Having spent time on the inside of a public sector office gives Matt Dameron a firsthand perspective of government challenges and mindsets when it comes to adopting technology. As the former Chief of Staff in the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, he’s been in the shoes of those caught between maintaining the status quo and striving for innovation.
“Too often government entities think of themselves as reactionary instead of serving a customer,” says Dameron. He sees layers of complexity tie leaders down instead of push them to stay ahead of the curve. He’s also seen parallels in the legal industry—a “this is how we’ve always done it” attitude.
But Dameron shares PayIt’s vision of “citizen-first” innovation, having helped build and grow law firms that approach client service differently based on how their clients live and communicate today.
Any time government interfaces with the community of people they serve, they have to think about how to make that a more appealing, convenient and better experience. Says Dameron, “PayIt is not just an app, it’s something that can actually make government work better. And because it’s a platform approach rather than just download and go, it brings a lot of potential.”
PayIt marries how people actually rely on mobile devices with how they are governed. And PayIt’s unique approach brings a citizen-oriented experience to government.
“I think any time people interact with government in a compulsory way, it should be positive,” says Dameron. “Maybe it’s a small business owner renewing a business license or navigating your income tax issues. Of course, the DMV is a big one. We have to stop looking at DMV patrons as a captive audience and start looking at them as consumers. It requires a shift in mindset.”
And why should state and local leaders care? “Because you want people to believe government serves a meaningful purpose in our lives and values its citizens,” says Dameron. “If I’m waiting in line to get a mandatory piece of paper for my car, when I could be using a revenue-neutral app that makes my experience easier, why would I support other government initiatives that are optional?” In other words, there can be a wider impact when government fails to consider the greater value of meeting citizens’ needs.
As chief of staff, Dameron saw a lot of pitches from a wide range of vendors, so he takes a hard line on credibility and what matters most to lawmakers and agencies.
According to Dameron, “I love PayIt’s platform model because it gives you the potential for a one-stop shop for all governmental needs. You can get a fishing license, renew vehicle tags or handle a tax issue. The idea that you can do all of that with one icon on your phone is exciting. It’s forward-thinking in a whole new way. The current web-based models many state and local governments are exploring are not the same. And PayIt is revenue-neutral to the state.”
He challenges state and local leaders to think hard about the consequences of falling behind their peers and the evolution of consumer technology in general. “Do you want to be proactive and ahead of the curve in terms of mobile adoption, with citizens saying say ‘wow, they’re really thinking ahead’? Or five years from now, do you want to hear ‘wow, why are they just now doing this?’”