/Please note: This post is not from Hans Hagedorn, but from Steffen Albrecht @ Zebralog – Hans’ avatar is displayed because of a malfunction of PEP-NET’s profile function – we’ll try to fix this…/
Get involved in the latest developments of eParticipation tools!
Policy analysts, decision makers as well as civil society stakeholders and other people interested in policy-making all have to cope with numerous arguments brought forward in policy debates. The EU-sponsored IMPACT project develops open source online tools that help to make sense of the range of opinions about public policies expressed in policy consultations.
In a series of webinars, four new prototype tools will be presented, followed by an evaluation of the tools in which participants can discuss further improvements and the potential impact of the tools on policy-making. Based on material from the EU’s consultation on the Green Paper on Copyright in the Knowledge Economy, the participants will learn how to formalise and visualise arguments, how to estimate the effects of policy proposals with the help of policy modelling, and how opinions about arguments are assessed with the help of structured consultations.
This competition is very related to the e-Participation field, as Ashoka considers it as linked with the fields of “Citizen participation” and “Journalism”.
Ashoka and Google are seeking innovations that will allow global citizens to have a voice and the information they need to make change. The competition welcomes solutions that work with any communication or information technologies—not just the Internet. The contest is open to solutions around the world: you ara allowed to present you entry in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Arabic, Thai, Indonesian, Mandarin or Japanese.
Some of the benefits mentioned for participants are:
Connect to a global online community that supports the impact you are making, or seeking to make, on the ground.
Gain visibility with our community and our competition partner, Google.
Position yourself as a candidate for an Ashoka Fellowship within our News & Knowledge program.
The prizes of the competition are:
One of four US $5,000 cash prizes in unrestricted funding to boost your project.
Consideration for an Ashoka Fellowship—complete with a three-year living stipend, international recognition, and access to a network of systems-changing social entrepreneurs.
Because this paper needs to be read and, more important, discussed while its analyses are still current.
Thus, we have decided to make it provisionally available through PeP-NET. To start such a conversation, what better place than PeP-NET, the Pan European eParticipation network?
We have spent many hundreds of hours researching and writing the paper, as we struggled to make sense of the developments and “under-developments” of eParticipation in the last ten years.
Our appraisal is based on an extensive and interdisciplinary analysis of distinct relevant sources, which included the most recent reports, articles and literature reviews dealing with eParticipation research, practice and theory, as well as projects’ deliverables and evaluations, related databases, and our direct examination of eParticipation systems.
We had to resort to a very varied bunch of disciplines (from history and medicine to Mayan performing arts; seriously!! ) to be able to achieve a comprehensive understanding of the field’s challenges… and to make a compelling exposition of them.
The paper ended up being “quite controversial”, as our assessment of eParticipation came to suggest that some of the problems that have hampered its progress have a systemic, overarching character: that kind of ‘elephant in the living room’-issues whose very existence tends to be denied because of their complexity or the embarrassment they cause and, as a result, cannot normally be acknowledged or discussed, let alone get properly sorted out.
Examples of the “embarrassing questions” the paper poses are:
How can it be that after 10 years… all relevant ‘agendas’ of eParticipation research are still reported as underdeveloped?
And how can it be that even the most basic questions –for example: the relation of Participation and eParticipation, or the understanding of the dual nature of eParticipaton as something that can be driven by authorities or by citizens themselves– remain unsolved?
More than 187 millions of Euros were invested in the last ten years to promote experimentation in the field, so… where are the results? Where are the breakthroughs and the research milestones? Can we feel satisfied with just some “vague confirmations” of ideas that 10 years ago could already have been easily guessed?
Through the paper, we have done our best to constructively diagnose eParticipation and to propose some treatments for the field’s maladies. But our perspective and understanding are necessarily limited: the real “treatment” for those problems would require a reflection process that involves the whole eParticipation community.
We see this paper as an urgent “call for self-reflection” and consider it a “MUST READ” for anyone involved in European eParticipation: from the officials working at EC’s Directorate for Information society and Media, to the researchers, practitioners, NGOs, public workers, citizen associations… and even any interested European citizen.
Therefore, we would like to encourage all our PeP-NET friends and in general all people with interest in eParticipation… to have a look at the paper during this nice summer weekend.
Anyone who feels “touched” by any of the paper’s claims and argumentations… should speak up and comment to this post. It doesn’t matter if it is to support, extend or complement our asseverations, or to oppose, challenge or further qualify them… please, share your views.
PeP-NET was meant to be a HUB for the conversations around eParticipation. So… let’s discuss. It is important that the issues we showed –be them real or imagined– are talked about, and possibly acted upon.
The environment where we operate is moving. Moving faster and faster. And in the context of the ‘Europe 2020 Strategy’ and its flagship initiative “Innovation Union”, which aims to renew EU’s “Research and Innovation Funding Programmes”, the most important question we need to answer is: “What do we do now??”
For sure, we could keep pretending that there is NO elephant in the living room. Stay in our “academic” Ivory Tower, and just continue doing as we did so far… while we wait for the “barbarians of eParticipation” to arrive, change the democratic landscape by really integrating ICT in governance… and make fools of all us. PeP-NET subscribers included.
But in our association we want to believe that we, the European eParticipation Community, could do much better than that.
So… no more to say!! Thank you very much for your attention. We hope some of you enjoy reading of our paper and some exchange of ideas can happen afterwards.
—– ADDITION: A CONCEPTUAL MAP SUMMARISING PAPER’S KEY FINDINGS —–
Several people asked for a “summary” version of the paper. Here you have a JPG image (2,5 Mbytes) displaying a Conceptual Map that summarises the paper’s key findings. I recommend you to save the file first, and then open it with an image editor (like Office Picture Manager) to watch it. It’ll be more easy for you to zoom in and out in the different parts of the image.
9. June 2011 – 12:11 by Asociacion Ciudades Kyosei / Pedro Prieto-Martin
News from the Asociación and our main project (english version at the bottom ).
Como resultado del nuevo escenario creado en España por movimiento cívico “15M”, que ha inundado las plazas de las principales ciudades españolas (y algunas del extranjero) con sus demandas de una “Democracia Real YA”, en la Asociación Ciudades Kyosei hemos decidido “ponernos las pilas”, para producir cuanto antes una versión alpha del sistema “Kyopol” (aka. “Ciudad Simbiótica”), que podamos poner al servicio de todos los procesos de activación cívica y movilización social que deberían ahora darse, barrio a barrio, en todas las ciudades de España.
Ello nos ha demandado un un cambio de actitud: se hace necesario establecer un equipo más amplio, repartir responsabilidades… y así crear algo útil cuanto antes.
Pues bien, tras un par de reuniones muy productivas ayer martes y el pasado domingo… ¡¡el proceso de creación del Sistema Kyopol se considera “oficialmente iniciado”!!
El Sistema Kyopol (aka. “Ciudad Simbiótica”) fomentará la Implicación Cívica y la “Activación Ciudadana” en los ámbitos municipal y regional. Permitirá a los ciudadanos informarse, formarse y colaborar unos con otros en la mejora de su entorno vital, trabajando en aquellas temáticas que cada uno considere importantes.
No sólo eso: buscaremos que usando el Sistema Kyopol… ¡¡podamos pasarlo “de miedo”!! Que sea una experiencia tremendamente placentera, incluso divertida, eso de unirte a otras personas para implicarte en el “cuidado de lo publico”.
Para la Asociación Ciudades Kyosei… ¡¡haber logrado alcanzar este hito es algo sensacional!! Queremos agradeceros a todos los simpatizantes de la asociación el apoyo que nos habéis brindado hasta ahora y advertiros… ¡¡que ahora es cuando empieza el trabajo de verdad!!
Nuestro trabajo se desarrollará a partir de ahora mediante la estrecha colaboración de dos equipos:
Primeramente, el “Grupo impulsor” -compuesto por informáticos, investigadores y personas vinculadas con la participación- construirá prototipos del sistema y establecerá las metodologías, los recursos participativos y los arreglos institucionales que formarán parte del sistema.
En segundo lugar, el “Colectivo de pioneros”, integrado por representantes de todos los colectivos que usarán el sistema (desde ciudadanos y asociaciones de vecinos a políticos y técnicos municipales, pasando por medios de comunicación, ONGs, sindicatos y partidos políticos y, por supuesto, ahora también movimientos sociales del estilo 15M, DRY y demás bichos que éstos engendrarán en los próximos meses), que nos ayudarán probando los sucesivos prototipos del sistema, y proporcionandonos feedback en relación a las funcionalidades y procedimientos que propongamos.
En base a ello, podremos disponer de una versión Beta del sistema, lo suficientemente madura para iniciar proyectos piloto. Primeramente en el entorno de Madrid -que es de donde provienen la mayoría de nuestros Pioneros”-, y posteriormente en todas las regiones de España, y finalmente en el ámbito Latino-Americano y Europeo.
Si tenéis interés en formar parte del “Colectivo de Pioneros”, por favor contáctanos cuanto antes.
Planeamos realizar un acto de presentación del proyecto a todos sus potenciales interesados, en las instalaciones de la Universidad de Alcalá. ¡¡Os invitamos a tod@s a que nos acompañéis en el evento!!
Urged, and inspired, by the emergence of the #SpanishRevolution, which has crowded the main squares of many spanish cities (and several foreign ones too!) to demand a “Real Democracy NOW!”… we have tried to accelerate our association’s projects.
And… after a couple of very productive meetings on Tuesday and on last Sunday … the construction of the “Kyopol System” has been “officially started”!
Kyopol (aka. “Symbiotic City”) will promote “citizen activation” and civic involvement in the municipal and regional levels. It will allow citizens to inform themselves about civic issues, “educate” themselves on how to “participate”, and collaborate with each other to improve their shared living environment, by collaboratively working on those issues that each one considers important.
Actually, our aim is that by using Kyopol we citizens will be able to experience a great deal of fun (and proudness!). Isn’t that the way that “meeting fellow citizens to jointly care and work for the common good” should taste?!
For the Asociación Ciudades Kyosei… having reached this milestone is something sensational! We want to thank all supporters of the association for the help we have received so far, but also warn them… that the real work is about to start!!
Our work will be developed through the collaboration of two teams:
First, the “Core Team”, which is mainly composed of developers and citizen participation’s researchers, practitioners and stake-holders, who will work together to construct prototypes and establish the participatory methodologie,s the formative resources and the institutional arrangements that will surround Kyopol.
Second, a “Pioneers Team”, that integrates representatives of all groups that will use the system (citizens, neighbourhood associations, governments oficials, politicians, NGOs, media, social movements, etc…). They will act as “Alpha testers”, and will help us testing our prototypes and providing feedback in relation to the functionalities and the participatory methodologies and resources we propose.
Based on this work, we will construct a Beta version of the system, mature enough to initiate pilot projects. These will first first in the surroundings of Madrid, where most of our Pioneers are located, and will afterwards get extended to several regions in Spain, and finally to the wide Latin American (and European) environments.
The next milestone we are planning is a meeting at the University of Alcalá, where the project will be presented to all potential stakeholders. Collaborative work will start immediately afterwards.
3. November 2010 – 17:40 by Bengt Feil (TuTech Innovation GmbH)
In July 2010 David Bismark presented an innovative eVoting approach at the TED conference. This approach does not get rid of voting booths or ballots but improves on the efficiency, transparency and accountability of the voting process.
The general idea is to encrypt the vote by separating the list of options from the actual vote and adding a unique identifier to each ballot. Even being critical of eVoting myself, I think the idea is pretty clever and well described in the 7 min TED talk:
20. April 2009 – 13:44 by Danish Technological Institute
by Morten Meyerhoff Nielsen, Danish Technological Institute
Much has been reported about the successful campaigning, fund raising and support canvassing by the 2008 Obama election campaign. Still the use of ICT to increase electoral participation, campaigning, consultation and voting is not a uniquely US phenomena. A multitude of eParticipation and eDemocracy initiatives exist. Ranging from eVoting in Estonia’s and Geneva’s national and regional elections, gender budgeting in Freiburg, consultation on local issues in Malmö to the political influence of bloggers in China or in the 2008 election crisis in Kenya. Information communication technology (ICT) in other words plays an increasingly important role in society.
As South Africans go to the polling stations on 22 April 2009, campaigning is being played out in traditional media (TV, radio, print), on the internet, on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, in text messages/sms’s with street banners and in rallies across the country.
A full 173 parties – 134 at national level plus 39 purely provincial parties – are officially registered for the 2009 elections. Of these the four main ones are (alphabetic order):
ANC – African National Congress and currently in power with the support, in a tripartite alliance, of the smaller South African Communist Party (SACP) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU)
COPE – Congress of the People in 2008 by formed members of the ANC
DA – Democratic Alliance and currently the official opposition
IFP – Inkatha Freedom Party a mainly regional party centered on the province of KwaZulu-Natal
Each of the main parties makes use of ICT in some form and in variety of ways and degrees. The table below outlines the use of websites and social networks (or Web2.0 technologies). Read the rest of this entry »
11. December 2008 – 15:47 by Bengt Feil (TuTech Innovation GmbH)
2008 definitely was a great year for everybody involved in social media and the web in general as for example new forms of communication developed (micro-messaging), online video content went mainstream (Hulu) and the largest and most successful online campaign helped to make Barrack Obama into the oval office. But what will 2009 bring to for the citizens of the net? Will it again be another “great” year or will the financial crush and other problems also effect web and it inhabitants? Fast Company posted a great article compiling the predictions for 2009 of eight persons who have different insights into the field. Four main trends can be identified from their statements:
1.) The personal profile on the web will become portable
Chris Brogan of New Marketing Labs thinks that social networks will start to merge and that data portability (e.g. the possibility for users to synchronize their data between platforms) will take off. Mary Hodder (Founder of Dabble.com) also thinks that user will be able to unify their online presence. But she also thinks Facebook will have trouble to compete with others in an open environment as they are they best example of a “walled garden”. From my point of view this prediction seems reasonable taking into account the ideas represented in Facebook Connect, Friend connect and Open Social.
27. November 2008 – 11:47 by Bengt Feil (TuTech Innovation GmbH)
Electronic participation is often associated solely with political participation. But eParticipation tools are also used by companies like for example Starbucks. But Museums do not come to mind first when thinking about innovative ways to include the “users” into decision making processes. This first impression however is wrong. Many museums do try to use electronic tools to get their visitors more involved into exhibitions, events, etc. One example for a museum stepping into the world of eParticipation is the Helmsmuseum in Hamburg:
In January and February of 2008 this museum of local history in Hamburg utilized the DEMOS eParticipation approach to involve the local citizens and the museums visitors to plan a new exhibition on the local history of southern Hamburg. This experiment was aimed at involving the main target group for the exhibition in the actual planning to both make the exhibition more attractive visitors and to make use of the special knowledge of the participants. The museum was one of the first to take this innovative road in organizing its activities.
The participation platform (which can be viewed here) was set up and supported by TuTech Innovation. The moderation and community building work on the site was done by the museums staff after being training and instructed by TuTech. The topic chosen for the participatory action and the target group (local citizens of one borough of Hamburg) was relatively limited but still 72 people were actively involved in the discussion and posted 312 contributions. A total of 1.300 unique visitors where tracked on the site producing 19.000 page views. Taking into account the size of the project and the questions at hand these number are very respectable. The qualitative results where of course of much higher importance:
The participation efforts helped the planers to select topics which may have been ignored and it integrates the individual knowledge and experience of the participants into the process. One example is that photo material and certain items which are owned by the participants and relative to the exhibition where indentified by the efforts.
Besides strengthening the local position of the museum the activity also helped to raise the regional and national profile of the museum which used such innovative tools.
After the initial effort the museum decided to keep the online platform running to continue the fruitful dialog with its visitors and active community members which they do to this day.
This example shows that eParticipation is a universal tool which is not restricted to political participation. Other entities like museums can also make use of the innovative approaches and tools available in this field. It also shows that even small scale efforts with a limited target group can be addressed if the method chosen is appropriate to the situation.
6. August 2008 – 09:09 by Bengt Feil (TuTech Innovation GmbH)
It has been discussed on many different occasions how forms of electronic participation can help companies to keep in touch with their costumers, develop innovation and test products etc. The recent project MyStarbucksIdea showed how successful the use of eParticipation can be in such settings (a comprehensive article on this project can be found here (German) and here). Now UserVoice tries to generalise the approach of MyStarbucksIdea and makes the service available to everyone.
You can take a look at this video describing the UserVoice platform and its uses:
The service makes it relatively simple for a company to kick of a dialog with their costumers or employees by implementing a clear process which promises to cover all steps of participation from the initial idea to the implementation.
But a number of questions remain: Can the approach chosen be UserVoice really be the background for a communicative processes involving the development of new ideas or does it best serve as a costumer satisfaction tool? Will especially large companies be willing to use a standard platform or do they need to have more control and original design?
At the least UserVoice shows that eParticipation for companies is a trend which is here to stay. No we have to figure out how to best implement it.
15. July 2008 – 10:48 by Bengt Feil (TuTech Innovation GmbH)
The American Republican Party (GOP) launched a site to gather comments and suggestions on policy issues by its supporters. The website is called Republican Platform Committee and allows everybody who is willing to register can participate in what the party describes as:
…seeking your input as we develop the policies and principles upon which we should stand for the next four years. On this website, you can share your thoughts, participate in polls, and communicate directly with the policymakers who will be shaping the party’s agenda. All comments and feedback will be reviewed and taken into full consideration as we prepare for our convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul.
Techcrunch points out that among the topics suggested, e.g. national security, energy and gas prices, health care reform, judicial nominations, “Protecting American Values.” there is no specific mentioning of tech related topics on the website which would be a perfect fit for the medium. As an additional way to reach out to interested citizens the GOP also launched a Facebook app aimed at the same purpose. The site uses text and video based communication as well as polls to discuss the topics at hand and is moderated.
The old elephant GOP seems to be quite up to date when it comes to modern campaigning. One may hope that such a step towards eParticipation will also be part of the federal government program regardless who wins the election. As far as campaigning goes: This effort may help to convert the Ron Paul enthusiast to John McCain if he is smart enough to use this tool and pick up the right topics. I think the Democrats will have to introduce answer to this soon and their already made good steps towards it with BarackObama.com.