1. Dive back into TICTeC 2024

    Whether or not you were lucky enough to attend TICTeC in person earlier this month, you can now experience it all over again.

    Where there are videos and slides for a session, you can access them via the Schedule page. Just click on ‘see session detail’ to see which resources there are. Or discover all the videos via the TICTeC 24 YouTube playlist.

    Note: Videos and slides are only available for sessions that were recorded, and where presenters gave consent to share.

    Plus: browse through photos from the two days of TICTeC 24 on our Flickr page, here. All photos are available under a non-commercial Creative Commons licence, so please do share them where you like.

    Don’t miss TICTeC 2025!

    Work with us at TICTeC 2025: we’re open to suggestions from organisations who might like to partner with us to host TICTeC in your region; and we’re also always happy to talk to potential sponsors. Drop us a line if you’d like to discuss more.

    Subscribe to updates: Be the first to know when we put out the call for papers, open bookings and announce the location for next year’s TICTeC — sign up here.

    Thanks for your feedback

    We love hearing what other people got out of TICTeC! Special thanks to those who have taken time to feed back on what those two days meant to them.

    Here are just a couple of the comments we’ve received: follow us on Instagram to see more over the next few weeks.

     

  2. TICTeC 2024 – that’s a wrap!

    We’ve just come back from two intense days packed with presentations from the wonderful global community of civic tech practitioners. Heartfelt thanks to everyone who made TICTeC 2024 possible: our wonderful speakers, delegates both on the ground and joining us remotely; sponsors the National Endowment for Democracy, the team of red-shirted mySociety staff who made everything run so smoothly (including our volunteer for the day, Teona); venue Mary Ward Hall; and the videography team from AV Projections who gave our online attendees a seamless experience.

    Each attendee will of course have their own highlights, but they surely must include some of the following: María Baron and Nick Mabey OBE igniting each day’s proceedings with relevant and provocative keynotes; a panel of seasoned civic technologists reflecting on what happened the day they woke up and realised their project had become critical national infrastructure; first-person testimonies from practitioners operating in hostile or war-torn environments; and deep dives into where AI can be helpful and where it has inherent dangers.

    The last in-person conference was in 2019, and to be completely honest, we did wonder whether we’d be able to fully recapture the TICTeC spirit. Fortunately, people’s reactions, messages and social media posts — not to mention the buzz of excitement throughout the two days — has put those concerns entirely to rest. There’s as much affection and appreciation for TICTeC as there ever was.

    Thanks to everyone who was a part of it – not least our own Gemma Moulder who pulled off her usual seemingly effortless, but in reality massive, feat of organisation.

    We’ll be sharing slides, videos and photos as soon as they’ve all been processed, so watch this space.

     

    Photo: Alice Williams

     

     

  3. TICTeC schedule now online!

    Yes, it’s that marvellous time for the Civic Tech community: the full TICTeC schedule is now online and you can browse it to your heart’s content, picking which sessions you’ll attend — not always an easy decision when there’s so much to choose from!

    As usual, TICTeC promises access to civic tech around the world with insights you won’t get elsewhere, presented by a truly amazing roster of international speakers. This year we have a focus on threats to democracy and climate, and the tools that are working to counter them.

    You’ll find grassroots NGOs, making a difference through their on-the-ground technology; representatives of governments; tech giants; and of course the academic researchers that make sense of everything we do in the civic tech world.

    • Hear from Mevan Babakar, News and Information Credibility Lead at Google;
    • Learn how tech has shaped citizen-government communication from the Taiwan Ministry of Digital Affairs;
    • See what happens when you wake up and realise your civic tech project is now critical national infrastructure, with Alex Blandford of the University of Oxford

    These are just a few of the 60+ sessions from an international range of perspectives that you can dip into across TICTeC’s two days. Which will you choose?

    Come along in person, or tune in from home

    This year, most of TICTeC’s sessions will be livestreamed, so you can tune in no matter where you are (the workshops won’t be broadcast, as they don’t lend themselves to online participation). If you’d like to attend virtually, you can book a ticket via Eventbrite for just £50.

    Or, if you’d prefer to join the conference in person, enjoying all that a real-life meet-up entails, with sessions interspersed with networking, nibbles, and socialising, make sure you snap up one of the limited slots. But hurry – TICTeC always sells out, and this year is looking like no exception.

    Register for TICTeC now.

  4. TICTeC keynote speaker announcement: Nick Mabey OBE

    Hot on the heels of our last big announcement, we’re very happy to confirm our second keynote for TICTeC, The Impacts of Civic Technology conference 2024: Nick Mabey OBE.

    If you’d like to hear from one of the big players, really making a difference to the UK’s climate change response, you’ll want to make sure you’re at TICTeC this year. 

    Nick is a founder of E3G (Third Generation Environmentalism), an independent climate change think tank with a goal to translate climate politics, economics and policies into action — and is now its co-CEO.

    He has previously worked in the UK Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit, UK Foreign Office, WWF-UK, London Business School and the UK electricity industry. As an academic he was lead author of Argument in the Greenhouse, examining the economics of climate change. 

    He also founded London Climate Action Week, one of the world’s largest climate festivals, which takes place on 22-30 June — so if you’re in London for TICTeC and you have an interest in climate, it might be worth sticking around for that! 

    Nick will open the second day of  proceedings at TICTeC, setting the scene for presentations and workshop sessions that strive to examine the central question: What is needed to make civic tech tackling problems around climate change more successful and impactful on a global scale?

    Few people are better equipped to bring such a broad spectrum of knowledge and experience to this complex issue. If you’d like to tap into some of that, then make sure to snap up your tickets to TICTeC

    BOOK YOUR PLACE AT TICTeC NOW

    The TICTeC 2024 schedule will be published very soon, so watch this space.

  5. TICTeC keynote speaker announcement: María Baron

    We’re excited to announce the first keynote speaker for our 2024 Impacts of Civic Technology Conference (TICTeC)!

    Join us on 12 and 13 June  — in London or online — and you’ll hear from María Baron, founder and now Global Executive Director of Directorio Legislativo.

    This year, one of the major themes at TICTeC will be the role of civic tech in safeguarding and advancing democracy where it is under threat. María and Directorio Legislativo’s work explore both  the problem, and how we can collectively roll up our sleeves and do something about it. 

    María has a long career in transparency and democratic institutions, working first across Latin America and then globally with both Directorio Legislativo and the Open Government Partnership. Along the way, María also founded the Latin American Network for Legislative Transparency, convening 24 civil society organisations from 13 countries. 

    With her team at Directorio, María developed a methodology for building consensus across polarised stakeholders on tricky issues — and has brought many of those agreements to Congress, where they were signed into law.

    The Regulatory Alert Service, also from her Directorio team, enables political analysts to predict changes in regulation across 19 countries. 

    Among many other achievements, María has been awarded the NDI Democracy Award for Civic Innovation. In short, we can guarantee you’ll gain a massive dose of inspiration and hope from her session.

    And that’s just the first speaker announcement from this year’s TICTeC. Make sure you’re a part of the “best concentration of practitioners, academics, and thinkers in this field” (Fran Perrin, Indigo Trust) and book your place now.

    It’s been a while since we convened the wonderful, industrious, inspiring global civic tech community in one place, face to face — we’re ready to reignite those amazing conversations, connections and deep dives into democracy at the Impacts of Civic Technology Conference, this June. 

    BOOK YOUR PLACE AT TICTeC NOW

  6. TICTeC 2024: Call for proposals and registration now open

    TICTeC, our Impacts of Civic Technology Conference, will be returning for its 7th edition on 12th and 13th June 2024, in London and online. We’re delighted to announce that the call for proposals and registration for TICTeC 2024 are now open.

    TICTeC is all about sharing research, knowledge and experiences to examine and improve the impacts of civic technology, in order to strengthen democracy, public participation, transparency, and accountability across the world.

    Call for Proposals: open until 22nd March 2024

    Core themes

    After twenty years of mySociety, and approaching ten years of TICTeC – we want to think about what is needed now to match the big challenges of the next twenty years. 

    As well as examining the impact that civic technology is having upon societies around the world, the big question we want to answer through TICTeC is:

    What is needed to make civic tech on a global scale more successful and impactful, to tackle global problems around democracy and climate change?

    Through TICTeC 2024 and 2025, and our new Communities of Practice – we are going to break down this question, and work through for ourselves, and with our partners, what is needed to deliver on the radical goals of the civic technology movement. 

    This breaks down into two sub questions that we want to explore. What is the role of civic tech in:

    • safeguarding and advancing democracy/transparency where it is under threat?
    • enabling the effective and democratic change needed to meet the challenge of climate change?

    For this year’s TICTeC we encourage proposals that contribute to discussion around these two thematic questions, as well as to the overarching conference theme. Potential topic areas may include:

    • Access to Information/Freedom of Information
    • Monitoring parliaments/legislatures
    • Climate change/climate action
    • Tools for citizen participation
    • AI and Democracy
    • Civic tech as part of civil society
    • Crowdsourcing and volunteers
    • Impacts of big tech/tech giants
    • Fact checking
    • Technical infrastructure/cybersecurity

    You can propose 20 minute presentations and ideas for longer workshops.

    We encourage presentation submissions to focus on the specific impacts of technologies, rather than showcase new tools that are as yet untested. A tool doesn’t have to have mass usage to be worth talking about – we’re also interested in qualitative stories on the impacts of technology, their impacts on official processes, and how users have used platforms to campaign for change. We’re also interested in stories about obstacles and barriers to having impact. 

    Workshop proposals should be relevant to the conference themes. Technology does not have to be new, and we welcome retrospectives on long running projects. 

    The deadline for applications is the 22nd March 2024. Those selected for inclusion in the conference programme will be notified no later than 5th April 2024.

    Presenters will be required to register for the conference by 19th April in order to confirm their slot (the registration fee will be waived for individuals presenting). 

    Submit your proposals via this application form by 22nd March 2024 at the latest. 

    Register now

    Registration for TICTeC 2024 is now open and is essential in order to attend. TICTeC has sold out in previous years – so make sure you get tickets early. Early bird tickets provide a significant discount, so it’s well worth registering before early bird ticket sales end on 20th April 2024.

    Attending TICTeC 2024 in-person will allow attendees access to all conference sessions, including main plenary sessions, presentation/Q&A sessions, workshops, networking sessions, lunches and drinks reception. Attending online will allow remote attendees access to all main plenary sessions and some breakout presentation/Q&A sessions.

    The TICTeC 2024 Eventbrite page contains further information about the conference, as well as FAQs, but do let us know if you have any questions by emailing tictec@mysociety.org.


    In the following months, we will be publishing full details of proceedings as they are announced over on the TICTeC website. If you’d like to hear of TICTeC 2024 updates first, please sign up for email updates.

    And in the meantime, if you’d like to see what TICTeC is all about, you can browse all the resources from previous TICTeC events over on the TICTeC Knowledge Hub.

    We look forward to welcoming you to TICTeC 2024!

     

  7. Save the date: Our TICTeC conference is back! Join us in London for TICTeC 2024

    UPDATE: You can now sign up for TICTeC 2024 over on Eventbrite. And our call for session proposals is open until 22nd March. 

    We’re very excited to announce that for the first time since 2019, we’ll be hosting an in-person (with virtual attendance options) TICTeC in June 2024.  TICTeC is our Impacts of Civic Technology Conference, which we’ve held in many locations across the world since 2015. This time we’ll be hosting it in London on 12th and 13th June 2024.

    Put that in your diaries now: we’d love for you to join us.

    We’ll be sharing how you can register for TICTeC 2024 and our Call for Proposals in January, so if you’d like to be informed first then do sign up for updates

    What is TICTeC and why do we host it?

    TICTeC stands for the Impacts of Civic Technology Conference, and started back in 2015 as an annual conference, but is now also a programme of year-round activities through our TICTeC Communities and TICTeC Labs projects.  

    TICTeC is all about sharing research, knowledge and experiences to examine and improve the impacts of civic technology, in order to strengthen democracy, public participation, transparency, and accountability across the world.

    The TICTeC conference brings together those from across the world who build, research, use and fund civic technology to talk openly and honestly about its impacts and how to improve them. At previous TICTeC conferences, between 150-250 people have gathered from more than 35 countries. 

    After twenty years of mySociety, and with TICTeC’s 10th anniversary coming up in 2025 – we want to reflect on the civic tech movement and what’s been learned. Does the idea of civic tech still make sense? How does it need to change to meet the democracy and climate challenges of the next few decades? We want TICTeC to be a place attendees can have detailed and meaningful conversations about its past, and where we want to go from here. 

    Why London?

    It’s always tricky to choose a location for TICTeC. Here’s why we’ve chosen London this time: 

    • mySociety is a charity and TICTeC is run solely by our staff members, who are all based in the UK. We want to spend our conference budget on helping others attend rather than on our own travel to the conference location, so hosting on home turf will allow us to do this. 
    • As TICTeC brings together people from 35+ countries worldwide, London is an incredible international hub and accessible by all modes of public transport. Attendees being able to travel sustainably to TICTeC is really important to us, and of course the environment. Those from Europe can use the Eurostar to arrive sustainably by train to London St Pancras, which is a mere 15 minute walk away from our venue; those who can’t travel by train can arrive into one of London’s 6 major airports; and London is the most well connected city by public transport to other UK places for our UK attendees.
    • Through our connections with the London & Partners agency and domestic authorities, and being a UK based organisation ourselves, we are hoping to be able to provide more robust visa support to TICTeC delegates, improving on previous TICTeC conferences. 

    Stay tuned

    As mentioned above, we will shortly share more information on TICTeC 2024’s themes, our open Call for Proposals and how to register, but in the meantime, please do save the date and get in touch if you have any questions!

    Image: Vladislav Zolotov

  8. Reflections on TICTeC Labs: did we unlock civic tech impact?

    If you’ve been keeping up with our blog, you’ll have seen a series of new projects rolling out over the past few couple of months: these are the concrete outcomes of the TICTeC Labs programme. You can access them all here.

    TICTeC Labs was a new and, in retrospect, quite bold project for mySociety, involving many moving parts, the generous participation of people from a huge variety of organisations, and with collaborators in several different countries — and crucially, support from the National Endowment for Democracy.

    Last week, in a final wrap-up event, we looked back on the programme as a whole, with presentations from our subgrantees and reflections from the steering group. If you’d like to watch for yourself, you can do so on YouTube, and there’s a transcript here (automatically generated, so be prepared for some typos etc).

    The process

    Each TICTeC Surgery began with a question and ended up with a finished product or service several months later. At any one time, the six projects would be at various overlapping stages, from the initial discussions, to the Action Lab deciding what and whom to commission, to the work being undertaken and finally launched.

     

    The TICTeC Labs process - each of six topics leading to an output, via a working group

    Click to see at a larger size

     

    Despite this complexity, and thanks to the hard work of so many, each project was completed on time. Each one is a solution to an identified issue within the global civic tech community. And the benefits don’t stop there: everything is open source, and can be accessed, used or replicated by any group that may need them.

    Outputs

    The wrap-up event began with presentations from the groups who had created these final outputs:

    People Powered, on showcasing public-private civic tech success stories. Pam Bailey spoke about the importance of placing a human interest strand at the centre of the stories we tell. The output for this Surgery was a set of case studies highlighting notable examples of such projects.

    Technoloxia, on a toolkit to help the global civic tech community fix common accessibility challenges. Yosr Jouni described the challenge of making a topic like accessibility both fun and indeed accessible in itself. The output here was an online, illustrated guide that’s available to all.

    Open North, on data governance and quality. Christian Medina described how they used the international scope of the Labs to ensure that their offering was relevant to everyone, not just the global north. The resulting online course is in French and English and free for anyone to access.

    Fundación Multitudes, on storytelling and reach. Stephani Paliza also shared thoughts on how they ensured their output would be relevant to communities anywhere in the world. Their offering was in the form of training for civic tech organisations across several continents, equipping them with effective tools to get stories about their projects and successes into mainstream channels.

    The Demography Project, on driving impactful societal change. Richard Muraya described some crucial outputs around water in Kenya: educating, monitoring, and ensuring better water quality during a critical period for the country. The President of Kenya even attended their event for World Wetlands Day. You can see more about their several digital outputs here.

    Policy Lab Africa, on civic tech in hostile environments. Charles Ikem described how, in just two months, they were able to map a huge amount of data showing where polling stations — often just unremarkable addresses in rural areas — were located, and launch an app for reporting electoral violence in time for Nigeria’s presidential elections.

    Reflections

    mySociety’s Chief Executive Louise Crow and Steering Group members Isabel Hou and Matt Stempeck discussed to what extent the programme had met its aims to ‘strengthen civic tech networks and the exchange of ideas’, and ‘develop new initiatives and collaborations that expand the civic tech evidence base, address issues and challenges facing the sector, and enhance the effectiveness and potential impact of civic tech projects.

    Matt encapsulated our thoughts neatly when he said: “The value of the unexpected community that was built in this process was important — so the direct, formal partnerships; but also, seeing who’s doing what, the diverse approaches to similar challenges, while at the same time finding that community.

    “People really liked the ability to have repeat engagement on the theme and the ability to keep working on things over time rather than one off events.”

    Finally, a Q&A allowed audience members to add their thoughts. This is a programme that’s been all about knowledge-sharing, and it’s notable that this spirit also persisted in our conversation: already, participants were talking about more translations of some of the assets, and invitations to speak at planned global conferences.

    Everything we learned during the TICTeC Labs process will be very useful as we consider the next phase of TICTeC and what form its offerings will take as we go forward. This event allowed us to take a step back and understand our progress, learnings, and lessons for future programmes.

  9. Amplifying our successes beyond the civic tech community

    Fundación Multitudes have created and delivered training for civic tech organisations in how to get stories about their projects and successes into the mainstream media. Funded by our fourth TICTeC Labs subgrant, the initial training took place from December 2022 to February 2023, with ten participants from Indonesia, Macedonia and the Philippines. 

    At our fourth Civic Tech Surgery, we discussed storytelling and reach — the challenges of amplifying our successes beyond the civic tech community —identifying that communications can be difficult for civic tech organisations. Organisations are often small, work is complex and full of jargon, and communications are sometimes seen as a luxury or an afterthought. One impactful solution suggested was training, and the Action Lab commissioned Fundación Multitudes to create this eight-week course. 

    The organisations joining the training wanted to:

    • develop attractive campaigns for their organisations
    • meet and share experiences with other organisations
    • learn about storytelling tools and strategies

    Their needs were met by modules on:

    • Media mapping and media tracking
    • Press kit and media management
    • How do we elaborate our discourse, editorial line and expressions on contingency?
    • Design of a micro action plan for a specific programme or campaign

    Participants really valued the opportunity to share experiences and learn how other organisations had met the challenges of sharing their stories. They are continuing to engage with the programme via a mailing list which connects them so they can exchange information, share experiences and build partnerships, plus a follow-up newsletter with relevant information on storytelling and reach, grant opportunities and success stories.

    Fundación Multitudes plan to continue to develop and deliver this training – view the course content here (PDF). 

  10. Maai Makwa: civic tech for water monitoring, education and conservation

    Maai Makwa is an open source, open data and public domain project from The Demography Project, Kenya, and it’s the outcome of our fifth TICTeC subgrant.

    Our fifth Civic Tech Surgery discussed the question of how the civic tech community can learn from, and contribute to, climate action, to drive impactful societal change. The subsequent working group commissioned The Democracy Project to establish Maai Makwa (indigenous Kikuyu language for My Water): a water quality and quantity monitoring project integrated with practical civic education to empower individuals, households and communities in Kenya to participate in freshwater conservation and sustainable water resource exploitation. 

    Kenya is classified as a chronically water-stressed country by the United Nations. Population growth, growing agricultural water use, frequent droughts and mains supply disruptions all increase the difficulties of accessing and preserving water.

    Through this project, the Demography Project have developed:

    • An interactive Water Cost Calculator to enable Kenyans to understand the full cost of water services from all 81 water companies in the country
    • A compilation of national and local water laws and regulations
    • In-person forums in vulnerable communities to help them understand water rights and contribute to water conservation
    • A real-time Water Distribution calendar
    • Collaborations with higher education institutions, recruiting eight student climate champions who conducted field research on water supplies in their regions and authored stories on their findings
    • The deployment of low-cost, compact, modern meteorological kits and water monitoring devices to communities 

    The project was showcased at World Wetlands Day celebrations, and collaborations with local youth groups recognised by a visit from the President of Kenya, Dr William Ruto.

    As a result of this work the Demography Project have entered into fourteen partnership/ membership agreements with local and global organisations working in freshwater conservation and youth networking. They continue to develop the project, with plans in progress to translate the content and tools into local languages. 

    We’re impressed by this extensive set of outcomes and we hope that it will help bring about solutions for the water issues of the region.

    To find out more about Maai Mawka: