In August 2009, our team from the Brandt School advised the City of Erfurt on their participatory budgeting project. The city had asked their citizens earlier in a survey which areas they find important, and the administration wanted to use the results of the survey as the basis for an internet-based consultation. The next step (and our task) was then to set up an on-line platform to gather ideas, within the areas from the survey. We went ahead and proposed a three-step process (ideation, deliberation and collaboration), set up a message board and accompanied the city’s first e-participation effort. That was my first experience in the area. Participation on the web was not new to me, but introducing modern technology and ideas of openness into public administration is an exciting, new and daunting task.

But let me introduce myself. I am a graduate student at the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy at the University of Erfurt (Germany) and Intellitics’ first intern. Even though my educational background is in international affairs, economics and politics, I have participated in a number of projects in the German “Government 2.0” sphere, mostly assisting Dr. Philipp Mueller, visiting professor for public policy and public management at the Brandt School, who is currently writing a book called “Shaping Network Society”. The most noteworthy project was to document the first German Government 2.0 Camp in Berlin in August 2009. What started out as a blogging and tweeting mission there ended up as a full-blown documentation website (gov20.cpmg.eu) and an internal expert opinion for the German Federal Ministry of the Interior.

Student Intern / Special Ops

Over the next few weeks, I will support a number of projects such as adding more content to ParticipateDB, producing new episodes of This Week in Participation as well as a trip to the OpenGovWest conference in Seattle later this month. I am writing my master’s thesis on e-participation, and will post a few texts here on this blog about topics from research as well as internship-related findings.