Next Generation Ideas
Back to Participation 3.0
Participation 3.0 Outreach and Convening - The result will be a multi-year, multi-funder next generation online "locally everywhere" civic engagement initiative gathering ideas and talent broadly from around the United States and beyond that builds on our 15+ years of experience.
We currently have funding for a deep focus on gathering input from Minneapolis as a "national test bed" and are interested in funding that will allow us to engage St. Paul and Greater Minnesota. With our growing neighborhood Issues Forums network and the potential of electronic block clubs we can reach a greater percentage of the public with online civic engagement than just about anyone in the world.
Most good ideas need real people to test them out - we have the actual critical mass of "e-participants" and you have the ideas/tools/resources ... so let's connect these strengths and discover what really works and can be technologically designed to roll out nationally or globally for local communities everywhere or what needs to simply be done one community at a time by documenting and spreading best practices.
During the first quarter of 2010 we will begin gathering the best ideas from existing experiments on a global basis. An extensive list of ~25 big local online civic engagement ideas/services/etc. will be compiled and circulated for input to determine the top ~10 ideas with various constituencies (e.g. an idea that serves the online engagement needs of local elected officials, one that resonates strongly with local active citizens or immigrant communities active on our Issues Forums, etc.) for further development. The top ideas will be detailed in one-two page documents for broad input before being shaped into full proposals for funding.
The Public Meetings project is a prototype idea that will test our open source style collaboration process about project definition, specifications, and more competitive and open interaction with multiple open source communities to determine the best route(s) to implement.
Our first national convening effort will assist the CityCamp gathering in Chicago in late January, 2010.
Draft Process (for your input now)
This process will be refined with your input: 
Having an open, accessible, and technology-enhanced transparent process "walks the talk" of what we suggest should exist in governance and communities. We seek to be effective first, not simply efficient. There are scores of scrappy tech-driven experiments to leverage, so let's not compete.
This proposed process is based in part on the concern that the interested public, open government advocates, and democratically spirited elected/government officials do not have a seat at the technology development table. How might their articulation of engagement problems needing solutions shape online "feature" priorities? Connecting public-spirited technologists with those working deeply in the world of civic engagement and open government is a goal of this initiative.
1. Gather big ideas
Generate a list of 25+ local next generation online civic engagement ideas with concise descriptions (see draft features from our widely circulated detailed discussion draft Participation 3.0 discussion draft]). We are seeking technology-enhanced democratic ideas that should be universal to all local communities NOT simply new or untested ideas. We seek to take idea that have a strong potential of working to the largest percentage of "e-citizens" ever in a local community to discover what actually works.
2. Convene, engage, and gather input
What online civic engagement features are so important that they should be universal?
Our three main audiences to engage are:
- National - civic, government, technologists/social media experts
- Minneapolis stakeholders (and other places based on funding)
- Issues Forum participants, especially in our target Inclusive Social Media neighborhoods
Convening and engagement will be done primarily online with some in-person and teleconference use. We will work to determine which ideas resonate and inspire - particularly those that are a priority among different audiences (something for example both highly desired by local elected officials and technologists, etc.).
3. Select top ~10 ideas
The top ideas will be then outlined in detailed one to two pagers based on common format with feedback/engagement of review audiences. These ideas will then be circulated informally to potential funders as well as technologists, open source communities, and companies. In some cases third party tools will already exist and the "Participation 3.0" goal will be to bring the idea to the largest possible percentage of the public in a test community to determine its effectiveness before seeking to push it universally to all communities.
4. Key ideas developed into full multi-year, multi-funder, multi-partner grant proposal(s)
Further develop the best ideas into full proposals with cost estimates, implementation options and key partners, and submit to potential funders as part of multi-year, multi-funder full Participation 3.0 launch. While Minneapolis and potentially other Minnesota communities are serving as our initial national local test market, we are interested in working with other pilot communities who can demonstrate an ability to raise complementary local resources.
5. Funded features include participatory open source-style open specification process
If funded, our open specification process will be initiated to fully spec out the effort/feature/tool/web site in a transparent and open manner. This innovative will fund collaboration toward an agreed outcome instead of approaching a funder with a pre-selected locked in vendor and no flexibility to execute the effort smarter, faster, or better based on the interest it generates. This process will be tested in 2010 with our Public Meetings effort. We seek to test this model and expect that many feature ideas will actually come to independent fruition by bring local online civic engagement challenges to technologists inspired and able to implement/contribute solutions along the way without significant funding.
6. Competitions/competitive bidding for many features
For major ideas requiring extensive development we will explore options for competitive/collaborative bidding among open source development communities to implement specifications as well a lead partner organizations to host the project as required. In addition, many smaller ideas may be ripe for competitive "App" contests.