DiCiccio: Technology, big ideas: Moving Phoenix forward - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Opinion

DiCiccio: Technology, big ideas: Moving Phoenix forward

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Posted: Monday, January 13, 2014 8:45 am | Updated: 9:55 pm, Sat Jan 18, 2014.

Phoenix is at a crossroads. The last few years our city made significant “big decisions” securing financial security. We are now entering a period where “big ideas” need to take hold. Ideas that move our city ahead of our competitors in this new global economy.

This new world economy requires us to be faster, smarter and more efficient than other municipalities. Phoenix is a great city, and in order to keep the wonderful quality of life we enjoy, we must constantly adapt to an ever changing environment. One of the most important challenges today is keeping up with the rapid advances in technology.

We are proposing Phoenix call a technology summit to accomplish two things: One, look internally to create better efficiencies and better service to our customers. Two, put in place the right technology infrastructure for job growth and quality of life.

Internally, the focus will be to establish the most advanced systems to give our citizens the best and most efficient services starting with an analysis of what we currently have in place and then determine what is necessary to sustain job growth and be the finest city to live, work and raise our families.

Externally, provide an environment to spur increased economic growth by viewing technology as we do improvements in our water/sewer lines, streets, parks and libraries-capital improvements. Job growth in this economy depends on the easy and readily accessible technology infrastructure. Future capital budgets need to have a technology component. Investing in the right infrastructure means reaping big rewards for future growth in a diversified economy. There has been significant talk about diversifying our economy, but you must have the right environment in place to have that occur.

Let’s start by enlisting the services of those on the front lines, our city employees as well as those in the private sector to help us create a technology road map making Phoenix the best and most efficient city in the nation. We need to hear from residents, businesses and our own city departments on what technologies will help us become the benchmark city. We must pinpoint any unmet needs and work to fill those voids. Expand our partnerships beyond the walls of City Hall and look for guidance from the best and brightest in our community. We must also talk with ASU, U of A, NAU, Maricopa Community College, GPEC, Science Foundation and Greater Phoenix Leadership and of course, our youth to help us determine what we need.

Phoenix recognized the importance of technology in 2010 when the mayor and City Council established the Efficiency and Innovation Subcommittee. With the support, ingenuity and guidance of our great city employees, Phoenix cut more than $89 million annually in government waste without reducing the quality of services. In fact, a significant amount of the savings were a result of Phoenix employees recommending needed cutting-edge technology.

Big ideas require big steps. To those who say we can’t afford new investments, we say we say we can’t afford not to. Phoenix is known as one of the best places in the world to visit, live in or start a business. In order to remain so, we must also be known as the smartest and most advanced technological city.

• Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio represents District 6, which includes Ahwatukee Foothills. Reach him at council.district.6@phoenix.gov or (602) 262-7491. Phil Gordon is the former mayor of Phoenix. Councilman Michael Nowakowski represents District 7 in Phoenix.

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