Date
11:55 am—12:15 pm · June 13, 2024
Room
Herschel Room
How can you say empirically that the work you are doing has made things more transparent in your field? If your work is nebulous and difficult to measure in real world impact, this is a challenge — and one faced by a collaboratively-made data visualisation tool aimed to make the South African parliament more transparent and accountable.

How do you measure transparency and accountability? How can you say empirically that the work you are doing has made things more transparent in your chosen field? How do you know if your great idea, executed over many months, years or even decades has actually held anyone in power to account? 

Directed campaigns on a very specific topic or person may be able to claim impact, if for example their target is forced to officially announce a change in their actions, policies or has been rapped over the knuckles by a judge. But what if your work is more broad, more nebulous, and far more difficult to measure in real world impact?

This is the central challenge faced by a collaboratively-made data visualisation tool aimed to make the South African parliament more transparent and accountable.

Project partners The Parliamentary Monitoring Group (PMG), are the only organisation in the country collecting meaningful data from Parliament — and even Parliament themselves, as well as the executive government of South Africa, use PMG daily. 

OpenUp has been tasked with combining this data, along with a wider net of data and APIs, into a tool that has an impact on South African society. How do we find useful ways to measure a technology’s impact? With multiple, and sometimes rather creative indicators — but always eschewing vanity metrics.