Category:Setup

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Definition

Online participation can be understood as a process with different phases. The setup is the initial phase in which preparations are made for the actual execution of the participation.

Details

While for formal participation processes there will be a dedicated phase preparing the participation phase, this might not always be the case for less formal processes.

In this phase the actual participation in the execution phase is developed. A process that is purposefully designed to meet particular goals of such a participation process would aim to make deliberate decisions on as many of the the factors that are know to influence the effects of online participation processes as possible.

There are abundant guidelines and handbooks around for how to set up participatory processes (Examples include Koop (2010) or Bundeskanzleramt Österreich (2008)). Often the considerations for offline engagement processes apply similarly to online participation.

Ideally this phase starts with an analysis of the situation and the context of the planned participation process. Some questions that would need to be clarified at this stage are:

  • aims of process and intended outcome
  • context (e.g. are there similar processes already around, what are legal requirements, integration into existing procedures)
  • support (e.g. who might be willing to assist with the process)
  • target groups (e.g. who is affected, who is an expert, who is implementing the process, are the target groups online, are there groups that are difficult to reach)
  • participation opportunities (e.g. what are the participants supposed / allowed to do, is participation completely online or online/offline mix, how are the participants selected)
  • activation (e.g. how to motivate participation, who invites, what information do participants need in order to meaningfully contribute)
  • result (e.g. how are contributions aggregated, by what way is the result derived from the contributions, will there be a final report)
  • timing (e.g. when does the process start, how long is it supposed to last)
  • resources (e.g. money available, staff, multiplicators)