How Spokane, WA, used AI Software & Data Analytics to Work with the Governor’s Office and Reopen
In May 2020, the City of Spokane, WA, was under “Phase I” – the highest level of Covid-19 restrictions – to encourage social distancing. As residents complied with health guidelines and local infection rates dropped, the City began focusing on reopening the local economy, in cooperation with the Governor.
Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward tasked her staff with showing the State that local residents were not only complying with health guidelines, but were also comfortable and prepared to visit local businesses and restaurants again. Her goal was to open up by Memorial Day weekend and then kick-off the summer season. The City needed to quickly gather data to better understand what Spokane residents were thinking, and to present to the State in order to successfully advocate for reopening.
Using Zencity Data to Align with the Governor's Office
The City of Spokane, WA, already had experience working with Zencity, especially during crisis situations. It’s Communications Team, in particular, regularly used Zencity to understand and contextualize resident concerns in order to identify influential channels for information sharing, prioritize resident concerns, and craft the City’s messaging and policy-making.
In order to understand how residents felt about reopening, Spokane’s staff used Zencity to aggregate and analyze feedback data from a host of digital sources including news sites, resident organizations, the City’s social media channels, and Spokane’s 311 service. The team took a comparative data approach and explored how resident conversations had shifted since the beginning of the pandemic, as well as how sentiment trends looked on the local and regional levels. Armed with the real, resident feedback data, Spokane was able to successfully make its case to the State that the community was ready to move to “Phase II” safely and with confidence.
Zencity is an important capacity-building tool for Spokane. It helps our communications staff save valuable time that would otherwise have been spent monitoring hundreds of separate data feeds and allows us to quickly understand and report on what’s going on in the City, as well as spend more time on the creative and proactive aspects of our job.