Participants were provided with a range of topics to choose from: the business models for e-Participation projects, e-Voting, how to reach young citizens, the World Forum eDemocracy Awards 2010. The participants voted for a discussion about financing projects and business models.
Guilermo Celata was asked to start the discussion on the basis of this project www.openparlamento.it. The project began with an investment in terms of hours of work, and has not been able to receive funding from institutions such as the Italian Camera and Senato. In Italy public or institutional funding is not always an advantage, this kind of funding may work better for projects developed in other countries.
In order to finance the project data was sold (although none that included users’ contributions). At this stage, the project involves 4 core editors and approximately 10 external professionals (for coding, marketing…). The data is interesting for private enterprises, but it took 3 years before there was a return on investment. The technology used in this project is tailored to the Italian particularities, it is not universally applicable.
The issue of applicability in other countries was echoed by Jeremy Millard’s question as to whether it is too early to talk about “good practice” or are the cases, projects, ideas and countries too different? The cases and projects are often culturally bound, and therefore have to provide inspiration for other countries.
In Tuscany, participation is mandatory by law (passed 2007) and one million Euros have been made to ensure the debating process. Each discussion must last 6 months, and on the basis of the results obtained, a decision is then taken. The participation process here is both on- and offline.
The discussion led to a number of further questions which could not be fully discussed during the workshop session, it was suggested to post them on the PEP-NET Blog:
Which topics should be chosen for the participation process?
Who decides what young people should discuss?
And who decides whether one issue or point of view (e.g. in the discussion tourism vs. environmental issues) is more important?
Any answers to those questions?
The Centre for E-Goverenment’s full resumée available on Digital Government 2.0 Blog