The participatory hackathon brought together participation coordinators and employees of innovative agencies and regional and city authorities who are professionally engaged in participation all over the Czech Republic and Slovakia. They all presented a number of inspiring participation processes. The main aim of the event was to connect officials from the Czech Republic and Slovakia with an interest in participatory planning, to disseminate good practice, to promote the sharing of experiences and visions, and to enable participants to collaborate and learn from each other. You can read how exactly the hackathon went in our previous blog post.
Now we are presenting you with a list of lessons that we took away from PARTI.HACKATHON23:
What we learned from the work of the participants:
- Procurers often don’t know what to expect from participatory planning, which shows up in poorly defined project briefs. It is therefore important to communicate with the organizer of the participatory process in setting the objectives of the participatory process.
- We can observe large differences in know-how between the different participatory coordinators. Everyone has slightly different experiences and knowledge. Thus, mutual cooperation and sharing of good practices is an essential enabler aimed to enrich and complement the know-how of various actors.
- Just dealing with participatory budgets does not mean that you understand participation. If the only participatory process in local government is participatory budgeting, the local government is missing out on a lot. There are countless other types of participatory processes that you need to be able to tailor to the situation.
- Civic tech, or e-participation tools, are not yet common practice in most authorities when planning participatory processes, despite their potential to make the process more efficient and accessible to various target groups.
- Local authorities forget about project management when they talk about participation. The participatory process is a project like any other and to ensure successful implementation it needs to be properly set up, planned, and executed in order for the deadlines to be met.
- Monitoring and evaluation is a specific instrument that some participation coordinators are beginning to take note of, but it still remains largely neglected or referenced as an afterthought. Yet a simple monitoring and evaluation plan can mitigate many risks, demonstrate the impact of the process, and allow organizers to learn from their experiences and continuously improve.
- People working in participation want to learn, exchange information, and network. Thanks to events such as PARTI.HACKATHON23, a real community of participation coordinators is emerging in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
What we have learned from specific challenges and their solutions:
- A clear model for working with stakeholders in the Czech Republic and Slovakia should have been in place long ago. There is great potential for significant improvement.
- Determining a national vision for the Czech Republic and Slovakia through participation? It is possible!
- Communication is key! How can one inform local stakeholders and the public about operational programs? With the help of a good marketing campaign and participation.
- Youth are our future, but they are often excluded from participatory processes. It is, therefore, necessary to erase the boundaries between school and city and to connect their infrastructures.
- Czech and Slovak participation is the strongest in public space planning and certain approaches are starting to become standardized. Nevertheless, we have the potential to move forward in this agenda as well, for example by using virtual reality and civic tech tools.
- There is a lack of participation coordinators at the regional level in the Czech Republic to ensure the best coordination across all levels of government, so that all necessary target groups are involved in the process. For example, in the planning of railroad construction, such a role is extremely necessary.
Would you like to participate in the next edition of Parti.hackathon? Or learn more about the solutions the teams came up with? Get in touch with us at email@example.com!