From a young age I have been passionate about politics and empowering people to feel they can make a change. I came to the outbox incubator with this love of politics and an interest in STEM but particularly in technology. I took inspiration from the variety of speakers who came in and started brainstorming a few initial ideas I had. The concept of an app that brings together all the information from across the internet on the activities of parliament and presents it in a simple, accessible and interactive format really struck a cord. As an AS-level politics student I discovered that political participation is very low in the UK particularly when compared to participation in other nations with general election turnouts of 66.1% compared with 85.8% in Sweden. An app that makes political participation easier and more informal could raise levels of political participation, particularly among 16-24 year olds of whom 90% have access to a smartphone. By integrating politics into their daily routine through a fun app and notifications on updates I aim to increase their interest and participation levels.
It would work through a simple app interface which users could log into using their Facebook and Google accounts, and the only other information required would be their post code to ensure they can see their MP's profile. From there users could vote on whether they agree or disagree with their MP's votes in the House of Commons which would affect their approval rating as well as exploring the other pages of the app. There would be a page on legislation currently in parliament which users can explore by either issue topic or date modified. There is also a page on the political parties in order to show which parties are the most rebellious, their key policies of the moment and links to the profiles of party leadership figures. A news page is also a feature which would stream in conversations with political hashtags from across social media. The more button will always feature a simple glossary so that if people don't understand political jargon they can click on the word to find out more, making the app as accessible as possible. The more button will also have changing features that reflect current political events, for instance featuring profiles of the Labour leadership candidates and candidates for the London mayoral elections.
What's Up Gov? is currently still in it's early stages although I have encountered a few challenges in trying to design the logo and interface. Mostly they were due to a slight lack of skills but i have skilled up very quickly in the past week and a half in order to create a mockup, brand and feature set which accurately reflects my vision for What's Up Gov?
I'm very proud of being able to get from the initial ideation stage to a pitch-able product that I can now begin development on in the space of a week and a half. I'm also proud of the networking and connections I have built within this process that will enable me to take What's Up Gov? even further.
I've learnt that the best ideas come when you collaborate and discuss concepts with people, bouncing problems and solutions off of one another to build a better product idea. I've also learnt how much work it takes to produce a viable idea and pitch as well as the skills required to pitch it well.
Next for What's Up Gov? is the development stage and creating a minimum viable product in order to release it to politics students across the country to test features and provide feedback. From there I would look to market it and expand the user base to other young people in the UK before targeting the wider electorate as a whole.