As I said, we helped animating the Declaration of Amsterdam at the World Congress of IT.
I’m very happy with the way it was received: the Dutch Minister centred her speech on the “projects that make it happen” from the website.
Some quick lessons learnt for me to remember:
– commentpress is old. At least we should use digress.it. And policy commenting is loved by policy wonk like me, but not by larger audiences
– visualization based on googleMaps beats textual comments hands-down. We put lots of effort in commentpress, and we achieved little. Yet the global visualization of projects was intuitive and very effective in terms of participation and policy impact.
– strategic design is very important: the choice of wording and overall tone was geared not towards a generic “let’s collaborate” or “let’s discuss” but a more specific “let’s make it happen”, so that it was clear what was asked and what could be expected from this.
– animation live during the presentation via twitter was very effective. In this way, the Debategraph visualization worked very well to connect words/policy to actions/projects.
– web animation has to be embedded at the top strategic level all through the process. Otherwise it is very difficult to set the right “tone” as previously described. In the ideal world, the policy strategist should be able to modify directly the website.
– clear rewards should be given. The beauty of the map visualization was that a project was visible on the map as soon as it was added, creating a sort of “magic” effect. Yet we should have given clear high-level rewards, like “the most interesting projects will be shown by the Minister in her final speech”.
So my final take is the key importance of dynamic visualization for participation and policy impact.