Governance

NDItech - Product Development Process

NDItech - Product Development Process

By Swami Ganesan | December 12, 2014

This is the first in a series of posts on the NDItech team’s product development process. NDI’s tech products attempt to solve specific problems for people and organizations in emerging democracies. In this post, will look at the example of DemTools development to get an insight into our development process. More about DemTools can be found here.

Meet DemTools: Closing the Geek Gap

Meet DemTools: Closing the Geek Gap

By Chris Doten | August 08, 2014

In the last few years, powerful, cloud-based web apps have revolutionized the way business, civic groups and governments engage with citizens. Online campaign management systems helped empower Barack Obama’s supporters to organize their communities on the way to victory; sophisticated customer relationship management (CRM) systems help businesses effectively push their wares; online communication platforms connect marketers with the populace.

New NDITech Friends in the Northern Virginia Tech Community

New NDITech Friends in the Northern Virginia Tech Community

By NDI Tech | May 14, 2014


NDI has been reaching out to the tech community over the last few years to explore mutually beneficial ways to work together. You may recall our conference in Silicon Valley last year, billed Governing Democratically in a Tech-Empowered World. Next week we're venturing south to engage the tech community in northern Virginia with our new friends from the NVTC - the Northern Virginia Technology Council. 
 
NDI and the International Committee of the NVTC are co-hosting a lunch discussion that hits on a couple of the key themes we're working on surrounding technology and democracy these days - digital security and civic innovation. The first panel, Digital Security to Protect Human Rights and Democracy Activists, will feature former NDItech star Ian Schuler and Amie Stepanovich - Senior Policy Counsel from Access. The panel will be moderated by Mohamed Reda, Chair of the International Committee of NVTC. Following a nice lunch the second panel - Technology, Civic Innovation and Democracy Support - will be moderated by Alex Howard and feature Megan Ryskamp Partnerships from Google; Amy Ngai Director of Partnerships and Training from the Sunlight Foundation; and our own Scott Hubli - Director of Governance from NDI.
 

The Cyber Losers: The Weaponization of Cyberspace and Its Affect on Human and Democracy Rights

The Cyber Losers: The Weaponization of Cyberspace and Its Affect on Human and Democracy Rights

By Aaron Brantly | March 31, 2014

I just returned from the International Studies Association conference in Toronto, Canada where thousands of scholars from around the world gathered to discuss virtually every topic imaginable related to international affairs. I presented two papers on two separate panels. Below is a topline summary of one paper and its substantive findings and relevant criticism from a panel of experts.

A Global First: A permanent hacker space in the Brazilian Congress

A Global First: A permanent hacker space in the Brazilian Congress

By NDI Tech | January 03, 2014

On December 17, the presidency of the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies passed a resolution that creates a permanent Laboratório Ráquer or “Hacker Lab” inside the Chamber — a global first. The full text of the resolution in Portuguese is here. The resolution mandates the creation of a physical space at the Chamber that is “open for access and use by any citizen, especially programmers and software developers, members of parliament and other public workers, where they can utilize public data in a collaborative fashion for actions that enhance citizenship.”

The idea was born out of a week-long, hackathon (or “hacker marathon”) event hosted by the Chamber of Deputies in November, with the goal of using technology to enhance the transparency of legislative work and increase citizen understanding of the legislative process. More than 40 software developers and designers worked to create 22 applications for computers and mobile devices. The applications were voted on and the top three awarded prizes.

The winner was Meu Congress, a website that allows citizens to track the activities of their elected representatives, and monitor their expenses. Runner-ups included Monitora, Brasil!, an Android application that allows users to track proposed bills, attendance and the Twitter feeds of members; and Deliberatório, an online card game that simulates the deliberation of bills in the Chamber of Deputies.

The hackathon engaged the software developers directly with members and staff of the Chamber of Deputies, including the Chamber’s President, Henrique Eduardo Alves. Hackathon organizer Pedro Markun of Transparencia Hacker made a formal proposal to the President of the Chamber for a permanent outpost, where, as Markun said in an email, “we could hack from inside the leviathan’s belly.” The Chamber’s Director-General has established nine staff positions for the Hacker Lab under the leadership of the Cristiano Ferri Faria, who spoke with me about the new project.

Voto Mobile - Engaging and Polling Citizens with the Power of Voice

Voto Mobile - Engaging and Polling Citizens with the Power of Voice

By Aaron Brantly | November 18, 2013

There is an election in a week,  you want to poll the citizenry before the election, and your financial resources are limited. What should you do? Should you (A.) Give up because it is simply not possible to get a full-fledged poll out in the field. (B.) Beg your donor to give you a last minute cash infusion to bring on more staff and a polling company.

The Amazing Open Government Guide: Action Steps to Accountable and Transparent Governments

The Amazing Open Government Guide: Action Steps to Accountable and Transparent Governments

By Katrin Verclas | October 31, 2013

One of the coolest things this week that we have seen is the newly released Open Government Guide. NDItech is this week at the Open Government Partnership Summit in London where NDI is launching the Legislative Opennes Working Group focused on parliamentary openness, among other things.