MyPolice and WeGov

I’ve just seen that the MyPolice project has moved a bit further forward with the launch of their new beta site. As an idea, it’s been brewing for a while and Lauren Currie outlined some of the thinking behind it (and where it could lead) here on Slugger as part of the Political Innovation essay series a few months ago. It’s an example of what the Personal Democracy Forum’s Micah Sifry refers to as ‘WeGov’ – one of a wider … Read more

The broadening inkblot: Self-improvement for people who read newspapers (and blogs…)

This is a cross post from Miljenko Williams who blogs at 21st Century Fix. It was originally posted on the Political Innovation site here. If you’re reading this, you’re probably a regular lurker around the blogosphere and the longer, cleverer articles on media websites. You may even go further than that and comment occasionally, “Digg”, share or “like” postings on Facebook. And if you’re very clever with your RSS reader, you may have found a way of getting some of … Read more

Picamp: Challenging and new conversations…

So what was PIcamp all about? Well the idea behind is pretty straightforward. It’s based on the understanding that meaningful change happens iteratively, in small steps and not through large scale revolutions. We began this year’s events in Edinburgh, because one of the things that Scotland and Northern Ireland share is a lack of capacity with parties and government to come up with new ideas to deal with new problems. The internet may not be able supply the answers to … Read more

#picamp – FOI and Data

There was a good discussion this morning at PI Camp around the conjoined issues of FOI and open data. The room had practitioners from both sides of the FOI fence – civil servants, journalists and bloggers. The idea for the session came out of my belief that FOI is often a crude tool that can produce more heat than light, and tends to encourage institutional obfuscation rather than a spirit of openness and sharing. So how best to use FOI … Read more

A few dark horses for tomorrow

It’s not unheard of for an unfancied novice to have a good race. Likewise, tomorrow we’ve had a lots of sessions suggested, but the best ones may be the ones that haven’t had too much take-up on the uservoice site. That voting mechanism is only advisory. Tomorrow, everyone will have the option to chip their ideas for a session in and see how many takers there are. Rooms are then allocated according to the interest in sessions and everyone should … Read more

Who’s coming to Slugger’s big day tomorrow?

We’re just shy of 90 registrations for tomorrow at the time of writing and there are still a few tickets left if you want one. You can suggest / rate ideas for sessions here. The one surprising nugget is that there are lots of political activists and people with a professional interest in participation / consultation / democracy, but there are almost no elected politicians registered. Yet. Here’s the snapshot from Eventbrite’s reporting page. The eagle-eyed among you will spot … Read more

What’s the point of journalists any more?

Though Saturday is largely an Unconference and the attendees will be fixing the agenda and timetable on the day (with a bit of healthy pre-event lobbying on the Uservoice site), I’m going to be chairing one whole-event session after lunch on the whole question of the Fourth Estate. We’ve got a democracy that relies on them, at least in part, to provide a counterweight to powerful interests. But their current business model appears to be changing, and we – in … Read more

Political Innovation, Edinburgh and ‘disciplined crankery’?

At Saturday’s Political Innovation event (you can see the full commentary on the #picamp hashtag on Twitter), we asked a panel of speakers if there is some social good that can come out of our interactive alternative to the mainstream media. Political Innovation plenary session from Robert Stewart on Vimeo. Pat Kane (Hue & Cry frontman and author of The Play Ethic) urged the participants to ‘embrace your inner and outer crank’, and in doing so, underscored one of the … Read more

Political Innovation in Belfast: New ideas for old problems

This Saturday we have over 80 people booked up to come to the Political Innovation event in Edinburgh at the weekend, with the topics of conversation being shaped up at our uservoice site. The week afterwards (20th November) we’re convening at NICVA for the Belfast event (book your place here). In both cases the political context is similar. There are important elections coming in May for the Assembly and the local councils. At the moment the top three conversations for … Read more

Political Innovation: Building in your own agenda…

You may have seen the announcement post for the Political Innovation event that we’re holding at NICVA’s HQ (thanks NICVA!) on the 20th (tickets and detail here – and there’s a Scottish event planned for the 13th as well). We’re keen not to set the agenda too tightly. It won’t have any named speakers or a timetable. If you want to bring something up, you can – as long as other people are interested as well. Have a look at … Read more

Political Innovation in Belfast and Edinburgh…

We have a couple of events coming up this month. The first is in Edinburgh will host an number of hosted ‘unconference’ discussions, some of them focusing on the Political Innovation essay series. The impact that Twitter, Facebook, and blogs is likely to have on Scottish politics will be explored by a group of political bloggers, politicians, activists and journalists at a free-to-attend event at Edinburgh’s ‘School of Informatics’ on Saturday 13th November. The second in Belfast will be at … Read more

Political Innovation no6: Citizen-control of personal information

This is a cross-post by William Heath – originally posted on the Political Innovation site here. If the big political innovation of the moment is to give power back to people, then a good place to do it is with personal data. Whose data is it anyway? Whose health, whose education, whose identity, whose shopping history, bank details, travel plans, creditworthiness? Yet all these personal details, which affect us, are stored on hundreds of state and private-sector databases. If I … Read more

Political Innovation no 5: Government information? Get the public to provide it!

This is a cross-post by Lauren Currie – originally posted on the Political Innovation site here. For too long, policymaking has been monopolised by civil servants, self-serving pressure groups and sensationalist journalists. We get a vote once every four or five years and we’re expected to be satisfied with that. Public services are too important to get lost in headline issues, and too big to leave to those who have the time and energy to write letters or sit on … Read more

Political Innovation no 4: See Change – opening policy research to the public

This is a guest cross-post by Ivo Gormley – originally posted on the Political Innovation site here. Although Government claims to want our participation and wants us to appreciate its policies, it hides the evidence on which it bases its policies in fat documents and reports that are hard to read and only available free at special events at think-tanks around Whitehall. If we want participation in politics in a way that goes beyond choice we need to share policy … Read more

Political Innovation no 3: Assertion-flagging: for less partisan, prejudiced blogging

This is a guest cross-post by Andrew Regan – originally posted on the Political Innovation site here. Most political bloggers are motivated to fight what they see as bigotry, prejudice, and ill-informed, unjustifiable assertion. This is a fine and noble cause, because the spreading of false beliefs – without the evidence to support them – is bad for all of us, as is the displacement of informed argument by mere rhetoric. All the more so when the perpetrator is powerful … Read more

Launching the ‘Political Innovation’ project

When bloggers meet, I often find that old allegiances (be they left right, or Unionist/Republican) often dissolve into a different political spilt. Those of us who imagine that we ‘get’ the read-write web against the political colleagues that we have who, we believe, fail to foresee the possibilities or the threats. I’ve occasionally witnessed left-right-and-centrist bloggers in (non) violent agreement with each other – not about political direction, but about what is possible in harnessing the power of the web. … Read more