No More Unproductive Meetings! How Technology Can Improve Your Council Meetings

The days of meetings that run too long, that have no zest and that don’t connect with people are numbered. It was only a matter of time before someone realized that this old-fashioned style of meetings was becoming increasingly less effective, and how technology could fix all of that. How many meetings have you been to where there was nothing new presented? Where the agenda was more like a rough outline and merely surviving the meeting felt like an accomplishment?

Have you ever sat there with that pamphlet, that flyer and that two page meeting outline paper in-hand and wonder how many trees died for this? Maybe there has been more than one occasion where you wanted to share valuable information or give feedback, but there was never a forum within the meeting for that. That seems counterproductive doesn’t it?

Now picture this – a meeting that people get excited about and want to attend! This is the new concept of meetings. Let’s face it, if people are dreading that upcoming meeting beforehand, then it is only going to be that much harder to produce a successful and effective event.

The Meeting Agenda
It isn’t uncommon for successful business people to have a meeting penciled into their calendar. Maybe it follows that business closing at 10 a.m. and comes before their flight back at 4 p.m. This is only one of  a hundred possible examples of why having an agenda, and sticking to that agenda is important. Not only is it showing respect for others and placing a value on their time, it is also the way professionals handle events.

Technology permits the tools to keep everyone aware of schedules, updates or changes. Technology will also expedite the meeting, helping everything to flow more smoothly and maintain those agendas.

Be Creative and Innovative
This aspect of meeting planning can be the make or break point. You may be ready to share the newest and most groundbreaking news, something that will impact the entire community but a dry, long and boring meeting could undermine the message, the entire purpose of the meeting. How creative and innovative you get is only limited by the imagination.

With the power of technology meetings can be infused with videos and graphics. Attendees can be engaged and interact with the means afforded through technological aids, meeting planners can be more creative and innovative than ever (and many can get creative for the first time ever!).

Provide Value
In every aspect of the meeting, provide your attendees value. Provide valuable information they can use. Provide opportunities for the community to speak and be heard, a forum where communication and exchange of ideas can happen. Provide value wherever possible.

The litmus test for every meeting is in this question: Did it work? Did your audience benefit and appreciate the meeting? Did your members and audience appreciate your accurate timeline, were answers found…did it work?

Guess what? Technology can provide solutions and answers for these questions and issues too. Maybe the mere value of going green was appreciated? Perhaps having the opportunity to engage and be engaged and having accessible information was the value delivered? Even getting the feedback to these types of questions can be delivered through technological means.

Better Meetings
Have you asked the question, do you want to know how technology can improve your council meetings? The answers will please and amaze you. Technology can save time and money. Technology can provide a centralized platform for dialogue. Technology can help your council meeting do what it was intended to do – fix problems and find solutions.

Council meetings are the core of community, the place where people join to share ideas and implement plans to provide the happiest, healthiest most viable community possible. How can technology help? In every way.

5 Reasons Why Governments Should Embrace Artificial Intelligence

Science fiction has long painted artificial intelligence as the destroyer of worlds, the inevitable takeover that will doom the entire species. Although some of the dangers of artificial intelligence are real, if not dramatically overstated, there are also plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the ongoing collaboration between humans and cutting-edge AI. The upside is particularly apparent as governments begin to use artificial intelligence to untangle the frequently messy knot of bureaucracy, often with limited resources. Here are five reasons why governments should embrace artificial intelligence instead of running from it.

1. Predicting the (short-term) future

For the longer term, artificial intelligence will be able to give us more accurate predictions than humans can calculate manually, although that’s not where we stand to immediately benefit from the predicting capabilities of artificial intelligence. One arm of the U.S. government that is already moving forward quickly in this field is with health monitors for soldiers, which can provide a commander or physician with health updates in real-time. This type of information could be an absolute game-changer for combat and special forces units, allowing an expedited diagnosis and health predictions for wounded soldiers that could be the difference between life and death. Meanwhile, the Department of Energy is also pushing forward with its own usage of artificial intelligence, particularly while trying to maximize the benefits of solar power. Collaborating with IBM, the Department of Energy continues to work on a SunShot Initiative that will utilize artificial intelligence to calculate weather conditions and maximize solar output, with the goal being to dramatically lower the overall cost of solar electricity in the coming decades. Thanks to a wide range of potential applications, being able to predict the short-term could become an invaluable part of a healthy and functioning government.

2. Efficiency

A critique that is habitually thrown at governments in general is a lack of efficiency, as government agencies both small and large regularly have trouble keeping up with the daunting level of information to process. One example of where governments are deeply inefficient is with information call centers, which effectively turn well-trained employees into switchboard operators for basic operations that could easily be handled with artificial intelligence. With the recent advances in communication between humans and bots, as well as growing familiarity among users, a bulk of the volume at call centers could be handled by AI while skilled employees would be able to focus on other priorities that cannot be solved through artificial intelligence at this time. Artificial intelligence can not only improve efficiency and cut backlogs for various government programs, including emergency informational systems, but help ensure that you can talk to the right human for the job, if necessary.

3. Safety and reliability

Call centers are certainly not the only places where governments can rapidly improve current processes either, as electrical and transportation grids continue to bring about escalating challenges that can be eased by the advantages of AI. As transportation automatizes, correctly implementing artificial intelligence is predicted to be absolutely critical in creating a safe and reliable transportation system deep into the 21st century. Although automatizing transportation systems also comes with security concerns that will need to be dealt with, safe travel in a quickly changing world will become a much more realistic possibility if governments can get ahead of the curve on artificial intelligence.

4. A crucial supplement to rapid transformation

With the baby boomer generation beginning to retire and create vacancies, understanding and working with the benefits of intelligent automation could be crucial in filling the fairly large gap in skilled workers that continues to widen. An area where governments can specifically benefit from intelligent automation is with continually changing regulations, which can often leave an agency overwhelmed while attempting to comply. Without a major shift in the infrastructure of an agency, correct use of intelligent automation can sift through large volumes of information and provide an extremely quick analysis of a specific sector, allowing an agency to stay up-to-date with shifting dynamics despite limited resources.

5. Learning from the private sector

An unusual advantage that the public sector has is that it’s actually not on the forefront of AI discovery, as the private sector is already seeing exponential growth in artificial intelligence investments. For governments, this is actually a great development, as public officials can study the pros and cons of private artificial intelligence implementation and come up with a middle and long-term plan that better suits the needs of an agency. While the road to artificial intelligence will certainly contain many pitfalls, governments are in a perfect position to implement technologies only after they are nearing perfection.