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Looking for an open-source, natural language text solution you can replicate and use? TextAZ is a free text-message service that anyone in Arizona can use to find and access services for themselves and their family, including help with housing, food, transportation, child-care and parent support classes. TextAZ was created by The Collective Impact for Child Safety and Well-Being to make the complex and often frustrating process of finding available resources non-judgmental, stigma free, quick, and easy.
The Collective Impact Team and the ASU CIC used state 211 data along with focus groups to understand the frustration Arizona families have accessing supportive services. Families say they don't know the best way to get the help they need or even what help is available. There can be an overwhelming number of ways to access the services they need. Families report using more than one service across different assistance service-providers which requires having to go through intake and screening processes and provide the same information over and over. Some services require materials such as a smartphone and cannot be reached otherwise. As such, people in need are left confused about where to turn for help and often resort to calling into various helplines, which can potentially result in long wait times for questions that may have quick answers.
The Collective Leadership Team collaborated with families and support professionals to create a text-based platform powered with natural language and artificial intelligence to help families quickly and simply identify and access the support they need. TextAZ will use a universal directory of Arizona supportive services, a base of questions and eligibility criteria as a foundation and then layer on a text based communications capability. TextAZ will use one set of screening questions to create a customized package of services based on user, location, needs, eligibility and availability and is designed to grow as the needs of citizens change and new challenges arise. TextAZ will be accessible through text messaging, phone calls, and online messaging on the website in order to make it as accessible as possible. TextAZ will also be available in several different languages.
The Amazon Working Backwards process produces three artifacts - a Press Release, a list of Frequently Asked Questions, and a Visual depiction of the user experience. You can find the The Collective Leadership TextAZ artifacts here:
The ASU Cloud Innovation Center completed the wireframe development in June 2021 working with ASU Interns, AWS Solution Architects and Collective Impact staff to develop the solution.
The ASU Smart Cities Cloud Innovation Center (CIC) is a strategic relationship with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and is supported by AWS on ASU’s Innovation campus - SkySong. The mission of the CIC is to drive Innovation Challenges that materially benefit the greater Phoenix metro area and beyond. The CIC does this by solving pressing community and regional challenges, using shareable and repeatable technology solutions from ideation through prototype, as a service for the greater human good.
For more information on the ASU CIC, to read about projects or to submit a challenge, please visit https://smartchallenges.asu.edu.