Discover how Flourish & Thrive Labs revitalized a Northern Illinois city’s special event permitting process, ensuring seamless experiences for all.

A lively city in Northern Illinois, home to approximately 100,000 residents, is renowned for its vibrant atmosphere characterized by street fairs, carnivals, rallies, and more. However, the special event permitting process required a facelift to ensure the safety and delight of event attendees. The current process was cumbersome and required emailing documents between various departments and individuals, leading to errors and an extended time in processing permits.

The city partnered with Flourish & Thrive Labs, a Chicagoland-based, women and disabled-owned company, to develop a solution for improving this process. Together, Flourish & Thrive Labs and the City developed a unique customized solution to automate the routing of special event forms in less than two weeks. This project was led by the CEO of Flourish and Thrive Labs, Jefferson McMillan-Wilhoit.

Challenge: Tackling Inefficiencies in Permit Management

The previous special event permitting process was predominantly manual and burdensome, enveloped in a complex cascade of emails for review and approval across various departments. This method was not only time-intensive but lacked the transparency and accountability essential for a process of this nature. Frequent errors and extensive staff time investment compounded the issue, leading to escalated costs and inefficiencies. The City staff desired to implement a more efficient system for serving their community, but they were unsure where to start.

The Role of Process Transformation

Process transformation was central to resolving the challenges faced by the city. Flourish and Thrive Labs leveraged our THRIVE Methodology for Process Transformation to ensure a successful project. The previous approach relied on emails and required a central figure to collect feedback and written approvals from various department representatives. Flourish & Thrive Labs identified the need to automate and digitize this approach, turning to the Microsoft Power Automate Platform.

Special Event Permitting Process Diagram showing Power Automate Teams and Sharepoint
Special Event Permitting Process Diagram showing Power Automate, MS Teams, and Sharepoint

Harnessing Technology for Process Transformation in the Special Event Permitting Process

Utilizing SharePoint Online, Microsoft Teams, and Microsoft Power Automate, Flourish & Thrive Labs developed an automated and user-friendly system. When a citizen generates new forms, the forms are routed automatically to get the proper sign-offs in the correct order. This system efficiently tracks permit statuses and facilitates digital approvals, streamlining communication and reducing processing times.

Moreover, the staff training component was integral to the process transformation. Flourish & Thrive Labs ensured that the city staff was adept at using the new system and thoroughly understood its functionalities. This empowerment was critical for the sustainability and success of the reformed permitting process.

Benefit: Cost-effective, Transparent, and Accurate Permitting

The reformative changes breathed new life into the city’s operational dynamics. The automated system was a triumph in efficiency, cutting down processing times and ramping up accuracy. With real-time tracking, staff could monitor the permit applications’ status, and integrated storage ensured that all pertinent data was conveniently housed in one place. This eased information retrieval and fortified data integrity, which is essential for effective decision-making. Furthermore, the city witnessed reduced operational costs due to decreased staff time investment and minimized data-related errors.

Result: A Win-Win for the City and Event Organizers

This partnership between the city and Flourish & Thrive Labs resulted in an astounding transformation of the special event permitting process. The newly automated system has made remarkable efficiency, transparency, and accuracy strides. The process is now a breeze for city staff, and obtaining permits has never been smoother for event organizers.

With an audit trail of approvals available for submission to the Mayor’s office and the overall efficiency significantly enhanced, permits are now procured faster and more efficiently. This paves the way for a vibrant and dynamic community life.

In conclusion, Flourish & Thrive Labs ushered in innovation and process transformation to the special event permitting process in the Northern Illinois city. They created an efficient, sustainable, and streamlined system by leveraging their THRIVE methodology and incorporating staff training. The city, staff, and residents are now well-positioned to continue hosting community-enriching events easily and efficiently.

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