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Cultivating Collective Intelligence

For over two centuries, representative democracy has been the best means humankind has found for governing communities. But as we look around, we can’t help but think that if this is the best we can do, we’re in trouble. Today’s political processes severely limit individuals’ ability to meaningfully participate in solving the problems that affect them. As Citizens, it’s our duty to reclaim our place at the table.

Civic technology holds the potential to reshape how communities of all sizes identify problems, deliberate solutions, make decisions, take collective action, and evaluate outcomes. So far that potential has failed to translate into significant real-world impacts.

Today’s civic tech landscape is littered with good ideas from intelligent people that failed to garner a critical mass of eyeballs and funding. There is a need for a platform to connect users, developers and donors, creating a more efficient civic tech marketplace and a fertile framework for experimentation. If critical mass is achieved, the network effect of connected stakeholders will accelerate the development and adoption of a wide variety of tools, each one holding the potential to make the hard work of collective problem solving easier.

This presentation will focus on discussing the principles, characteristics and features that would be important in a civic tech acceleration platform.

We imagine four primary use cases:

  • Activists identify communities to which they belong and the issues they care about, then are pointed towards civic tech apps that address their concern.
  • Developers submit civic tech apps to be featured on the site and find projects to contribute to.
  • Donors research projects and development teams, and give with greater confidence.
  • Leaders connect civic participation to real-world outcomes.

After participating, users rate and evaluate their experience, curating the apps on the platform.

The result of the successful implementation and adoption of such a platform would be the ongoing iteration of civic technologies that give every willing member of a community the power to contribute towards solving the problems that affect them.

Participants in this presentation should expect to offer opinions, criticism and insight; to walk away with new ideas and a better understanding of the work of DemocracyLab.org.

Presenters

Mark Frischmuth

Mark Frischmuth