How do we (re)engage citizens in the political process?

Patrick Lee will be pitching a discussion that asks,

In recent years, voter turnout in Canada has reached record lows. Only 61% of eligible voters cast ballots in the last federal election. Turnout for recent provincial elections in Alberta, British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Ontario was even worse, ranging from 52% to 59%. However, the lowest participation is at the municipal level where turnout in BC was a mere 30% in 2011.

Election officials, political parties and advocacy groups have tried to increase voter engagement, but low turnout continues to be a problem. In Canada, voter turnout is lower amongst younger voters and minority ethnic groups, resulting in underrepresentation of these groups in electoral results. Increasing voter turnout amongst these groups and the general population is desirable to help ensure the interests of all Canadians are reflected in policy decisions.

Promote the Vote is a non-partisan movement of everyday Canadians trying to increase voter turnout through dialogue with each other. Traditional outreach campaigns try to speak directly to people who don’t vote. Promote the Vote takes a different approach: it asks people who already vote to go one step further and encourage their friends and family to cast ballots too.

What are other ways we can (re)engage citizens in the political process? How do we create a culture of voting in Canada? How do we create collaboration and dialogue in a space that is increasingly along political and ideological lines?

You can reach him at mpatlee[at]gmail.com to discuss or connect with him at Changecamp 2014.


eBook Projects to Help the Oppressed

Larry Colero will be pitching a discussion that asks,

Harriett Beecher Stowe’s illustrated novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin was the #1 best-seller of the 19th century (after the Bible). It achieved a tipping point for the Abolitionists and it re-defined Lincoln’s Civil War.

The book caused a radical change in attitudes towards slavery by appealing to people’s conscience in a way that decades of appeal to their minds could not – through the use of compelling fiction. Using her imagination, the author made a political argument come alive for the American people through an entertaining story that includes empathy, suspense, inspiration and other literary techniques. So,…

a) Can we learn from the Uncle Tom’s Cabin model about how to move hearts as well as minds towards appreciating the need for greater equity in our communities?

b) How might we use the ubiquity of interactive e-book technology to tell engaging, uplifting stories about fictional characters who reflect real people in our communities?

Later thoughts:

1. I’m not sure the story would have to be fiction

2. Expected roles on an e-book project team, although it could all be done by one person:

– Author (may be a separate author for fiction/non-fiction) and maybe a Researcher as well
– Illustrator if required
– Publisher – to manage technology for layout, web design and publishing with Amazon, Apple, Google, B&N, etc.
– Marketing

Expected cost per e-book – from less than $100 to $10,000

You can reach him at larry[at]colero.net to discuss or connect with him at Changecamp 2014.




How can we leverage community data to create positive social change?

Bob Prenovost will be pitching a discussion that asks,

There’s a plethora of data about pressing and persistent social issues in our community such as homelessness, mental illness, addictions etc. How can we leverage the collection and analysis of this data and use it to create positive social change ? Can organizations that are tasked with collecting this data find more effective and mutually beneficial ways to collaborate with the organizations and groups who are providing front line services and/or proposing innovative solutions to social issues ?

You can reach him at bob.prenovost[at]bc211.ca to discuss or connect with him at Changecamp 2014.


Session Proposal: Living the New Economy Convergence

Tammy Lea Meyer (or maybe someone else) will be pitching a discussion that asks,

What passions, skills, projects and/or resources do you bring to the new economy movement?
What do you need to take your contribution to the next level?
How can our collective resources be leveraged to help each other?
What is missing? Who else do we need to bring into the conversation?
What questions are we left with? Whom do we ask?

Housing Crisis

Anonymous may be pitching a discussion that asks,

At least 116,000 people in BC are in housing crisis.

At the tip of the iceberg are 11,000 visibly homeless people, who have no homes at all.

Just below the surface are 40,000 hidden homeless, who sleep with family, in cars, or couch surf.

Deep under water are 65,000 people at risk of homelessness, who spend more than 50% of their income on rent. Many of them in substandard housing conditions.

How do we make this an issue for those who are not connected to any risk?
What have activists and the homeless community learned from Oppenheimer Park or Occupy?
What has city council learned since 2008?

Session Proposal: Engaging millenials

Arpy Dragffy from ibelievein.com will be pitching a discussion that asks, What engages millenials to act for good most: fun, seeing change, being part of something, doing the right thing?

We’re all faced with questions about what the motivators are to get millenials to act for good and change. With countless organizations literally competing for attention and intention from this group, most are ignored or barely considered. Others are dominating the charitable world but why? Is it because they deliver the right program matching with the right person? Or is it due to the sheer size and awareness of those campaigns which often have large budgets?


What ideas will you bring? Submit a topic of discussion.

Session proposal: Advocacy Frameworks

Steve Williams of Constructive Public Engagement will be bringing the idea of “Advocacy Frameworks” to the pitch session of Vancouver Changecamp.

I recently had a chance to hear from Tanya Beer from Center for Evaluation Innovation in DC. She has an amazingly useful “Advocacy Framework” that can help get really clear on who we are targeting with our advocacy efforts and what our goal is. In this session, I would like to share more about the framework and facilitate a discussion with the group about where we are currently targeting our efforts, is that the most effective and how we might position ourselves – and collaborate – to make the impact we are looking for. Bonus – expect to move around!

What ideas will you bring? Submit a topic of discussion.

What is the role of mainstream media in bridging the gap between social media and the real world while keeping politicians accountable?

Submitted by the Asian Canadian Journalists Association (jyfchen[at]gmail.com) for Vancouver ChangeCamp 2011.

How can mainstream media connect ethnic communities with political issues and help form a political agenda that matters to citizens? How do media direct and shape the municipal agenda? Who drives the issues that get discussed, and how do voices not represented in the mainstream media get their stories out?

This is a topic submitted by the Asian Canadian Journalists Association. We’d like to talk about holding politicians accountable for their promises. How do we make sure the agenda at city hall matches the priorities of citizens? We’d like to explore how the stories told in social media look and sound different than ethnic media, community newspapers, and mainstream news outlets.

Good Online Engagement | ChangeCamp 2010

convened by @zannalyons

What is good online engagement?

  • diversity of opinion and people
  • star power, hook to get involved
  • ladders of engagement for people to be involved at different time / commitment levels
  • process is designed with end-product in mind
  • people feel heard
  • good facilitation
  • ground rules are clear
  • value-add for participants, not just conveners
  • well organized, tagged entries to support easy navigation, avoid duplications and facilitate building on each other’s ideas
  • set up for ongoing reporting and easy analysis at back end
  • collaborative
  • time to explore ideas before making decisions
  • expectations are clear for how and why to participate, and reporting back / responses by conveners
  • clear focus / direction for the dialogue.
  • Designed technically and in structure for receiving / using input
  • low technical barriers to entry
  • collaborative tone
  • ensure the structure is iterative and responsive to the dialogue, and allows branching
  • What happens with your contribution / expectations. Hear back, see report, see others’ response. On demand / indexed summaries
  • people using forum should set boundaries for it
  • online not ubiquitous
  • carefully set up expectations
  • digital divide – people distrust govt
  • not a homogenous discussion

How to improve online engagement?

  • have tool to quantify degree of support (gradients) or dislike, to measure feedback and feed into offline actions
  • limit anonymity to certain levels of engagement (scale up based on willingness to ID)
  • need to protect privacy if want to identify contributor in some way
  • need language that reflects people submitting ideas are not usually those who are making decisions (dialogue, deliberation, conversations?)
  • use principles of adult learning
  • geolocate attendees to ensure their voice should be counted as reflective of community priorities
  • have strategy to drive people to the dialogue
  • have meaningful content
  • be clear: what is your goal? Is it really dialogue?
  • custom settings for privacy?
  • Use software to collate input
  • can’t remove need for facilitator

Citizen Engagement on Gov. Websites | ChangeCamp 2010

Q: Why engage online?
A: That’s where people are; some ppl are stay-at-home mon’s and/or shy to give opinion in public speaking venues etc and online gives them a way to communicate when time allows and gives them a voice

Q: What are some positive aspects?
A: Opens up opportunity, diversity of voices, C: need to define engagement

Q: Is Twitter just another channel? Can we call it engagement? Also ask yourselves what the citizens will get out of it.
A: It’s about serving citizens better, not just about gov’t getting their word out A: To serve citizens.

Q: Is it engagement when you only ask for comments/input online –> it’s not dialogue Is it true engagement?
IAP2 Ladder of Participation: Empower; Involve; Consult; Inform
C: Do it online because that’s where people are. You can organize groups around a topic.

C: There is danger – not being F2F people feel it’s okay to say/do things that are inappropriate. It needs follow up considered.

C: Online provides opp. for people (esp. shut ins) to have a voice

C: leads to greater, better ideas/input

From Knowledge As Power and Sarah Schacht: Basic Advocacy Headlines – A simple, effective tool for organizing communications from citizens to legislators, electeds, staff, etc. A free, open standard any government can implement with a simple text form on their website. Link: http://bit.ly/bahead

ex. HB1234-PRO-98115-5542

Victoria BC We improved response back procedure/policy.

Did consut’n process with public. Many people wanted inpvts made to response back

People want a response!

Govt should respond in some way. If you want people to participate who don’t normally participate they need to know – listening – their input is being considered.

UBC Tips Be clear, honest, get back to people. post the input. It’s important to have moderator. can catalogue people’s comments. Don’t bury the input on your web page. Bring it forward. Don’t forget to involve people through video, music. Not everyone is inspired through words.