2017 Schedule

Tuesday 25th April

  • Conference registration & refreshments

  • Welcome

    • Mark Cridge (mySociety, UK)
  • Understanding impact: the year in mySociety research

    • Dr. Rebecca Rumbul (mySociety, UK)
  • (Un)Civic Tech?

    • Tiago Peixoto (World Bank, US)

    Civic Tech is no longer a new phenomenon, and we can now take a long view on its history and efficacy. Tiago presents an overview of what has worked, and what hasn't, then returns to the present day to see how we can set the agenda for both persisting and emergent issues.

  • Refreshment break

  • Truth, influence and accountability in the media

    Understanding media ecosystems and campaigns with Media Cloud

    • Anushka Shah (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US)

    Media Cloud is a big data, open-source platform developed by the Center for Civic Media. It aggregates news stories daily from over 50,000 sources across the world, and delivers analysis and visualisations on media influence and attention.

    The changing role of the citizen in media

    • Alina Ostling (European University Institute, Italy)
    • Iva Nenadic (European University Institute, Italy)

    New digital tools, and initiatives such as crowdfunding and crowdsourcing, are profoundly affecting the relationship between the citizen and the media. How have these innovations affected transparency and accountability in the media?

    Media coverage and elections: tracking news stories on politicians

    • Moritz Neujeffsk (Open Knowledge Germany)

    To take informed voting decisions, citizens need to know what their representatives stand for. School of Data Germany monitored and analysed news stories and party communications, and combined these with an existing channel where citizens could put direct questions to MPs to address the current climate of mistrust in politics and enable more meaningful voting decisions.

    Impacts of Open Data on policy

    From portal to policy: how Open Data can be used to achieve policy outcomes

    • Michael Canares (World Wide Web Foundation - Open Data Lab Jakarta, Indonesia)

    How Gerak Aceh, an anti-corruption advocacy group in Indonesia, uses open data as a tool to influence provincial mining policy.

    Open Data for better health service delivery

    • Fabrizio Scrollini (Latin American Open Data Initiative (ILDA), Uruguay)

    Open Data promises to contribute to more transparency, participation and accountability in health service delivery — but how exactly is this promise to be delivered? Case studies in Uruguay, Mexico and Peru help to bring clarity.

    Informing citizens

    Political matchmaking online: changing the electorate?

    • Diego Garzia (University of Lucerne, Switzerland)

    These days, Voting Advice Applications are used by million of voters at election time. They have been shown to increase political interest and knowledge, and to foster turnout as a result. Will they lead to the de-personalisation of politics in the long run?

    Big data platforms for a better politics

    • Paul Hilder (Crowdpac, UK)

    Across the UK, USA and France — and in the context of Brexit, Trump and the French election — how Open Data can help inform voters with objective information on politicians' positions.

    If you build it, will they come?

    • Anna Ścisłowska (Association 61, Poland)

    For over a decade, Association 61 have been gathering and publishing data about politicians. During that time, they have been striving to find better ways to catch the attention of the public. What actually works?

  • Lunch

  • Increasing voter knowledge of the ballot with Facebook

    • Devra Moehler (Facebook, US)
    • Samidh Chakrabarti (Facebook, US)
  • Open government: a two-way conversation

    Argentina's judicial data

    • Sandra Elena (Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, Argentina)

    Last November, Argentina's Ministry of Justice launched an Open Judicial Data Portal, publishing 21 datasets. Meanwhile, on the Justice 2020 platform, citizens can debate and design public justice policy.

    Look who's talking

    • Christopher Wilson (University of Oslo, Norway)

    When governments commit to OGP, how much do they really commit to civic participation and citizen engagement? When they do engage, do both sides get equal airtime? By coding the commitments, we can start to distinguish between consultation and conversation.

    RTI platforms as a force for positive change

    • Silvana Fumega (ILDA)

    Examining the role of digital Right to Information (RTI) platforms in five different contexts across developing and developed countries: an analytic framework to explore how online portals impact RTI regimes.

    Listening to citizens

    Civic Tech: fulfilling its promise?

    • Alisa Zomer (MIT GOV/LAB, US)

    Looking at citizen feedback technologies in Guatemala, Kenya, Liberia, Uruguay, and the United States, MIT Governance Lab and Omidyar Network investigate their impact and efficacy.

    Democracy by design

    • Greg Johnson (Oxford Internet Institute, Ireland)

    Civic engagement apps are seen by governments as a way to boost public trust and receive quality feedback from citizens. But these initiatives are often missing something - enough participation. Is UX design to blame or do governments struggle to reach their citizens in the digital age?

    When governments open their ears

    • Ben Fowkes (Delib, UK)

    If governments ask citizens to engage online, they have to be ready to hear them. They need plans in place if the response is unexpectedly large… or conversely, if there’s barely one at all.

    Fraud, disaster and accidents

    Disaster preparedness: a universal tech solution?

    • Jessica Ports Robbins (Tulane University, US)

    In 2013, the Red Cross’s Global Disaster Preparedness Center released an app designed to be customised for use anywhere in the world. This study examines the program goals and product design and delivery in Chile and the Philippines. What are the challenges? How can processes be improved to better meet program goals?

    Where the expertise lies

    • Pamela Combinido (De La Salle University, Philippines)

    Often, those with the greatest knowledge and understanding of a disaster zone are the local aid workers used for data input and then quickly discarded. Looking at the Typhoon Haiyan response, this paper (co-authored by Jonathan Ong) will argue that there is a better way.

    Tech for tackling tax evasion

    • Ofir Reich (Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA), US)

    Using several years of tax return data from Delhi​, Machine Learning ​models ​can be trained to spot the signs that a company is fictitious, set up in order to commit VAT fraud - based solely on its tax returns​. What are the repercussions of authorities using tech in this way?

  • Refreshment break

  • Making All Voices Count workshop

    • Duncan Edwards (Publish What You Pay, UK)
    • Pedro Prieto-Martin (Institute of Development Studies, UK)
    • Preston Whitt (Results for Development, US)
    • Rosie McGee (Institute of Development Studies, UK)

    Making All Voices Count has been a four-year grant-making program, supporting over 160 innovative projects across twelve countries to explore how technology can support greater transparency, accountability and responsiveness of governments to their citizens.

    In its final year MAVC is seeing a range of different governance outcomes from its work.

    This session will illustrate what some of these outcomes look like in different contexts and, drawing on projects from the MAVC portfolio, how these changes have come about.

    Responsibilities and relationships in Civic Tech

    Citizense Makers

    • Aare Puussaar (Newcastle University, UK)

    Personal data, when linked with city data, has the potential to allow for transformative technologies. But how safe do citizens feel when it comes to giving up their own information?

    Public good: how does Civic Tech respond?

    • Matthew Stempeck (Civic Hall, US)

    The relationship between the US government and the country’s Civic Tech groups abruptly shifted at the last election. To adjust to this new reality, practitioners must look to those who have long operated in more contentious public sector environments. How do they overcome entrenched opposition to achieve their civic missions?

    What does 'relevant open data' even mean?

    • Danny Lämmerhirt (Open Knowledge International, Netherlands)

    The Global Open Data Index seeks to audit the availability of open government data relevant to civil society. But who is ‘civil society’? And which data is relevant to what part of civil society?

    Evolution, development and scrutiny

    The development of digital governance

    • Nele Leosk (European University, Italy)

    16 years, 41 countries, and extensive statistical analysis. What can we learn about the relationship between actors, institutions, organisations, and the development of digital governance?

    The evolution of government as a platform

    • Amanda Clarke (Carleton University, Canada)

    Three phases of thinking on, and practice of, government as a platform. Where are we now, and how did we get there?

    Randomised control trials: lessons for Civic Tech

    • Andrew Westbury (Center for Effective Global Action, US)

    Randomised controlled trials have dramatically changed the development landscape, casting doubt on the effectiveness of accepted strategies, and identifying the value of less orthodox activities.

  • Drinks reception (optional)

    A chance to chat over drinks and canapés. This will take place in the amphitheatre behind the Villa Vittoria.

  • End of day

Wednesday 26th April

  • Arrival & refreshments

  • A democracy of feelings: revolutionising government through digital

    • Audrey Tang (Government of Taiwan)

    Since Audrey’s appointment as Minister for Digital in August 2016, the government has undergone a colossal transformation into one of the most open and participatory administrations operating in the world today. She presents some of the groundbreaking changes.

  • Scaling election products through user research and impact analysis

    • Jaclyn Coleman (Google)
    • Zach Hynes (Google)

    An outline of the product development cycle used by Google’s Civic Engagement team, with a particular focus on understanding user needs and the use of learnings from past elections. Plus, discussion of plans to build a scalable Search product to support informed participation in elections in every democracy worldwide.

  • Refreshment break

  • Culture shift: Civic Tech in opposition

    Tracking the state: could civic-driven transparency reverse a historical trend?

    • Christiana Maria Mauro (AK Vorrat, Hungary)

    A chronicle of the phenomenon of involuntary government transparency, with reference to GlobaLeaks, corruption mapping and other crowd-sourced resistance activities.

    Designing for monitorial citizenship

    • Erhardt Graeff (Olin College of Engineering, US)

    High levels of mistrust in governments and politicians around the world are catalysing the development of new digital tools for monitoring issues and institutions. In order to prevent the reinvention of the wheel, there is a significant and immediate need to know what does and does not work.

    Internal dialogues

    Automating feedback - the answer for small Civic Tech teams?

    • Luke Bacon (OpenAustralia Foundation)

    They're busy with coding and bug-fixing, so it can be hard for small groups to find time to monitor the impact of their tools. Learn how the Open Australia Foundation are using bots and other tools to automate the feedback that informs their work.

    The impacts of Civic Tech... on the people who make it

    • Julia Kloiber (Code for Germany, Germany)
    • Sheba Najmi (Code for Pakistan, US)

    Of course it's important to study the impacts of technology on the end users — but what about the people making it? How has the Civic Tech movement affected its very agents of change?

    The state of Civic Tech: beneath the surface

    • Benjamin Nickolls (Brave New Software / Libraries.io)

    A look beneath the surface: how much does Civic Tech contribute to the commons? How healthy are the projects that underpin Civic Tech? How can we support one another better?

    Engaging citizens

    Discussions and decisions on Decidim: data analysis of Barcelona's participatory democracy

    • Pablo Aragón (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain)

    Decidim Barcelona is a platform for online petitions, citizen debates and decision making. The analysis of the data from the Open API shows the impact of social and technological features on the development of political processes.

    Designing for digital democracy

    • Amelia Loye (engage2, Australia)

    CivicTech and online engagement won’t impact democracy until we redesign the way governments manage data and relationships. Hear three case studies on how technology is changing engagement in Australia and New Zealand.

    Creating new avenues

    • Jennifer Manuel (Open Lab, Newcastle University, UK)

    In the UK, citizens have rights to shape planning policy in their own communities, but the process is long, and the inputs rigid. Knowing that people experience neighbourhoods through stories, not forms, Open Lab are working towards a New Media Neighbourhood Plan.

  • Lunch

  • Populism, post-truth and fake news: the role of Civic Tech in the post-fact world

    • David Sasaki (William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, US)
    • Mark Cridge (mySociety, UK)
    • Mevan Babakar (Full Fact, UK)
    • Tiago Peixoto (World Bank, US)

    It's been a rollercoaster year in politics! Wherever you call home, you cannot fail to have seen some pretty unexpected events unfold last year, and will no doubt have heard the terms 'fake news', 'populism' and 'post-truth' bandied around in the press and online. In this session we ponder some of these issues and discuss what civic tech's role in challenging some of these issues might be.

  • Data collaboratives: an assessment of new ways to use data for civic impact

    • Andrew Young (GovLab, US)
    • Stefaan Verhulst (The GovLab @ NYU, US)

    Insights gained from a comprehensive mapping project on how corporate (and other) data is being shared to create public value; and a look at the role of knowledge-sharing within the civic tech and open government research communities, especially as it relates to the Open Governance Research Exchange (OGRX).

  • Refreshment break

  • Making use of existing tools: risks and opportunities

    Off message? Assessing usage and impact of the messaging app

    • Nicole Anand (The Engine Room, US)

    Messaging apps are a favoured form of communication, so it makes sense to integrate them into our tech. But what are the potential impacts of adopting a proprietary platform, often managed by private companies that will not openly describe what they do with your data?

    WhatsApp for better public service delivery

    • Emily Herrick (Reboot, US)

    As governments start to harness emerging media platforms for communicating with citizens, there are benefits and pitfalls for both sides.

    Monitoring and measuring social change

    • Rob Burnet (Well Told Story, UK)
    • Sharath Srinivasan (Africa's Voices Foundation, Kenya)

    How these two organisations worked together on tools, combining known data science and social science techniques, that measure and monitor the shifting collective discourse of Kenyan youth.

    mySociety's approach to research

    • Alex Parsons (mySociety, UK)
    • Gemma Humphrys (mySociety, UK)
    • Jen Bramley (mySociety, UK)

    When you create technologies, and also research into those technologies, there are unique symbiotic benefits. Find out more about the work of mySociety's Research Department, and how it has directly impacted the development of their Civic Tech tools.

    Understanding people; testing efficacy

    The interested bystander, in context

    • Diane Gavarkavich (University of North Carolina at Charlotte Urban Institute)

    The 'Interested Bystander' is the citizen who is civically aware, but not civically active. Outlining an ongoing mixed methods research study which seeks to understand the various social influences that inform and create this archetype.

    A game for localism

    • Ian G Johnson (Newcastle University, UK)

    In the current climate of central government devolving power downwards, and set against austerity economics, efficient and effective public consultation becomes essential. Can a simple tabletop game, backed with a digital platform, help in this aim?

    Evaluating the impacts of anti-corruption and civic engagement tools

    • Eliza Keller (J-PAL Global, US)

    Governments around the world are increasingly turning to technology to engage with their citizens. Evidence from randomised evaluations tells us what's working — and what's not — in these large-scale efforts.

  • End of day

Around the Web

Twitter: @mysociety
Hashtag: #TICTeC