From Informing to Empowering: Digital Public Participation – P2 – Tools
The shift to digital engagement is not new. Online public engagement platforms have been utilized for decades to keep stakeholders informed and engage and empower citizens. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of digital tools for continued public engagement. Earlier this year, the International Association of Public Participation(IAP2) put together a list of resources to support P2 practitioners during the time of physical distancing, including webinars, a living google doc with a list of tools P2 practitioners have been using and examples of digital tools.
Several years ago Caitlyn Horose put together the list of 50 tools for online public engagement.1 In 2015, Jared Bothwell, a founder of Public Voice, reprinted the list and added two more tools. The list below includes 50 digital platforms and it is based on the content of the above-mentioned lists with the following new elements:
- Online engagement platforms are listed in alphabetical order
- All platforms on the list are active, as of September 2020
- 10 platforms from previous lists are not included as they have been discontinued
- 8 new online tools are now added to this list
- New features included for each platform are as follows: (1) a country of origin; (2) a year they were launched in; and (3) a twitter handler, if available.2
- To stay up-to-date on new trends and tools in the area of digital public engagement, we created a Twitter List: Online Public Engagement that follows all the digital P2 companies listed below.
- Adopt-a-Hydrant: A project by Code of America, makes it easy for community members to volunteer to take care of local infrastructure like fire hydrants in severe weather. Made in USA. Year?
- borealis: A stakeholder engagement software; products include community engagement, public affairs/government relations, land access/management and environmental performance modules. Made in Canada. 2004. @BorealisCSR
- All Our Ideas: A research project by the Department of Sociology at Princeton University; created the platform that allows project partners to collect and prioritize ideas by utilizing features of qualitative and quantitative methods. Made in USA. 2010. @allourideas
- Bangthetable: Created the EngagementHQ software that provides capacity for single/unlimited consultation projects with multiple feedback tools from online forum discussions and quick polls to interactive mapping. Made in Australia. 2007. @BangtheTable
- Citizen Budget: An online budget simulator and decision-making platform. Made in Canada. 2011. Acquired by Ethelo in 2019. @ethelo
- Citizenlab: a digital participation platform to consult their citizens on local topics and include them in decision-making. Made in Belgium. 2015. @citizenlabco
- Citizen Space: Powered by Delib Limited, this online platform allows to manage, publicize, and archive all public feedback activity. Made in UK. Delib Limited was launched in 2001. @DelibThinks
- CivicInsight: A platform by Accelala, aimed for updating residents about the progress on development of properties in their neighborhood. Made in USA. Year?
- Civic Space: An online collaborative space for public conversations; technology that helps foster a dialogue and understand your community. Made in Canada. 2018.
- Codigital: A digital platform to solicit feedback from large groups and generate, prioritize and refine ideas.Made in UK. 2012? @codigitalnews
- Community PlanIt: An online game, created by Emerson’s Engagement Game Lab, makes planning playful, while collecting insight on community decisions. Made in USA. 2011.
- Community Remarks: A survey map that allows citizens to access a map and post their ideas, comments, and images to a website and relate them to a specific geographic location or general topics. Made in USA. Year? @placevision
- CONSUL: A FREE open source project hosted by CONSUL DEMOCRACY Foundation; a public engagement platform that aims to shift power to citizens, comes with an automated installer, documentation, and a large technical community that makes setup easy, by web app standards. 2017
- Consultationmanager: an online stakeholder management and public engagement platform to support geographically dispersed teams working on large projects that need a better way to capture and share their stakeholder data. Made in Australia 2003.*
- coUrbanize: A community engagement platform purpose-built for real estate teams and planners. Made in in USA. 2013. @coUrbanize
- Crowdmap: The collaborative mapping platform. 2010. Since 2015 all crowdsourcing services were moved to Ushahidi.com. Ushahidi is headquartered in Nairobi. @ushahidi
- Crowdbrite:Specializes in planning, engagement and implementation of projects; organizes comments for online brainstorming sessions and workshops. Made in USA. 2011. @crowdbrite
- CrowdGauge: An open-source web-based platform that helps planners promote literacy about planning issues by creating educational online games where participants learn how their values/choices link to funding and/or policy mechanisms. Made in USA. 2013?
- Decidim: A FREE open source participatory democracy online platform that empowers citizens, organizations and public institutions self-organize democratically at every Made in Spain. 2017. @decidim_org
- DialogueApp: Powered by Delib Limited, the platform promotes dialogue to solve policy challenges with citizen input. Made in UK. Delib Limited was launched in 2001. @DelibThinks
- Engagement Hub: All-in-one digital community engagement and stakeholder management solution to drive participation and collaboration. Made in Australia. 2016. @engagement_hub
- Ethelo Decisions: Framework for engagement, conflict resolution, and collective determination that reflects on complexity, power/influence and hidden knowledge of participants. Made in Canada. 2011. @ethelo
- Front Porch Forum: A FREE community forum, helping neighbors connect. Originated in Vermont. Made in USA. 2006.
- GitHub: A collaborative online community of government employees and the public to share best practices in open source, open data, and open government efforts. Made in USA. 2008.
- jambo: An online stakeholder relations management (SRM) platform which allows to manage stakeholder information, communications and engagement projects. Made in Canada. 2016. @JamboHQ
- Konveio: An online content engagement platform that focuses on interaction and collaboration. Made in USA. Formerly known as Urban Interactive Studio (UIS) 2010 – EngagingPlans; Konveio – 2020. @konveio
- Loomio: An online tool for collaborative decision-making. Made in New Zealand. 2001.
- MetroQuest: Creates visual engaging online experiences that both educate the public about planning alternatives and collect informed input from residents. Envision Sustainability Tools, a sotfware engagement firm was first founded in 1997. Made in Canada. @MetroQuest
- MindMixer: A product of mySidewalk, a crowdsourcing tool that encourages citizens to share ideas and vote on them. Made in USA. 2010. @mysideworkHQ
- Neighborland: A software that that empowers civic organizations to collaborate with their stakeholders in an accessible, participatory, and equitable way. 2011. Made in USA. @Neighborland
- Neighbourly: An online platform for neighbours to connect with each other and local businesses to address issues affecting their community. Made in New Zealand. 2013.
- NextDoor: Private social network and forum for neighbourhoods; helps find local services from babysitter to plumber, find lost pets and organize events. Made in USA. 2008.
- Open Town Hall: Powered by OpenGov, this online platform presents financial information to community members in a simple way and translates community’s feedback through interactive dashboards. Made in USA. 2012. @OpenGovInc
- Open311: System for connecting citizens to government for reporting non-emergency issues. A collaborative model facilitated by OpenPlans that facilitates an international effort to open standard for civic issue tracking. Made in USA. 2009.
- OSCity: Open Source City is spatial planning platform that allows for search, visualizing and combining data to gain insight on planning. (EU only.) Made in Netherlands. 2013. @OSCityNL
- PlaceSpeak: Location-based civic engagementplatform designed to consult with people within specific geographic boundaries. Made in Canada. 2010. @PlaceSpeak
- Poll Everywhere: Collects audience responses in real time, live, or via the web. Made in USA. 2007. @polleverywhere
- PublicInput: Powered by Cityzen Solutions, the platform allows to gather feedback by integrating polling and social media sites. Made in USA. 2014. @Public_Input
- PublicStuff: Service request and citizen relationship management (CRM) that allows citizens to report a problem and request service. Made in in USA. 2009? Acquired by Accella in 2015. @PublicStuff
- publivate: e-consultation, collaboration & innovation management platform to engage the public and manage internal and external stakeholder relations. Made in Canada. 2008.*
- Recovers: Mobilizes residents and helps communities in disaster preparedness and recovery. Made in USA. 2011. @recovers_org
- SeeClickFix: Allows people to report non-emergency neighborhood issues to local government Made in in USA. 2008. @SeeClickFix
- Simulater: Powered by Delib Limited, a digital democracy company, this online tool engages people in making difficult decisions including identified priorities and simulating trade offs. Made in UK. Delib Limited was launched in 2001. @DelibThinks
- Socialpinpoint: Customizable community engagement platform that includes a broad range of online engagement tools, including forums, ideas wall, surveys, budgeting, etc. Made in Australia. 2013.@socialpinpoint
- Street Bump: Crowd-sourcing project that helps residents improve their neighborhood streets through an app that collects road condition data and informs governments with real time information on problems; informs long term investments. Made in in USA. 2012.
- TellUs Toolkit: A tailored package of map-based software tools to support decision-making and stakeholder engagement. Made in UK. 2012?
- TheHiVE: Powered by Harvest Digital Planning, HiVE is a complete community engagement solution that supports organizations in their online participation processes. Made in Australia. 2011. @HarvestDP
- townhall: An online participation tool that goes beyond the traditional survey to be simple, quick and shareable on social media. Made in USA. Was created as a Facebook app in 2013.
- Zilino: Host deliberative online forums and facilitated participatory meetings. Made in USA. 2008?
- 76engage: An online engagement platform that includes publishing, management, moderation, analysis, and reporting capabilities. Made in Canada. 2016.
The inclusion of links does not imply endorsement of any kind, neither this list is a compilation of all digital engagement tools available. We are all human and there is a chance that we missed some great tools or did not provide complete information about listed platforms. Please do get in touch and let’s keep this list alive and up-to-date.
Last updated on September 4, 2020
*Platforms added to the list on September 4, 2020
1 The original article by Caitlyn Horose is not available on the Community Heart & Soul website.
2 In some cases, information about the country where a tool was developed or the year it was launched in was not available. A question mark indicates that information needs to be verified.Tags: #consult, #digital, #empower, #IAP2, #inform, #P2, #publicengagement, #publicpartication, #stakeholder relations, civic engagement, community engagement, digital tools, engage, online, online tools, Public Engagement, public participation, tools