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Github accounts: @iulian33 @16-7-16 | Category: SmartCity | Table no. 50

Inspiration

We, Pro Democracy Team, are emulating online a methodology created by The Kettering Foundation (USA) for naming and framing difficult issues.

What it does

It's a tool for framing issues for public deliberations to help citizens make sound decisions about the collective future of their communities. It helps experts in developing materials needed for deliberative forums. You can find here the startup material for this project: http://congrego.info/index.php/2016/05/20/start-hacktm-2016/ ("congrego" in Latin = to assemble, to bring together, to cluster, to collect, to combine, to concentrate, to congregate, to connect, to convene, to flock, to gather, to get together, to group, to join)

How I built it

The process of developing issue guides - a publication used in deliberative forums - involves four steps: (1) Background research, (2) Gathering public concerns, (3) Grouping like concerns and (4) Describing the approaches. Our online application - Congrego.org - facilitates the 2nd and 3rd step of the process: the concern gathering and the concern clustering. In order for the website to be able to help the experts with these two activities we implemented an interactive platform that uses input forms and a system of tagging on three levels. This three level tagging system helps the experts to analyze and syntheses the citizens input from the stage of hundreds concerns to only 3 approaches. The 3 approaches, particular to a certain issue, make up the back-bone of the issue guide.

Challenges I ran into

  • biutiful Internet connection for the first day
  • loud background noise in the hacking room

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

We put the basis for something (that can become) really big.

What I learned

Again and again we were reminded how important each and every specialized ability is for the final outcome of teamwork.

What's next for Congrego

(1) Testing it within the small group of Romanian "naming and framing" experts from Cluj-Napoca, Bucharest and Timisoara and than (2) launch it to be used by the international network of experts that develop materials for deliberative forums. In the end, the issue guides produced using this tool will help facilitate hundreds of deliberative forums around Romania.

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