090: Matthew Haber (CivicPro)

Matthew Haber on Innovation City

“Rather than creating a system that is teaching people to be reactive … teach them to be proactive.” — Matthew Haber

Welcome to Innovation City—powered by Venture Cafe—where Tyler Kelley and Michael Johnson, Co-Founders of SLAM! Agency, interview innovators, creators, and disruptors to discover how business is changing in the modern world.

Created and produced by SLAM! Agency in cooperation with Venture Cafe St. Louis and Venture Cafe Miami, Innovation City gives you an inside look at how rapidly business and culture are changing thanks to increasing diversity and inclusion, heightened creativity, and a stronger and better-connected business community. Venture Cafe is the largest combined gathering of entrepreneurs and innovators anywhere in the world. Events are held every Thursday in St. Louis, Miami, and other leading innovation cities around the globe.

Today’s guest is Matthew Haber, Co-Founder at CivicPro. CivicPro is a Miami-based social enterprise focused on making it easier to track and engage with the local policy decisions that affect residents, businesses, and the city. Matthew sits down with the team to discuss why he started CivicPro, simplifying the government – resident interaction process, how CivicPro is working to increase non-electoral civic engagement, the importance of speaking up at the local government level, and much more.

They discuss:

  • CivicPro makes it easy for residents to attend government meetings and voice their opinions on local issues
  • Helping residents show up to the right meeting at the right time in the process, understand the most important items in the meeting, & understand the issues at hand
  • The background into why he started CivicPro
  • His experience in local city government
  • Most residents don’t know the right time to speak up about issues and typically miss the deadline
  • CivicPro is a web-app that allows residents to submit their issues and ideas to be heard by local government
  • The importance of speaking up at the local government level to influence bigger change
  • The three important issues CivicPro is working to solve:
  • Time and place of local decision making
  • How to prioritize the information
  • Incentivizing in-person engagement
  • Working on an algorithm that can rename complicated document titles so they are not overlooked
  • Simplifying the government – resident interaction process
  • The struggle of finding the best way to present all of the information to the public
  • Working with Knight Foundation, Catalyst Miami, Radical Partners, and others
  • His goal with CivicPro is to build tools to help people partake in the government processes
  • Miami has the lowest levels of non-electoral civic engagement in the country
  • Only 3.1% of Miami residents have attended a local government meeting
  • Some towns/cities have embraced technology to get more civic engagement
  • Looking for an increase in non-electoral civic engagement within the next 5 years
  • Government spends a lot of time on things that are generally low on residents’ priority list and less time on things that they actually care about
  • Providing context to complex government issues will ultimately allow for more resident involvement
  • Reach out to CivicPro on their website and sign up for their newsletter for more information and to partake in the beta test of the app
  • Connect with Matthew on Twitter or on the CivicPro website