Open SourceRegulationSoftware

Call For Web Ideas To Improve Democracy

mySociety is looking for input on how it can use the Internet to give the UK more information about its government

A UK organisation that has succesfully developed websites such as TheyWorkForYou.com has put out a call for ideas for other online tools to improve the way the government collaborates with citizens.

In a blog posting, co-founder of mySociety Tom Steinberg said that the organisation has launched similar “Call For Proposals” schemes before that have resulted in sites such as WhatDoTheyKnow.com and WriteToThem.com.

“Do you have a ‘mySocietyish’ idea that you’d like to see become reality? Is there something radical about the sites we already run that should change?,” wrote Steinberg. “If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then we’d like you to submit your idea to our 2009 Call for Proposals.”

mySociety is focused on finding ways to use the Internet to improve the relationship and collaboration between the government and the citizens it serves.

“mySociety has two missions. The first is to be a charitable project which builds websites that give people simple, tangible benefits in the civic and community aspects of their lives. The second is to teach the public and voluntary sectors, through demonstration, how to use the internet most efficiently to improve lives,” the organisation states.

According to mySociety, ideas for future sites for the organisation to work on should adhere to the following criteria:

1. They have to involve the Internet. We don’t do clay modelling.
2. They will capitalise on one or more things that the Internet does really well, better than offline or other forms. WhatDoTheyKnow, for example, seizes on the fact that email can be simultaneously published and rerouted – a simple but critical insight.
3. They will either be a whole new website idea, or a smart and impactful modification of something we already do.
4. They will be ideas that have clear social, civic or democratic benefits that are really easy to explain to the least political person you know, even if the technology behind them is fiendishly complicated.
5. They will have some characteristic that will widely spread the word that the service exists, or that other mySociety services exist.
6. They will offer brilliant value for money, even if they’re expensive to build in the first instance.
7. They will be genuinely new ideas

Ideas can be submitted up till around September 15th and the winners should be announced in early October according to Steinberg.