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Case Studies / City Permits and Licenses / City of Saint Paul

Streamlining a City Service to Work for Everyone

The City of St. Paul Permits and Licenses webpage displayed on a laptop

To simplify the way licenses are issued for Saint Paul, we envisioned and prototyped a one-stop shop that guides users through the city service.

The City of Saint Paul issues licenses that cover needs from launching a new business to owning farm animals. For city constituents trying to apply for a license, the process was confusing and time-consuming — information was hard to find online, and applicants weren’t sure how long they would have to wait for approval.

To meet the city’s goal of being a “Saint Paul for all,” Software for Good led a strategy session to better understand the licensing process and find ways to improve it. We created user personas representing the many reasons why a Saint Paul resident would need a license, and exploring their goals and motivations.

As a group, we envisioned a one-stop shop that teaches, tells, and shows constituents what they need and where to find it. We brainstormed features to make licensing clear and intuitive, such as a “pizza tracker”-inspired tool that shows applicants where they are in the process. Finally, we turned those ideas into a set of clickable prototypes that the city can test with residents — ultimately leading to an improved, people-centered city service.

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