Hearing every voice: lessons learned from online deliberation projects

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Join us for six energetic and to-the-point Show & Tells related to the impacts of technology for citizen engagement.

About this Event

TICTeC stands for ‘The Impacts of Civic Technology Conference’, and since 2015 mySociety has convened an international mix of researchers, practitioners, policymakers, philanthropists and tech giants to examine how civic technology is shaping society.

This event is the second in a series of TICTeC Show & Tells where speakers from across the world will each have 7 minutes to share their real and in-depth research and lessons learnt related to the use and impacts of technology for citizen engagement. You can see other upcoming events in this series over on the TICTeC website.

TICTeC is a safe place to honestly examine what works, what doesn’t, what can be improved, what to be aware of etc, so ultimately, better digital tools are developed.

During this event, we'll hear energetic and to-the-point Show & Tells from the following speakers:

Our COVID consultation journey: from a small initiative to the desk of the president

Chloé Pahud (Civocracy)

Will the pandemic be a turning point, or will we go back to normal once the lockdown is over? This was the most pressing question for a variety of civic tech organisations in France.

Chloé describes how, by forming an alliance, these disparate groups were able to conduct a national consultation that examined what people wanted the future to look like — and, crucially, what they are prepared to give up in order to get it. The results were so significant that they ended up informing the President's COVID response.

Understanding the small hurdles that block community engagement, with behavioural design

Abigail Sellman (ideas42) & Adrian Kearns (OpenUp)

People are often prevented from taking an active part in policy-making processes, not by anything enormous or unsurmountable but by small mundane blockers such as arranging transport or the need to fill in a complex web form.

Abigail and Adrian explain how behavioural design methodology enabled ideas42 to get to the root of these issues for one Cape Town organisation, and provide them with simple means by which to overcome them. The low cost and impactful solutions can inform us all.

Don’t build it: a practical guide for those building Civic Tech

Luke Jordan (Grassroot / MIT GOV/LAB)

Don't build it — that's the first piece of advice for anyone embarking on a new piece of civic tech. But if you must build it, at least take in the lessons learned from Grassroot, a technology platform from South Africa.

In a new guide, Grassroot explains the frequently overlooked challenges of building a new piece of civic tech, and provides critical advice. By sharing these lessons, the aim is to bring a constructive, critical and pragmatic lens to support the future of our sector.

It takes two: when citizens and Congress Members deliberate online

Samantha McDonald (University of California, Irvine)

In the US, each Member of the House of Representatives must try to survey, interpret and act upon the views of, on average, 700,000 constituents. Understandably, this can be a difficult task, often skewed by who has the stronger lobbyists or advocacy campaigners.

Could an online deliberation platform improve things? From the constituents' point of view, apparently yes — there was high engagement and eagerness to discuss the topic at hand. But, then there is the complication of Congress. Samantha talks us through the barriers to important changes to constituent engagement and what we need to do to surpass them.

Leave no-one behind: overcoming hurdles to online citizen assemblies

Craig Morbey (FutureGov) & Scott Butterfield (Blackpool Council).

As with so many planned events, COVID meant that a neighbourhood climate assembly for Blackpool in the UK had to be conducted online. But there was an issue: with the participants coming from within the top 10% of the most deprived population in England, digital literacy and lack of access to equipment would provide significant hurdles to participation.

FutureGov were able to overcome these barriers, and the remedies they put in place resulted in 100% attendance and retention. It had some unexpected but heartwarming consequences, too.

Engaging for the Future: what do the public want from engagement, and how can digital deliver?

Mike Saunders (Commonplace)

What are the barriers preventing people from engaging in planning? How do people want to participate? What does good and effective engagement look like?

Mike will present the findings of Commonplace's nationwide public opinion polling, qualitative research and data collected across over 1,000 planning engagements on the Commonplace platform. It will include best practices for community involvement and principles that help achieve meaningful, ongoing engagement with local people.


Who is this event for?

Anyone interested in how to involve citizens in decision making and policy processes, using digital technology as an enabler. We think the event will be of particular interest to elected government representatives, civil servants, civic tech practitioners and researchers, funders and software developers.

Further info

There will be ample opportunity for attendees to ask questions during the discussion, and speakers will get back to them straight after the event; so do come along armed with questions you may have!

Joining instructions (we'll be using Zoom) will be sent with your confirmation email once you register. Please direct any questions about this event to Gemma Moulder at

Attendees may need to register for a free Zoom account and download their software. To understand more about how Zoom uses your data, please read their Privacy Policy in advance.

This online event is guided by our Code of Conduct. By registering for this event, we expect you to abide by this Code of Conduct, and should anyone violate this they will be removed from the event.

The event will be recorded.

By registering for this event you consent to receiving communications from mySociety about this event, both before and after, and you agree to the sharing of your name, organisation & title with the organiser mySociety.

The information you provide when registering for an event will be retained by mySociety and will be used to record attendance at the event. To understand more about how mySociety uses your data, please see our Privacy Policy.

For details of future TICTeC events, please see sign up for updates.

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