Vancouver’s been very good to me today. Not only did I wake up to find a massive snowy mountain staring at me from across the water, but I also ended up chatting to some really interesting people – largely thanks to the lovely (and heavily pregnant) Susannah Haas Lyons, who did an amazing job of pulling in a nice and surprisingly large crowd to a digital democracy seminar to hear me chunter on about Angry Birds and doing mass scale crowd-sourcing (badly).
For those who missed my spiel, it basically mixed lessons from running one of the biggest online crowd-sourcing processes in the world (involving 500,000 people, and 10,000’s of ideas), with thoughts about how Angry Birds can help save democracy.
Here’s pretty much all the insights I shared about mass-scale crowd-sourcing, from the work we ran with the UK Coalition 18 months back:
And here’s my Angry Birds inspired thoughts on how gaming (and throwing birds at pigs) can save democracy:
And it seemed it was the Angry Government part of my talk that inspired the most interest, as it set people’s minds flowing as to how they could improve their consultation processes in a fairly simple but fundamental way by thinking about how they can *gamify* their process a little, and make the whole thing more engaging.
Throughout the session there was a whole range of different questions asked, but I’d say for the most part they were linked to the practicalities of running consultations online, which was encouraging as it showed a real willing to start doing more online. So I ended my talk by pointing out that the best thing to get into digital engagement is to try it – and luckily all our apps are v.low cost to use (and some are free, like the Dialogue App) allowing people to give it a go and themselves iteratively improve their own process over time, just as we’ve iteratively improved our suite of apps over time with experience.
As a quick flag for all engagement professionals in Canada, we’ve now installed servers in Canada (they’re based in BC) so you can be sure that your data will be safely stored on Canadian soil. Additionally, we’re in the process of setting up privacy and data policies to ensure they adhere to Canadian guidelines too. These are just some of the small but significant steps we’re taking to make sure that it’s safe and easy for Canadian government to do more online consultation, better.
Huge thanks to Susannah for organising the event, along with the guys from Simon Fraser University’s Community Education Program for hosting.