Designing for Digital Democracy – Slides from TICTeC 2017

engage2 Director Amelia Loye is currently at the TICTeC 2017, The Impacts of Civic Technology Conference 2017, hosted by MySociety. The conference focuses on the impact of digital democracy and civic technologies on governance globally.

In Amelia’s presentation,  she argues that if we want to measure the impact of civic tech we need to examine how governments are using these tools and the input and data they collect from community through them. She shares three case studies of how technology is being used across Australia and New Zealand for engagement, including during disaster communications, urban planning and open government initiatives. She also discusses how EngageTech has helped contribute to successful outcomes, and the challenges that can also arise.

EngageTech, not just online engagement, is critical for representative democracy. How are governments now designing for digital democracy? Amelia discusses ways in which the international Civic Tech industry can help.

Below is Amelia Loye’s abstract which outlines what she discussed in her talk at the conference;

Engagement is an activity that generates information and relationships. Governments need to effectively manage these relationships if democracy is to be participatory and the information gathered from citizens through engagement needs to be considered or utilised if democracy is to be truly representative. This is the sweet sauce of genuinely open, transparent and accountable government. 

When it comes to selecting technology for engagement, the focus of the industry is on participation and online engagement. The activity, and how technology can be used to encourage participation in democracy online. And even that isn’t straightforward. There are so many tools for online engagement and digital democracy that it’s hard to make sense of the market and what tool to use when.

This focus is distracting us from the real issue: how governments can use  citizen ‘input (the data they invite from citizens during engagement on policies, programs and services), and leverage the goodwill of those want to participate in our democracy and communities.

In this session I will argue that this is the most important impact we need to measure when evaluating the effect of technology on democracy. I will share three case studies of how technology is being used across Australia and New Zealand for engagement, and how it has helped contribute to successful and unsuccessful outcomes, including during disaster communications, urban planning and open government initiatives. I will use these case studies to argue that ‘engagetech’, not just online engagement, is critical for representative democracy, and share some insights into how governments in these countries are now designing for digital democracy. This will be the catalyst to workshop ways the international civic tech industry can help.

See Amelia’s blog post in the lead up to the conference here. Amelia has been live-tweeting the event from @emotivate where she can.

If you found this interesting, you may like to learn more about the EngageTech forums. Please get in touch if you’d like to be involved. We will be hosting events in other locations later this year.

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