Well, what an amazing few days in Taipei!
On 11-13 September we co-hosted TICTeC@Taipei, our Impacts of Civic Technology Conference, with our wonderful Taiwanese partners Open Culture Foundation (OCF).
Good morning #CivicTechFest 270 people from 33 countries ? check the shared notes for more info. pic.twitter.com/hxajUpDFLR
— Julia Kloiber (@j_kloiber) September 11, 2017
TICTeC@Taipei was the headline event of OCF’s Civic Tech Fest, which was a parallel event of the World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT). So attendees not only got to come to TICTeC, but also to a whole range of other civic tech-focused events, as well as all WCIT sessions including a huge tech exhibition and evening cultural events.
You can find resources from TICTeC@Taipei including videos of all sessions, slides and photos over on the TICTeC website.
So, what were the highlights for us?
Bringing awesome people together
One of the best things about organising conferences like TICTeC is bringing people together to make connections and share experiences.
With financial support from the MacArthur Foundation and WCIT, topped up by some of our match funding, we were able to cover the travel costs of 10 people to attend TICTeC@Taipei, many of whom had never experienced a gathering like this before. They hailed from Brazil, Pakistan, India, the Philippines, Australia, France, Nepal, India, Nigeria and Malaysia.
We particularly enjoyed facilitating this connection:
@sinarproject @OpenHluttaw and @OpenAustralia together in real life for first time thanks to @mySociety & @g0vtw #civictechfest pic.twitter.com/rIyNfcgh0C
— Sinar Project (@sinarproject) September 12, 2017
These guys have worked online together for years helping each other with tech tools for parliamentary monitoring — but had never met before. So to be able to bring them together in person was a real treat for us.
Our travel support also helped with the Code for All global gathering that took place during Civic Tech Fest, bringing together Code for All teams from 13 countries.
Good morning @CodeforAll Meeting with all 13 partners in Taipei today! pic.twitter.com/FoCNTT8HnZ
— Code for Germany (@codeforde) September 14, 2017
Meet-ups like this are so important for sharing, learning, connecting and preventing wheels being reinvented. We hope many more fruitful connections were made – we know we made some!
We really enjoyed all the TICTeC@Taipei sessions: thanks again to all our speakers and panelists for being involved and sharing your work and experiences.
Here’s snapshot of some of our favourite sessions:
- Eric Reese’s presentation about how school-chooser digital tools in the USA and Lithuania have impacted enrolment policies was a perfect mixture of tool presentation, sharing of research methodologies and actual impacts (both negative and positive). Watch the video of this presentation, read the notes and see his slides.
- The closing panel discussion on open washing and struggling democracies in Asia was a really important reminder of how difficult working on civic tech for opening governments can be in many places around the world. Amongst many interesting insights, we learnt that citizens trust the military more than their own government in Pakistan, and that the threat of being arrested for working on anti-corruption projects in Malaysia is very real.
- Audrey Tang’s chat with Stephen King from the Omidyar Network was really insightful. The Omidyar Network are one of the biggest funders in the civic tech space, and long-term mySociety funders, so finding out what they look for in projects was very interesting – this includes clarity of vision, strong management, research and innovation. Stephen also emphasised the importance of impact research and gatherings to bringing the civic tech community together. Here’s the video of the session, and the notes.
- It was great to have a Civic Technology and Open Government session on the main WCIT agenda, meaning that interesting civic technologies could be showcased to the more mainstream international tech community. Thank you to the Open Culture Foundation guys who negotiated with WCIT to make this happen. It would be great for more mainstream IT conferences to include sessions on tech for open government, as it’s an important part of global technology development.
#opengov, transparency and participation panel with @audreyt @Mathilde_Bras Sarah White @RebeccaRumbul @mikorulez #civictechfest pic.twitter.com/EIsdxId4mm
— Pierre-Louis Rolle (@PierreLouisR) September 13, 2017
We’re also really pleased about how diverse TICTeC panels and sessions continue to be, which is something we’re committed to maintaining in the future:
Just occurred to me what lovely #PanelDiversity we have in our first session! #tictec #civictechfest #wcit https://t.co/xQHMq7FRzO
— Rebecca Rumbul (@RebeccaRumbul) September 11, 2017
The amazing hospitality and working with Open Culture Foundation/g0v
It has been such a pleasure working with @OcfTaiwan on #civictechfest & #tictec in Taipei! Easiest people to work with & super passionate! pic.twitter.com/GMzGrAvyV3
— Gemma Moulder (@GemmaMySociety) September 13, 2017
It was truly an honour to work with such an exceptionally dedicated and passionate group of people. We have admired and followed the work of OCF and the g0v community for a long time, so it was a real pleasure to work closely with them and learn from them.
Over the last year or so we have spoken with Ttcat, MG, CL and Lulu from OCF every week planning TICTeC@Taipei – they are all so easy to work with and super organised, so thank you! What great hosts you’ve all been.
Thank you also to all of the g0v volunteers who tirelessly worked on the event — taking notes, videoing and photographing sessions, setting up, presenting, helping attendees with all things Taipei, updating us on typhoons (!) etc. You are awesome!
Ideas for future TICTeCs
- At the next TICTeC (which will be in Lisbon in April 2018) we’d like to feature a few unconference sessions, where attendees can submit session ideas and then vote on their favourites. This worked really well in Taipei, and we think TICTeC would definitely benefit from this participatory approach.
- We’ve been toying with this idea for a long time, but TICTeC@Taipei confirmed our thinking and we’d like to hold a ‘How to conduct Civic Tech research’ workshop in Lisbon – a more hands-on session that provides attendees with advice on research methodologies, and connects practitioners and researchers more directly.
So, watch this space!
If you fancy coming to our next TICTeC event, you can now register and you can also submit a session proposal. It would be great to see you there!