The Back End of Open Government
New technologies are rapidly increasing the capacity of citizens to contribute to government planning and decision-making. But this creates new challenges for civil servants and elected officials – how should they deal with increased flows of public input? What’s in it for them if they do? What kind of changes are needed inside government to ensure that public input has an impact on policy? How can we help to make it happen? This session is designed as a round table discussion, with the goal of sharing knowledge and identifying best practices. Bring your stories and ideas about how to promote change within government or other organizations. Proposed by Amy Lang (email@example.com)
Canoe to Work
This year for the commuter challenge was going to canoe to work. I was going to portage down Cambie St, paddle across False Creek to my office in Yaletown with a big sign on my canoe saying “there are greener ways to get to work”. DSF and BEST were behind me (figuratively).
However, I found out from Margaret at BEST that the commuter challenge is not happening in Vancouver this year due to lack on funding by the BC government. So I wimped out! My wife and a neighbour (who offered to print the sign) called me on this – I shouldn’t wimp out just because the government did.
In brainstorming with a couple of change gurus, we like to continue the spirit of the commuter challenge with a revamp, a contest and some new buzz.
So the proposal this year is to hold a “How many eco-friendly ways can you get to work .” For example, canoeing, ballooning, rollerblading, etc. It can be held over a week or two with prizes for craziest commute, most different ways of commuting, etc.
Proposed by Steve Unger, Ambassador DSF, Green Team Captain SAP Vancouver
Community Development Crowdfunding Network
Developing an online interface for peer-to-peer crowdfunding for community development projects. Exploring the questions: How can social media and peer-to-peer technologies directly support grass roots innovation? How can we utilize such technologies to de-institutionalize community development initiatives?
Proposed by Lee White, Community Development Leader with the Community Capacity Building Strategy
Citizen Reporting: Where is it going?
In the past, citizens have been an integral part of ensuring a well run society. This has included actively informing government and police services of issues through the use of direct verbal contact and phone (911 and 311). With recent developments in mobile technology enabling more extensive reporting (through the use of cameras, video and audio recording, and customized applications) we are seeing an explosion of citizen reporting tools for mobile devices. These are being developed by social enterprises, for-profit companies and cities themselves. What are the opportunities? Should there be limits? Should citizens be “policing”.
Mobile Technology and Access for People with Disabilities
Mobile technology is enabling user-generated content to be created that is current, detailed and widespread. Foursquare and Yelp! have shown that restaurant experiences can be documented and shared effectively. But what about letting people with disabilities or mobility challenges to know what services are available or which restaurants can accommodate the blind? Capturing detailed information on points of interest and accessible routes is possible, but what’s the best way to proceed.
Media Co-operatives: democratic ownership for a democratic media?
Mainstream news media are generally conventional hierarchical corporate structures in which the content creators — editors, journalists, videographers, artists, and technicians — are mere employees who must submit to the orders of management. But conventional corporate structures serve only the interests of owners and managers. Media co-operatives are owned by the content creators and offer a more democratic approach to media. What makes them work? Are there successful media co-ops? Why are there so few of them in Canada? Can they create a democratic media environment? This session explores the co-operative model of media ownership, especial for new and electronic media.
Freshening up Canadian Media
Media makers are beginning to use social media to draw out more stories and information, looking to crowd-source knowledge from the people formally known as the “audience.” Fresh Media, a project of OpenMedia.ca, is looking for input on how we can bring more media innovation, participatory quality journalism, and new forms of artistic expression to Vancouver and Canada. This session will help inform a series of networking events to take place later this summer aimed at bringing media makers, technologists, and citizens together to re-invent our media system. What can we as citizens could do to remake media, support independent media, and further develop participatory quality journalism? How can we stop approaching social media and investigative journalism as being at odds with one another, and instead help enable media makers to use social media as a way to collect citizen input in their work? How can we enable and empower independent media makers to take center stage in our media ecology.
Telling Untold Stories: Low-wage workers as effective new media makers
We’ll explore how the storytelling capacity of low-wage workers as effective media makers can be developed in order for new media to fulfill the promise of bringing previously unheard stories into mainstream conversations. We’ll explore the challenges of creating compelling media that tells the currently untold stories of low-wage workers, from the perspective of workers themselves, in ways that shift how we think about social priorities and solutions to problems faced by low-wage workers. By sharing ways to overcome barriers of technology and access, and also by reflecting on barriers stemming from being disconnected from the language and networks of decision makers and new media leaders, we can begin to think of how to apply new strategies for widening the social impact of new media possibilities. Drawing on lessons learned from successful models, such as Philadelphia’s Media Mobilizing Project and Baltimore’s United Workers Association, we’ll explore some of the lessons of “the telling of untold stories” and “the battle of stories framework” developed by these two organizations. We’ll also consider storytelling in the larger sense, discussing how stories shape perception, create movement, shift power and are often best told visually and across media platforms, combining stories of the heart that move with emotion and stories of the mind that carry ideas and shift thinking. Discussion will relate models elsewhere to examples of how to unharness the power of new media for social and economic good in Vancouver and the rest of B.C, including in the context of organizing child care workers in B.C. Proposed by Tom Kertes (Liberation Learning) (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Online Identity – Your drivers license / ID card in the virtual word
We use government ID every day, when you go to a bar, when you purchase tickets, rent a car, get on a plane. Why can’t you do the same online? Teams in government are working to solve this problem and the United States has made some steps forward (http://www.idmanagement.gov/drilldown.cfm?action=openID_openGOV). What I want to know is what do citizens think of this? Would you like to use your government issued ID to identify you everywhere online without the need for a username and password. How do you feel about government agencies sharing contact information so when you move you let the post office know and they let the taxes know and so on and you do this all through a single online identity?
Mobile and pervasive technologies are coming online (and off-) that empower citizens to read and write data/media in their lived environments, and concurrently, virtual worlds are merging with these (augmented) physical spaces. Don’t get too excited – what we should be talking about now (and what I propose to talk about in this session) are the policy implications (the obvious ones being privacy, freedom of speech, intellectual property, and ensuring equality of access to media, but there are many others…).
Proposed by Jean Hébert, PhD Candidate, School of Communication, SFU (jeanhebert at sfu dot ca , URL: clicknoise dot net , Twitter: @jeanh)