The past week has seen a feast of eParticipation in Hamburg: the Open Government Stammtisch at Kultwerk West last Wednesday evening, a pre-Summit warm up with Nick Booth at Kultwerk West on Sunday evening, the Summit itself, and the first Hamburg social media surgery on Monday evening. It’s been energising, inspiring, refreshing and exhausting all at once.
Hamburg has a growing network of eParticipation experts/enthusiasts, a community that has been given new life by Government 2.0 Netzwerk‘s efforts to revitalise it by organising regular information meetings (Stammtische), one of which was held here at TuTech. So the idea behind the Summit was to feed this community with new ideas from outside Germany, but also to show the outside world what Hamburg has to offer.
In terms of learning from new ideas, we heard from Nick Booth about social media surgeries and his theory of Zero Expectations; Peter Verhaeghe’s ideas about the role of an architect as a mediator between citizens and politics; Erik Tissingh’s presentation of 3D citizen participation tools. Then there were the informal presentations in the break with presenters from Germany, the UK, Austria, Italy and Denmark.
And on the second point: Hamburg’s campaign for a local transparency law is unlike anything elsewhere in Europe. As far as I can see, it is the only high-profile open data campaign of its type. And with Twitter comments like this — “Everyone doing participation should have @nexthamburg‘s principles above their desk” — no-one can deny that Hamburg has a lot to say about participation.
Judging by the feedback, we managed to do what we set out to. To organise such an event wouldn’t have been possible without PEP-NET: the contacts, the brand, the publicity tools such as the mailing list and the blog. We got in touch with Peter Verhaeghe thanks to a suggestion from Dieter van de Putte, of PEP-NET member De Wakkere Burger. So with a bit of creativity and quite a bit of work, we made the most of PEP-NET and everyone’s a winner. We had a blast!
For more information about what was discussed, have a look at the full report by Noella Edelmann from the Centre of E-Governance at the Danube University.