Attorney’s office, Rent Control, and the City Clerk. Five collaborative workshops were conducted with over 75 participants; the process is described below.
1. Listening Tour
Our strategic planning efforts began with an attempt to fully understand the current state of technology services and support in the city. We used a grounded theory approach seeking to codify the City’s and community’s understanding of technology. This effort entailed over 25 one-on-one and focus group interviews with City and community representatives. Each of these interviews followed a standard research protocol and interview schedule whereby informants were asked for their feedback on the state of technology in the City, and their satisfaction with the Information Services Department (ISD). At the conclusion of this process, these interviews were transcribed into over 250 pages of text, which served as the basis for the development of strategic themes.
2. Strategic Themes
Strategic themes, the anchors of the strategic planning process, are grounded in the information gathered during the listening tour. The five themes were developed from the community’s emic understanding of technology.
Outcomes represent the desired results we plan to achieve, and represent the “what” in the strategic plan.
Actions that will contribute to accomplishing the Outcome. The “how’s” in the strategic plan.
5. Key Performance Indicators
When we achieve our outcome how will we know? Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and metrics indicate if we have achieved our outcomes/goals and describe what we will have accomplished.
6. Mission, Vision, and Values
Our mission defines why we exist and what our primary purpose and objectives are. Our vision describes what we hope to achieve and what we want to be known for. Our core values are important to support and inform our vision, shape our culture, and reflect the core beliefs that inspire and guide choices in the way we operate and work with one another.