Socioneers: online participation for all!
In this workshop Raoul Kramer presented the platforms the Socioneers created for the Dutch Labour Party and the Global Parliament of Mayors.
Research, development and implementation
The Socioneers have a practical approach to creating online platforms for participation and decision-making. First, they create a map of the stakeholders, problem definitions and goals. Then they make a selection of (open source) tools are available. They create a prototype to test this within the user-community.
Kramer says there is a lot of value in testing protoypes to really find out what the stakeholders need. It’s the best way to determine what kind of platform and what kind of online tools need to be created.
In the development phase they work with programmers to modify open-source software or build a new application from scratch. As soon as a viable tool is created the implementation phase starts.
During the implementation phase the application is ‘iterated’ on the basis of user feedback. Socioneers work in fast response with the users. Also, this period is aimed at creating an active community and marketing strategy for the platform.
Global Parliament of Mayors
The Socioneers created an online platform for the Global Parliament of Mayors (GPM), founded by Benjamin Barber (www.globalparliamentofmayors.org) The GPM is a governance body for mayors from all continents. The online platform It allows members to survey, discuss, collaborate on documents and ultimately vote on the action points of the GPM.
Dutch Labour Party
The Socioneers have the technical lead over the membership-democracy project of the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA). The PvdA has about 45.000 members. The PvdA is working on permanent democratic renewal. They are the first Dutch political party to do this on a large scale.
The membership-democracy process consists of multiple platforms: the ‘Ledenkamer’, a platform for general discussion, ideation, creation of motions and amendments. The second platform is the ‘Stemlokaal’, a survey tool used to vote on the motions and amendments that have reached the threshold of 100 supporters in the Ledenkamer. The third platform is ‘PvdAstemt’, an online voting application to vote during the congress on disputed motions and amendments and the candidates list.
Give it time!
Kramer: “Experience shows that some time is needed to embed this new approach in a political organisation. Users need time to learn to use the new tools. Not only does the tooling need to be adjusted to existing procedures, existing procedures need to be adjusted to the new tooling.”