Comparing experiences in CivicTech

by Daniela Schmitzová

CIVIPORT’s first workshop connected international participants and brought them closer to approaching CivicTech through Czech case studies

 

This January CIVICPORT hosted its first webinar on public participation and civic tech for industry professionals. The workshop was joined by Krama Studio, Berlin’s office of the Innovation in Politics Institute, and International Budget Partnership.

 

Participants discovered exciting case study projects led by Participation Factory, CIVICPORT’s sister company that focuses on civic engagement.  The discussion revolved around the potential to integrate CivicTech within the Participatory Budgeting (PB) project in Kutna Hora and Prague Participation Coordinators project.

 

Both projects are unique in the way they approach public participation. In case of Kutna Hora, the lack of resources was a driver to get creative with participatory budgeting and led to the process during which the youth of the city was empowered to conduct the official city PB. In the case of the Coordinators project, the capital city of the Czech Republic has taken a bold step and decided to develop a city-wide participation system. For that, ten city parts were engaged in a two-year pilot project. Both of these projects experienced an unmet need for CivicTech advising to clearly define needs, challenges, and objectives for its implementation. This acknowledgment of a potential influence of CivicTech brought up a discussion among participants about the potential of CivicTech in their own significant projects.

 

All participants agreed on the common but faulty approach that many municipalities take to purchasing the “shiniest” CivicTech solutions. CIVICPORT’s approach sparked interest in terms of identifying various qualities in different tools and their suitability, especially in the diverse Czech market, the richness of which came as quite a surprise to participants coming from other countries.

 

As CIVICPORT has an international overview of accessible tools and a background in facilitating international projects in participation with the Participation Factory, we are happy to share our recommendations with our international colleagues and encourage you to join the upcoming workshops as well as getting in touch directly with specific questions!