Back in early March, Ben Berkowitz and the SeeClickFix team won BusinessNewHaven's 'Innovator of the Year' award. Its February issue even featured SeeClickFix in an article entitled "Power to the People: A Revolutionary Online Tool Promotes Positive Change, One Click at a Time." A huge congrats to everyone at SeeClickFix!
Read some excerpts below. You can check out the full article here.
When Ben Berkowitz noticed some ugly graffiti staring back at him from a neighbor's building, he did what many people would do: He got worked up. So he called City Hall ' and ended up with even more aggravation. "I am actually a big graffiti art fan, but this was not the kind that belonged on my neighbor's building," Berkowitz recalls. He called the city and quickly became disenchanted with his inability to get past telephone gatekeepers to talk to someone who could actually do something. Out of his frustration came a plan to change the way citizens could effect positive change.
"Forty-five percent of the issues on the site are fixed, and that number is quickly climbing as the number of issues goes up," Berkowitz says. "The more awareness there is of the site, the more people pay attention to it."
[Robert] Smuts' staff was faced with prioritizing and triaging a blizzard of e-mails. "As SeeClickFix was growing and finding out what they were all about, I met with Ben and we talked a lot about how it could be more helpful to the city and other municipalities," says Smuts. "He picked my brain, wanting to know how governments think." Soon Smuts realized he had found the solution to creating a public interface that worked. From those discussions, SeeClickFix Pro was created and New Haven now integrates the program with its existing City Works work-order program. Using SeeClickFix Pro, when someone posts an alert, it feeds automatically into the city's Public Works Department.
"The idea behind what Ben is doing is ' rather than someone shaking their fists and being upset about something and complaining ' he found other people who think the way he thinks and what he created is crowd-sourcing community improvement," [Jonathan] Cooper says.
Berkowitz is also hoping for continued great things: "I would like to see SeeClickFix to be a single platform for the entire world that everyone can trust that they can get results from."