Waffles and Civic Technology

Contributor: Alonso Hernández

This week I represented Tectonica in Brussels, and I must say it was very exciting to have meetings in person again. There is nothing comparable to the energy of change that we can generate, the connection and motivation that emerges from being physically together. The digital space, without a doubt, will never be able to fully simulate the qualities of in-person meetings.

However, viewing online and offline as distinct and opposed is not an appropriate approach, we don’t even need to differentiate them as reality goes through both indistinctly. Both dimensions provide a unique value. In terms of optimizing resources, efficiency, reach, and analysis capacity, digital organizing practices are invaluable. We must, thus, make both digital and in-person serve each other, leveraging the various advantages both provide. This could mean building strong connections when we can see each other, and scale the reach of those relationships through technology.

Although this seems obvious, it is not always put into practice by organizations and political parties, and there is still a great lack of knowledge about different tools that can play a crucial role in the success of the campaigns and programs of the different change efforts.

This was a recurring topic in the conversations we had in Brussels. Especially in the main event that we attended, the annual assembly of ACTE, the Association Civic Tech Europe, of which Tectonica is a member, and through which we strengthen the European civic technology sector. The larger, ultimate goal is to strengthen democracy and the participation of citizens.

Thus, today we want to introduce you to the rest of ACTE members, making a brief review of each of their technologies:

Citipo is an all-in-one platform for candidates and activist organizations. It makes it very easy to create engaging websites connected to a powerful CRM from which you can mobilise a supporter base. We especially love their commitment to simplifying what is needed to run successful campaigns.

Fluicity is a tool for promoting participation among citizens. As they put it, it is: "Perfect for organizations seeking to consult citizens and set up quality participatory approaches: participatory budget, thematic consultations, calls for ideas, surveys, etc."

Make.org is an independent and non-partisan platform whose purpose is to collect proposals and establish awareness to catalyse citizens' ideas and participation in the issues that will shape tomorrow's society.

Qomon is a super interesting digital organising platform that allows you to mobilise supporters and multiply the impact. Some of their tools include features for creating teams, canvassing and phone banking actions, peer to peer messaging, creating events, actions and reporting, all through a mobile app.

Civocracy specializes in the local level and is a powerful platform through which, as they state, build communities to gather people to think together and find solutions for important local matters. In addition, through a very interesting methodology that they present here.

Novoville focuses on the digital transformation of councils and organisations and is specialised in solutions such as e-Frontdesk, public consultations and communications, payments to the institutions etc.

Cap Collectif is a suite that aims at facilitating and promoting participation. It has a comprehensive set of different tools for consultations, participatory budgets, surveys and voting, crowdsourcing of ideas, call for projects, and citizen interpolation.

Bluenove is a technology and consulting company that pioneers massive collective intelligence. They provide a complete set of different tools and services such as participation consultation, a collective intelligence platform, analysis tools, workshops, etc.

We Build Robots, is a platform that makes it easy to build AI-powered digital assistants, which can facilitate countless communications and contacts that occur in a campaign, and thus free up resources that we can invest in other more valuable things, such as meeting to plan actions in person again.

On a final note, ACTE is actively looking for new members! Please contact us if you think it could be a good fit for your company.