Introducing civic tech

To date this blog has focused pretty much on ways that people are using social media, and aimed to celebrate, promote and support that. It is an online place to signpost to face-to-face activities taking place in and around Dudley borough which offer support to people getting to grips with or tentatively trying out social media – activities such as Social Media Surgeries and BostinCamp. The strapline for this site until today has been “celebrating the ways that people are using social media to do great things and build community across Dudley borough”. Today I’ve added a second area focus: civic tech.

Civic tech, or civic technology, is

“technology (mainly information technology) that enables engagement or participation of the public for good development, enhancing citizen communications, improving government infrastructure, or generally making national and local governments more effective. It encompasses civic applications, platforms supporting government bodies and institutions and other software enabling those goals.” (source: wikipedia)

Interest in civic tech is developing in Dudley, particularly in relation to the development of the Community Council (I’ve started blogging about the Community Council on the Dudley CVS blog). There is a great new post on the Civicist blog about the role of praising and shaming in civic tech. It concludes:

“Until now, behavioral economics in public policy has been mainly about nudging citizens toward preferred choices. Yet it may be time to start also working in the opposite direction, nudging governments to be more responsive to citizens.”

I am of the understanding that senior officers in Dudley Council are keen to invite this nudging from citizens and communities. Indeed I’m starting to do some work on ways to help it to happen. So I’ve added a civic tech page to this blog to draw together useful resources and examples which we might want to learn from here in Dudley, such as work the Knight Foundation has done (see diagram below).

I’ll keep readers updated with ways to get involved in the conversation and activities. I’d love to hear about your favourite examples of civic tech in action, and any experiences you have of developing or using it. Leave a comment here, or get in touch with me on twitter: @dosticen or email: lorna@dudleycvs.org.uk

civic tech

From the Knight Foundation Civic Tech slide deck http://www.slideshare.net/knightfoundation/knight-civictech

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