Hi, I'm looking for any good research papers on how mobile technology has been employed to increase civic engagement/participatory decision making in education and or local government. Any help most appreciated! Jennifer, Ireland

(Jennifer Moroney-Ward) #1

I’m doing a Masters thesis on mobile tech and how we might harness its potential in participatory decision making at local education/government level. Any help or advice/ links to good research would be most appreciated. I’m happy to share my findings also from Limerick in Ireland. I’m carrying out very small scale research but so far, so interesting! Jennifer

(Samantha Linnett) #2

Hi Jennifer! Super interesting topic! I work for the City of Syracuse Office of Innovation. Our Department of Neighborhood and Business Development is doing a project now using a mobile app to crowdsource and help prioritize vacant properties that need addressing in the city. Our office also works to find a lot of data and tech solutions in local gov to challenges our city faces. I’d love to set up a call to talk through some of the different work the City is doing and to hear more about the research you’re doing and have done so far! Let me know if this sounds like it would be helpful.

(Gabriella (Gabby) Capone) #3

Hi all! Agreed, great topic. Thanks for posing it, @jmwlk

GovLab is developing case studies of platforms for participatory lawmaking (at any level of government) and we have come across two mobile platforms that might be of interest.

  1. Irekia (A web platform that serves as the centerpiece of the Basque Country’s citizen engagement strategy. The website is used to publish government data and facilitate citizen participation in three key areas: transparency, participation, and collaboration. The latter two areas allow for citizens to comment on and propose legislation.)
    -has a host of mobile applications that complement the platform and pertain to social services, engagement, education, etc. http://www.irekia.euskadi.eus/es/site/page/mobile_apps

  2. Mi Senado (A mobile phone app, available on iOS and Android devices, implemented by the Colombian Senate. Via the app, users have access to attendance and voting records for all their elected representatives. Push notifications alert users to when live plenary sessions are scheduled to occur so that they can provide their feedback and vote on bills in real-time.)

@samantha that sounds really cool! we would love to be kept up to speed on the results of the program!

Hope those help. Please do post back with what else you find!

(Jennifer Moroney-Ward) #4

Hi Samantha, many thanks for reply and apologies for delay in responding to you. I’ve had a week to switch off from all things work/academic and really did just zone out from screen time.

Your project sounds really relevant to Limerick where I live too. We have huge issues around vacancies and reporting around abandonment. We also have a housing crisis/shortage so its an interesting political hot potato at the moment here too. I’m meeting some local councillors this week hopefully to discuss how mobile tech might be used to respond to this issue and many other planning/budgetary issues facing the city.

I’d love the opportunity to have a chat. I’m very flexible generally so you can let me know what works for you. Many thank again for responding to my call out!

(Jennifer Moroney-Ward) #5

That’s really helpful Gabriella. Thanks for responding! Going to look into both those examples today also. Jennifer

(Steven Clift) #6

Great question. I’d also ask it here (and search the archives): http://Facebook.com/groups/opengovgroup

As a bootstrapping app person - http://1radionews.com - with 100K downloads and my twenty + years in the civic tech space, I am extremely skeptical of startups providing mobile apps for general civic engagement.

If you don’t provide a service people are organically searching for in the app stores, then assume $1-3 a paid install via advertising and a terrible retention rate. Want 1,000,000 daily users retained after six months … then expect to need 100,000,000 downloads. Civic apps aren’t typically the person to person communication apps that do so well outside the game category.

Now if you don’t need revenue from the app and you are smartly leveraging the mobile web/your CMS, then generating 10,000 downloads to have 1,000 retained app users might be worth it.

I should note that I would love to consult with civic apps looking to leverage my hybrid knowledge of both spaces for aggressive non-paid outreach including “ASO.” See http://po.st/engageclift - so far I haven’t found “app” opportunities as the civic projects seem content with mobile web over apps. As I told a civic start-up in 2000, “I can help you lose less money” :wink: … might not be the best pitch.


(Diego Álvarez) #7

Hi @jmwlk,

interesting topic!

Several months ago we developed a bot in Telegram for a voting procces in Valencia (Spain). If you’re interested I could put you in contact with the developer.


(Dinorah Cantú-Pedraza) #8

Hi @Diego1 can you share more about it here?

I’m interested in how can tech be helpful in Mexico now that we are about to start our presidential elections.

Codeando México has been very active and recently developed an app to help independent candidates gather the signatures they will need to be official candidates: https://www.efe.com/efe/usa/mexico/la-democracia-es-digital-crean-app-para-impulsar-candidatos-independientes/50000100-3321575#

But election fraud and fake news are going to be two big topics that will shape the results, however, think they are both big topics tech can help a lot. So anything you’ve done and worked can help a lot.

(Jennifer Moroney-Ward) #9

Great and thank you. I’m looking for examples in Europe so this is really interesting. I’m reading about great things going on in Madrid with online participatory decision making/coupled with traditional paper voting on civic issues. But it doesn’ seem to be built for mobile ( an app) but only web for now… some interesting issues emerged also. with regard to its roll out. this article is interesting… http://participedia.net/en/cases/decide-madrid-participatory-budgeting-tool-spanish-capital

(Jennifer Moroney-Ward) #10

Can you explain what the bot did or how you planned to use the app to vote on a topic… for the untechie among us!? Thanks Diego

(Becky Michelson) #11

The Engagement Lab @ Emerson College has worked on the platform Community Plan It: https://elab.emerson.edu/projects/civic-media/community-planit with many civic partners. Here’s a description of it in action in the context of Boston public schools: https://www.boston.gov/departments/new-urban-mechanics/community-planit.

(Sarah Welsh) #12

You might also reach out to Tanja Aitamurto at Stanford – she has done a lot of work in this space:



(Sarah Welsh) #13

Another potential example: https://www.opengovpartnership.org/stories/money-decision-making-and-democracy-new-experience-buenos-aires

(Diego Álvarez) #14

Hi @dino, @jmwlk and everybody,

you might find out more here: https://riunet.upv.es/handle/10251/69306 (in Spanish).

Please, don’t hesitate to contact us if you need any extra information.


(Jennifer Moroney-Ward) #15

Thanks so much Becky looking forward to exploring this.

(Diego Álvarez) #16

Hi @dino,

I’m catching up with messages. Here you can find out more information https://github.com/algope/votingbot


(Oluseun Onigbinde) #17

Please try this. It can help.