As is the tradition with South by South West, they do a great job of allowing the community to help design the conference program. Their famous Panel Picker application went live this morning, and this is the session proposal we submitted:

Open Government through Participation: Designing Successful Online Consultations

Public participation—the process of engaging citizens and stakeholders in collaborative problem solving and decision making—has been around for a few decades. Whether urban planning, participatory budgeting or environmental conflict resolution, the basic principles of designing and running effective consultations to gather citizen input or co-create policy solutions are, for the most part, well understood. The use of technology to support and enhance these participatory efforts, on the other hand, is still a fairly young and emerging discipline. While there have been many advancements in this area in recent years, the lessons learned still aren’t always readily available for practitioners. This fast-paced and interactive panel will explore what it takes to deliver successful online consultations. We’ll go over the basic processes involved, look at some of the typical challenges and how they can be addressed, and highlight innovative tools and projects from around the world. Technology, if applied properly, can greatly increase the opportunity for citizens to participate in the decisions that shape their future. With this session, we want to give anyone involved in delivering on this promise a solid head start.

Questions Answered

  1. What are the benefits of public participation and where does it apply?
  2. What are common design principles of successful online consultations?
  3. What are some of the typical challenges for engaging the public online and how can they best be addressed?
  4. What are some of the tools and technologies available today (in the US and globally)?
  5. How to get started creating your next online consultation?

This panel will make good use of the many project examples (successful or not) that we’re starting to see on ParticipateDB.

If you remember, this is our second attempt at bringing online participation to SXSW. With your help, we can make it happen! Please head over to the Panel Picker and leave a comment of support if you like the topic or have suggestions how we can make this panel great. Of course, don’t forget to vote it up.

There are a number of people who would make excellent co-panelists, some in the US and some international. Let me know if you’re headed to Austin, TX and would like to join us.