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Friday, May 6 • 14:20 - 15:10
Online Public Consultation: Making It Real

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Online Public Consultation: Making it Real

There is a crisis in public consultation. People don't trust the process anymore. They cannot see that their feedback has any affect on the outcome of decisions or policies. How can we address this crisis? 

Internet technology offers fresh potential to invigorate civic engagement and build trust. However, although there have been plenty of opportunities for public commentary, these have been of limited value. Public dialogue has been anonymous and subject to trolls, sock-puppets and astro-turfing. Petitions, surveys and email forms go into black holes.  Until consultation is tied to actual observable outcomes, the people and government will not take it seriously. Online consultation needs to generate authentic and defensible data. In other words, we need to make online public consultation 'real' and actionable. 

Organizations that seek public input for either legislative or business reasons need new tools for engagement. Civic engagement tools are an ever-expanding suite of software tools and platforms that are being used to modernize resident engagement, leveraging geospatial and 3rd Platform technologies, including social networking tools, mobile apps, data analytics, and cloud computing. A variety of solutions are geared toward open data and crowdsourcing initiatives to collect aggregated resident feedback as well as to foster participation. Others focus on generating actionable reporting and dashboards to bolster civic consultation, and yet others focus on creating information and feedback loops with residents, local businesses and community groups, and other interested stakeholders. The newer capabilities are enabled by cloud, catalyzed by mobile, disseminated by social networks, and informed by Big Data.

avatar for Colleen Hardwick

Colleen Hardwick

Founder and CEO, PlaceSpeak
Colleen Hardwick is the founder and CEO of PlaceSpeak, a location-based platform that authenticates online citizen engagement. A serial entrepreneur, Colleen has an academic background in urban geography and political science. She spent many years in media as a film and television producer and segued into internet technology. In 2006, she won the Vortex award for excellence in new media innovation from the Marshall McLuhan foundation.

Friday May 6, 2016 14:20 - 15:10
Colwood Room