#CeDEM13 day 1, afternoon, Workshop: Evaluation/Success and Failure of eParticipation

Michael Sachs and Judith Schossboeck from the Centre of E-Governance are currently resposible for evaluation of a large-scale youth eParticipation project. In order to draw on expertise of the experts present at CeDEM13 and to refine the intended evaluation frameowork, a workshop was held. As introduction, the OurSpace project and the platform was introduced to the participants, and thereafter factors of success and failur of eParticipation projects were identified, both on a general level and with view to experience with own projects.

The following is a documentation of the parameters defined in the workshop as well as the discussion.

JoinOurSpace

JoinOurSpace

Factors of Success

  • The topic has to be relevant/of interest/need-based for the target group. A topic of contemporary conflict can sparkle interest.
  • User experience/usability and design
  • Continuous involvement of users in process (also in design)
  • Tools and devices:
    • Accessability – also related to device. Also mobile options should be provided.
    • convergence of devices/tools (not only one tool provided)
  • Commitment of the government/stakeholders/government inclusion
  • A clear picture of the effect and outcome/evidence of impact
    • Innovation aspect – added value of the project
  • Ask clear questions – not too complicated issue
  • Reach out: go where people already are
  • Target group:
    • Cool factor: related to target group
    • Clear picture of target group and their interests and values
    • consider costs of participation of user group: qualitative and quantitative
  • Benefits:
    • Financial beneftis of participation
    • Entertainment/games/gamification elements –>motivation
  • Transparency of the process and providers/initiators
  • Free dialoge and space for diversity (safe space)
  • Feedback/support provided

Factors of Failure

  • Lack of marketing/promotion
  • Barriers for participation (“use what is already there”)
  • Intercultural misunderstandings
  • False promises
    • Participation for the sake of participation
    • Too high expectations
  • No failure culture
  • Intransparent process
  • Time frame is too short or long
  • Too general/too vague/to big scale or focus
  • Top-down approach
  • Platform purpose not clear
  • Confusion with E-Government
  • Users are not involved in design process
  • Topic of agreement (less conflict potential)
  • Initiator mismatches target group
    • Insufficient focus on user needs
  • Insufficient communiation structur on the website (not up to date developments)
  • Lack of infrastructure

In a more in-depth discussion participants linked these factors to the projects they have gained experience with and discussed the current developments in the field, in particular with relation to common mistakes made in the past.

A big thank you to all participants for your contributions. The outcomes will be considered for the evaluation framework and the upcoming evaluation activities and have actually been very useful!

OurSpace Webeite

Judith and Michael