Collaborative Governance Tech Platform: lessons retain to increase community participation
The Community-Led Local Development (CLLD) Lisbon Network is a non-profit organisation created in 2015 following an application for Portugal 2020 funding. It is a strategy for Local Community-Based Development which primarily aims to promote, in certain areas, strategic and functional cooperation between partners, focusing on entrepreneurship, employment, education, training and social integration, in accordance with the Portugal 2020 Partnership Agreement and with the aims of the Europe 2020 strategy.
With this in mind, the CLLD Lisbon Network was created with the aim of implementing an innovative model of co-government in the city of Lisbon through the deployment of local development plans. Communication is a core issue in a process of implementation to reach those goals, especially when faced with a bottom-up approach. One of our biggest challenge is to increase local population participation and ensure alignment of all the partners to implement the local development strategy. Interactive Cities project from Urbact helped us to reflect and identify the best ways to communicate with local communities. One of the main issue that we are looking for answers is: how to maintain communication that stimulates online and on-action dynamics?
In order to create a Collaborative Governance Tech Platform, our team had several discussions and debates with local partners about communication process and digital platforms, etc. Besides the benchmark about participation processes and technological solutions to promote democratic participation, the team organized 3 focus groups with experts, local residents from the 67 social neighborhoods from Lisbon city and intermediates – local partners. The top advice and retained messages were: a) The use of technology is only a mean to reach participation, not the goal; we should focus on people’s knowledge and share it and give them voice. b) Platform should be agile, user friendly and especially start small to get big. Most of the platform start with a high value proposition and over time its value decrease too fast (see scheme – Why we Love Agile from Outsystems).
So the alternative is to start with a simple and affordable technology, ex. Facebook and little by little to invest in applications that favor communication and participation in function of the demand of our target public. c) There is a huge range of free apps and platforms available, so why do we want to spend more money? d) In our specific context, establishing different degrees of access to information depending on the target population may be important, but still it will only gain value if we maintain a constant dynamic between on action and online; e) Experts referred that “Participation is to say what you need. And Facebook does that!” So we realized that we need to do a better content analysis of the information that comes to us via facebook. d) Communicate results is essential to keep processes alive, active, visible and transparent. It is a way of materializing and turn real what is going on communities, demonstrating their value and strengthening their identity.