It might be tough to picture on a sunny, warm day but more than 40 Montrealers were, in fact, talking about snow removal on Saturday.

How can the city manage winter storms more effectively and efficiently? Technology.

That’s why the city is asking residents to help create the new snow removal smart phone app to help take some of the stress out of the winter.

“What I really appreciate is that they're coming to the end users at the beginning of the process and finding out the real needs,” said used experience designer Elida Arrizza. 

The process is called co-creation – a method used more often in the private sector.

“We're asking citizens to think about all the people involved in the snow removal process from the mother and her child to the bus driver to the city,” said co-creation host Louis-Felix Binette.

“I think it's basically the best format you can think off because it's a workshop with everyone, with backgrounds – creative backgrounds – that are developers, and citizens it's the best way to get everyone's point of view,” said user experience designer Cynthia Savard Saucier.

Creating a new snow removal app is just the beginning. The city of Montreal said it hopes to use input from the public and the private sector to create other applications for other city services.

“Information is power the more information we have the better co-ordination we'll have,” said Harout chitilian, Montreal’s executive committee vice-president and is responsible for intermation technology and the city’s push to become a “smart city.”

The city aims for the app to give more information to residents about where to find crews, which could avoid thousands of tows.

The technology already exists in Laval, said software developer Paul-Andre Savoie.

His company makes snow removal software used by more than 135 municipalities in North America.

The city is probably five years behind in terms of what other major metropolitan cities are doing in terms of planning and managing their snow removal operations,” said Savoie

The city says it hopes to catch up by relying on its population to lead the way – creating a new dialogue between elected officials and their constituents.