Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Labs.OpenGov.gr is the first Greek web laboratory for e-Governance. It is an action, held under the aegis of the Greek Ministry of Public Reform and e-Government which aims to bring out creative ideas, inspire people and introduce innovation in the relations of citizens and businesses with the state. It has a dual presence, both physical and digital. In its physical form, Labs.OpenGov operates through open workshops that allow for the exchange of views and the synthesis of different proposals. In its digital form, the Forum operates through a platform where every citizen can submit proposals and participate in a virtual dialogue by using the most modern tools of networking.
Labs OpenGov action is organised in recurring thematic cycles. During each cycle, any citizen who visits Labs.OpenGov.gr can submit ideas and suggestions via an open call. Afterwards, the suggestions and ideas on the open calls are published on the platform enabling the rest users to comment or rate the proposals in a forum like rationale. The accumulated content is subject to moderation and part of it is presented in a public event.
The fifth thematic cycle that is currently in progress is devoted to proposals aiming to reduce the operational costs of public bodies and to improve administrative procedures relating to transactions between government and citizens or businesses. Under this effort the implementation of the first PADGETS pilot has been integrated, extending the action in the Social media platforms, going directly where users are on the web. During the first phase of the fifth Labs cycle any citizen can submit proposals not only, on the Labs platform but also via the Social media accounts that Labs use.
PADGETS is an EU research project in the domain of ICT for Governance and Policy Modelling on “social media” policy gadgets or simply “padgets”, implemented by a consortium of twelve leading research organisations and enterprises (National Technical University of Athens, Fraunhofer FOKUS, ISMB, University Regensburg, Google, Whitehall Srl, ATC SA, Tech4i2, etc.), coordinated by the Information Systems Laboratory of the University of the Aegean. The objective of PADGETS is to implement a prototype service for policy makers that utilizes social media technologies and techniques to boost public engagement, enable cross-platform publishing and content tracking and provide decision support. Through the PADGETS platform, policy makers are capable of disseminating their policy messages through multiple social media simultaneously, using a single integrated interface. They are able to reach large user groups in these platforms and collect their feedback, by keeping track of and analyzing users’ reactions to the policy message.
The added value that PADGETS aspires to offer to the Lab concept is the advantage of engaging users within their preferred and familiar social media environments. Through PADGETS, the Labs Scientific Committee can make a step further towards the citizens by migrating public deliberation from the Labs.Opengov.gr website in places where users already feel comfortable to communicate, collaborate and express opinions. Thus, anyone who wishes to participate in the current thematic cycle can use the Labs accounts on Facebook and Τwitter (using the hashtag #labs5).
The aforementioned pages allow users to be informed for the proposals, to submit new ones, to provide ideas or comments, to suggest improvements and finally evaluate all proposals. By utilising the advanced PADGETS tools and the capabilities of user interactivity within social media, the Scientific Committee intends to retrieve citizen’s feedback on the submitted proposals and to encourage the emergence of new ideas.