NCDD Workshop: “Facilitating Effective Dialogue on Challenging Community Issues”

From November 2-4, PlaceSpeak will be attending the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation (NCDD)’s 2018 National Conference. There is significant evidence to suggest that Americans are more polarized than ever: Pew Research’s recent study indicates that 8 in 10 respondents believe that “Republican and Democratic voters not only disagree over plans and policies, but also cannot agree on basic facts”. In addition, as social media algorithms continue to reinforce echo chambers and further political divides, technologies that support respectful and meaningful dialogue online – by design – are more crucial than ever.

Join Elkhart County Commissioner Mike Yoder and PlaceSpeak Communications Manager Mary Leong at their workshop on “Facilitating Effective Dialogue on Challenging Community Issues”.

PlaceSpeak at the International Identity Summit

In September 2018, PlaceSpeak participated in the International Identity Summit, an event which connects Identity and Access Management leaders and innovators from around the world to share perspectives and identify strategic opportunities, with the potential to accelerate development and adoption of solutions.

Communications Manager, Mary Leong, spoke on how digital proof of residency is crucial to authentic and legitimate online citizen engagement. PlaceSpeak’s citizen-centric model places the individual at the heart of the process by authenticating their digital ID (e.g. user account) to their physical location (e.g. residential address).

New Opportunities to Provide Feedback on Federal Government Issues

Federal government departments are increasingly recognizing the importance of going beyond traditional means of engaging Canadians on important issues. Currently, many consultations request that public feedback be submitted via email or mail. While surveys and questionnaires are becoming more common, concerns around duplicate submissions and the growing prevalence of bots and other means of interfering with the public input process cannot be ignored.

Developed with the support of the National Research Council of Canada (NRC-IRAP), PlaceSpeak is pioneering an authentic civic network which empowers citizens to provide feedback while providing decision-makers with the assurance that feedback is coming from real and relevant participants. As PlaceSpeak connects participants to their physical location, departments can choose to limit participation on each consultation to individuals residing in specific geographical areas (e.g. province or territory), and segment/compare the feedback data collected across different parts of the country.

Several federal government departments have recently launched new consultations on PlaceSpeak, providing Canadians with a safe, secure and transparent way to provide input on issues that matter.

3 Online Citizen Engagement Lessons from the Cowichan Valley Regional District

At last year’s UBCM Convention, the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) received the Community Excellence Award, Best Practices in Organizational Development & Improvements, for their region-wide approach to citizen engagement.

The CVRD wanted to reach residents who typically didn’t engage with local government, and sought to find a platform that could be used by all local governments in the Cowichan Valley. This would not only benefit residents by having a single “hub” for online engagement, but each local government would benefit by working together in learning a new tool and be able to reach a larger audience.

Here are three lessons from their award-winning approach that any municipality can apply to start making civic participation habit-forming in their communities.

PlaceSpeak at the Code for Canada 2018 Showcase

The two biggest levers for improving people’s lives at scale are technology and government. What happens when we bring them together? PlaceSpeak was honoured to be included in Code for Canada’s 2018 Showcase, which highlights the potential for civic tech to impact government and make a meaningful impact in people’s lives.

Founder and CEO, Colleen Hardwick, shared her insights “as a civic tech entrepreneur, and called on all levels of government to support the country’s growing commercial civic tech sector.” Read the Showcase in Review here.