As ever with Mozilla’s annual, hands-on festival, there was a lot going on in London’s Ravensbourne, a venue that’s especially conducive to mixing and meeting.
MozFest attracts an active and positive crowd of digital people, ranging from junior-school coder kids right through to hoary old digital campaigners. So we were delighted to meet up with old friends and make new ones, especially as some of them had travelled for afar to be there. London was fortunate once again to be hosting the event, since Mozilla is of course an international organisation. And as our main focus at this year’s event was EveryPolitician — “data about every national legislature in the world, freely available for you to use” — that international aspect was especially welcome.
As a result of our being there, we hope that lots more people know about EveryPolitician’s data, and that some of them are going to build or do amazing things with it. We’re still adding to our data, so we’d love your help: we have data on at least the current term of the top-level legislatures of most of the countries in the world. But we’d still love your help with finding good sources for the remaining few, as well as our ongoing task of going wider (adding more details about the politicians we do have) and deeper (adding historic data from previous terms).
If, in the spirit of digital do-ism that infuses MozFest, you do make something useful or funky with EveryPolitician’s data, do please let us know. We make sure all this lovely data is available to you in a consistent way (that not only means the delivery formats of CSV or JSON Popolo, but also that we adopt reliable conventions about the way we use them). This maximises the likelihood that, when you share that thing you’ve built using the data for your country, people in other places will be able to easily adopt it to work with the data for theirs. And that’s why, if you’ve made something amazing, we’d like to know — so we can shout about it.
Finally: thanks to the people who made MozFest run so smoothly this year, and the spirit of the open web. See you next year!
Image: Mozilla Festival CC BY 2.0
We’ll be at the Open Government Partnership Global Summit on October 27-29.
It’s one of the biggest events of the year within our sector, focusing on transparency, accountability, citizen participation and innovation, so we know it’ll be a great chance to spread the word about our work, and catch up with friends from all over the world.
We’re there with two main purposes.
Launching our latest research
On Wednesday 28th October at 4pm, Rebecca will be hosting a session titled Researching the Real-World Impact of Digital Democracy. The Open Knowledge Foundation will be joining us, to present recent research they’ve conducted into open data and data literacy.
We’ll also be launching our own report on the demographics of civic tech users, highlighting how the kind of tools we make are used by different groups around the world, and the opportunities and challenges that this presents to civic technologists and open government advocates.
Can’t make it to Mexico City? No problem: we’ll simultaneously be publishing the research here on the mySociety website. Yes, that’s right, we’re staging an international live link-up… in our own small way.
Showcasing our software
With so many people in one place, all with a very specific interest in our kind of work, we jumped at the chance to exhibit at the Open Fair. Paul and Gemma will be there, showcasing some of our projects and tools that promote transparency and help with parliamentary monitoring.
We’re really looking forward to the event. If you’re going too, we hope you’ll come and say hello.
Want to know who else is going?
It’s always useful to know who’ll be around, so you can see who you want to catch up with. We’ve started this crowd-sourced spreadsheet: do feel free to add yourself.
Our meet-ups are open to everyone. Come along if you’re interested in hearing more about inspiring tech projects in Bristol and beyond, and if you fancy having a drink with the following guest speakers:-
Paul Wilson and Professor Dimitra Simeonidou, Bristol Is Open:
Paul and Dimitra will speak about Bristol Is Open and its mission of creating an open programmable city region that gives citizens more ways to participate-in and contribute-to the way their city works. Find out more about the project here: http://www.bristolisopen.com/
Mike Dunn, Sift Digital:
Mike is a UX consultant with Sift Digital in Bristol. The Bristol Pound is an local alternative currency designed to benefit independent businesses. They’re trying to get us to completely rethink where our money goes. Mike will talk about how he put together a lightweight programme of user research and digital strategy work to suit their (very) limited budget, and why digital people should use their powers to do good.
Ben Fowkes, Delib:
Ben leads the consultancy team at digital democracy company, Delib, where he helps governments tackle tricky initiatives that require input from citizens. Ben will be giving a talk about his recent trip around the US which saw him visit large swathes of government, universities and hallowed ground like Civic Hall in New York, to attempt to answer the question – ‘What is Civic Tech?’. He’ll explore the differences and indeed, the similarities, between the respective countries and look at larger trends and opportunities from the other side of the pond.
Our very own Ben Nickolls:
Ben heads up the mySociety Services team. He’ll talk about some of the innovative digital projects we’ve been working on recently to help local government and other institutions better serve the public.
They’ll be some other speakers too; which we’ll add to the meet-up’s Lanyrd page in due course.
So, we hope to see you there!
When: Thursday 23rd July 2015, drop in any time between 7pm and 10pm
Where: The Royal Navy Volunteer pub function room, 17-18 King St, Harbourside, Bristol , BS1 4EF
How: Add your name to the Lanyrd page: http://lanyrd.com/2015/mysociety-friends-meet-up/, so we know you’re coming.
Who: Anyone who fancies it.
NB: Watch our Twitter stream on @mySociety to check for last minute advice about where we are sitting or if we have moved venues for unforseen reasons.
The mySociety Services team will be attending this year’s Channel Shift Conference on 17th June in London. We’d love to see you there, and we’d be happy to talk about your needs.
Local authorities using FixMyStreet for Councils have reported a shift of up to 300% from phone to online reporting. Why? Because when online reporting systems are this easy, phone contact plummets.
So we know how important channel shift is for councils, and we can help you achieve it. With central government calling on local councils to lead the way in cost-cutting via digital technologies, we know there’s great pressure to deliver services on an ever-lower budget.
The solution doesn’t have to be a lengthy and costly tie-in with a big provider, however. FixMyStreet For Councils shows how small independents can provide everything your clients need, with no long-running, over-priced framework agreements.
Come and have a chat and we’ll show you how other councils have implemented our services. We can answer all your questions about back-end integration, mobile apps and how we can tailor FixMyStreet to your needs.
We look forward to joining attendees from Central and Local Government, Housing, Police and the Private Sector, to discuss channel shift best practices. The conference will focus on overcoming key barriers, such as: culture change, integrating front-end to back-end systems, effective business process mapping, and demonstrating and promoting channel shift success.
Many of our services are tried and tested catalysts for shifting citizen contact online. We’ll be demonstrating the channel shift success we’ve had with our council clients, and showing how you can replicate that success with your own implementation.
Here is some more information about the conference:
- Chair: James Rolfe, Director of Finance, Resources and Customer Services, Enfield Council
- Keynote: Danny McLaughlin, Digital Service Manager, Department for Work and Pensions
- Steve Halliday, Chief Information Officer, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council and Past President, Socitm
- Julie Robinson, Director of Resources, Watford Community Housing Trust
- Boris Worrall, Executive Director Futures, Orbit Group – Futures
- Ian Simons, Group Head of Social Media, RSA Insurance
- Natalie Proffitt, Head of Digital Media Services, Leicestershire Police
- Barry May, Head of Customer Services, London Borough of Camden
Email: email@example.com / 020 7202 0571
The second international Alaveteli conference
Venue: Impact Hub Next, C/ Alameda 22, Madrid 28014
There’s no other conference like it. If you’re involved with Freedom of Information technologies, you’ll want to be at AlaveteliCon, the only event with a specific focus on FOI in the internet age.
AlaveteliCon brings together civic society organisations and individuals from around the world. All have one thing in common: an interest in online Right To Know tools.
Interested? Keep reading and apply below!
Yesterday was our conference on the Impacts of Civic Technology, and what a packed day it was.
Don’t worry if you missed anything, though: we now have videos, interviews, photos and blog posts for you to digest at your leisure.
Meanwhile, you might like to browse through the #TICTec hashtag on Twitter, where many delegates shared their thoughts and insights in real time.
Thanks to everyone who came and made TICTeC into such a rich, useful and thought-provoking day. It wouldn’t have been the same without you.
We’re expecting 109 people from 26 different countries and 69 different organisations – all with a common interest in discussing and understanding more about the impact of civic tech.
You can see the full agenda here, and don’t worry if you didn’t manage to get a ticket: we’ll be documenting everything in full.
- For the as-it-happens picture, keep an eye on the Lanyrd page throughout tomorrow.
- We’ll be following up with summaries, podcasts, photos and videos right here on the mySociety blog.
- Be sure to tag your social media with #tictec and we’ll also document the best of that.
See you tomorrow!
Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate the launch of mySociety Services. It was great to see you all!
A cold February night it might have been, but it was certainly worth venturing out to the Nash Room at the ICA.
The company was great. The drinks flowed. Plus, the view from the balcony, across the Mall to the London skyline was stunning.
If you couldn’t make it: we’re sorry you couldn’t be there, and we hope to see you soon.
And if you hadn’t heard about it at all… well, now’s the time to sign up to the mySociety Services newsletter and make sure you’ll never miss our events, briefings and talks.
Hurry: today’s the last day to book your place at TICTeC, our conference on the Impacts of Civic Technology, if you want to take advantage of the early bird pricing.
You have until midnight tonight to save yourself £100 on your ticket price. Here’s where to book.
We’re still firming up the final schedule and session titles, but let us whet your appetite by listing some of the speakers.
Here are some of the other speakers who’ll be helping to shape the agenda at TICTeC:
We’re really delighted to be presenting such a diverse group of speakers bringing insights from so many parts of the world… and we can hardly wait to hear what they all have to share.
If you feel the same, well, now’s the time to book your ticket.
Dr. Shelley Boulianne, of MacEwan University in Alberta Canada, studies civic engagement and political participation. That makes her a perfect fit for our conference on the Impact of Civic Technology, TICTeC, where she’ll be one of two keynote speakers.
Her current research examines how social media is used to recruit youth for volunteer work in the community. This research employs interview data from youth and non-profit organisations, as well as a content analysis of Facebook and Twitter data. If that sounds right up your street, be sure to grab your TICTec tickets soon.
Meanwhile, we put a few questions to Shelley.
What will you be talking about at TICTeC?
I will present a bird’s eye view of the effects of civic technology on civic and political life. This perspective allows us to ask tough questions about technology: Does civic technology have a positive effect on civic and political life? Does it have a negative effect? Does it have any effect at all? I will present the results of a meta-analysis of more than 80 studies documenting the effects of the internet on civic and political life.
What’s your involvement in civic tech?
Most of my experience is studying the role of news websites and social networking sites on civic and political life. These tools are most interesting to me, because they engage the masses. However, I am also studying the use of online versus face to face methods for facilitating citizens’ involvement in deliberative exercises designed to inform public policy.
What are you most looking forward to about TICTeC?
I consider myself to be first and foremost a research methodologist, so I look forward to exciting discussions about how to study the effects of civic technology.
We’re looking forward to it too! If you’d like to be at TICTeC, info and a link to ticket-booking is here. But hurry: early bird registration closes on 20 February.