#2 – mySidewalk

Posted on November 18, 2019

mySidewalk logo

This is the company information page for the 2019 #ELGLHaverford award.

Learn more about the award program, and read about all of the honorees.

About mySidewalk

Engagement With ELGL:

Working with the Company:

Describe your work and interactions with the nominee – how have you worked with them, on what projects, in what capacity?

  • I have worked with mySidewalk during the process of establishing a community risk assessment tool for Hartford, CT.  Data analysis and presentation is a oxy-moron in the fire service and has always been a cliché to fire service veterans. The challenge was to communicate the importance of utilizing data to make informed decisions for the betterment of both internal and external stakeholders of the Hartford Fire Department. mySidewalk did a phenomenal job in breaking down technical terms in a manner that lay firefighters, citizens, and elected officials could understand which contributed to the risk assessment being embraced with minimal resistance. With a priority and passion to serve public servants, the partnership between the Hartford Fire Department and mySidewalk has truly made a difference in our community. With a socioeconomically depressed environment when compared to other like sized cities, we as the Hartford Fire Department were able to target our most vulnerable neighborhoods by the block due to the data that mySidewalk compiled in our risk assessment. This targeted and focus approached to community risk reduction allowed us to maximize resources and personnel with specific public education information such as unattended cooking, electrical fire safety, candle safety, smoking safety, and encouraging our residents/tenants to obtain renters insurance to assist them in the event of a fire. This invaluable information was obtained by the fire department but it is also consistently shared with other city departments and non-profit organizations who provide social services in Hartford. This collaborative or “village” approach of addressing emergency responses in the city prior to them occurring allows us to formulate proactive solutions to problems before they become a crisis. There are very few things that occur that are truly accidents. Most incidents that occur are predictable and if they are predictable, then they are preventable. If they are preventable, then we can’t call it an accident, it is an avoidable incident. Our community risk assessment tool allows us to prevent avoidable incidents from occurring through public education. This would not be possible without mySidewalk’s assistance and we a truly appreciative of their contributions. 
  • We work with mySidewalk to visualize resident feedback alongside other key datasets.  They’ve really helped us to build capacity and create an appetite for data analytics and story telling. 
  • mySidewalk has helped my organization create a data dashboard. This dashboard has helped us publish data and provide context to the changes and challenges in our community.

What was the product/outcome of your relationship with the company?

  • The outcome of our relationship has been our ability to target our most vulnerable neighborhoods with public education material. This has proven to have shown a decrease in unattended cooking fires in certain neighborhoods. This is significant because several of our communities within the city are overpopulated and we have more multi-family homes in the city than single family homes. In some neighborhoods, we have approximately 7,500 people within a square mile.  It is certainly a public safety concern if we were to have fires in certain neighborhoods which is why it is important to us to utilize our community risk assessment tool to prevent these avoidable incidents from occurring. 
  • Our City’s been collecting resident feedback for six years. This partnership helps us to close that loop and clearly communicate our findings. 
  • An intuitive and publicly available dashboard that is designed to inform workers, investors, and entrepreneurs.

What are three words you’d use to describe the company?

  • Innovative ; Professional ; Committed 
  • Honest, Resourceful, Helpful
  • Innovative, helpful, and creative

Describe the on boarding process for your work with the company – either when you personally started working with them, or when your organization did. What could someone else in local government know about starting work with this company?

  • The process was very simple and professional as we started our professional relationship.  The vision and direction was clear and easily conveyable to our internal stakeholders. Changes initiated on our end were pleasantly embraced, and reiteration of making sure that our demands were met was consistently embraced by mySidewalk. 
  • My organization began working with mySidewalk before I became an employee. After I assumed the primary responsibility of maintaining and updating the dashboard, I got an account. Once I was set up, the mySidewalk team helped me schedule trainings and navigate the numerous other resources they make available to their clients.
  • They really drove that on-boarding process, leveraging what they knew about us and their experience with other cities. That’s why we partner in the first place, because we don’t have the capacity (in-house).  One thing they’re really good at is always giving us something to respond to. They never approach a meeting with a blank sheet of paper, so to speak. I would encourage all my fellow local gov colleagues to hold your partners to this standard. 
  • Don’t be shy about sharing stories and providing context.  The team at mySidewalk is really good at taking raw ideas and turning into a story or design. 

What is the company’s pricing structure? Please be as descriptive as possible.

  • Pricing is based off of population and complexity of the data that we want analyzed. The community risk assessment tool is a hybrid of internal data from our records management system and open source data.  

What’s the most interesting or fun aspect of your work with the company? 

  • There is always an effort to do more and to be better. As someone who is “high speed and low drag” I really enjoy that about mySidewalk. 
  • The team, for sure.  They entertain all of my jokes, asides, and my venting!….I do a lot of venting.
  • Exploring the vast amounts of data and functionality the platform and services provide has been exciting.

How has your relationship with the company evolved or changed over time? How has the company reacted to or addressed any changes that your organization has requested in the scope/focus of your work together?

  • The company has been nothing but professional when expediting our change requests. They have shown more flexibility than I would be comfortable with if I were in their shoes. As the customer, I can really appreciate that. 
  • The mySidewalk team helped myself and my colleagues develop a scope of work for our project. Initially, I did not have a grand vision for our data dashboard, but the folks at mySidewalk have a lot of resources that help local governments find and tell stories about their communities. Since I first started my project, mySidewalk has helped me as I have tried to seek more advanced solutions.
  • We’re currently developing a new dashboard for a relativity complex data set.  They’ve really gotten in the trenches with us in evaluating the data and finding the best way to present it. We encountered a lot of surprises along the way, but they’ve demonstrated a lot of commitment to make this work for us.

Anything else to add about the company that we haven’t already asked you?

  • They are phenomenal and they are making our community better. I am proud to be working with mySidewalk which is helping keep my firefighters safe, citizens safe, and visitors safe as they enjoy the capital city of the State of CT.
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