Taking the OGP Co-Creation Process Online – Prioritizing Ideas & Commitments
Cómo llevar el proceso de cocreación de OGP a un espacio virtual - Priorización de ideas y compromisos
Prioritizing Ideas & Commitments
At any stage of the OGP co-creation process there may be a need to (a) shortlist ideas from a longlist before moving ahead to the next stage in the policy cycle to iterate and develop them further, (b) prioritize the focus and scope of specific commitments or (c) prioritize which commitments should be selected for inclusion in the action plan in light of resources available, feasibility of implementation, and keeping the overall number of commitments manageable.
When to engage for prioritization
- When there is a need to seek input, assess preferences, or get buy-in from a specific group of stakeholders or the general public in shortlisting or deciding between options and/or trade offs.
- When decision-makers can benefit from the expertise of specific groups to make a decision on what to prioritize.
Guiding principles for prioritization
- Agree on the approach and criteria for prioritization within the Multi-Stakeholder Forum (MSF) or equivalent group overseeing the co-creation process. Consider factors that will determine how ideas are shortlisted (e.g. relevance to open government principles, scale and ambition of change that can be enabled by the idea, technical feasibility, potential for securing resources for implementation, relevance to national or local development priorities, or issues dominating national or local discourse, ecosystem of partners available to support the commitment).
If actors beyond the MSF or equivalent group overseeing the policy development process will be engaged in prioritization, it would be good practice to validate the rules that will apply to prioritization if the extended group is of a manageable size and if there is genuine appetite to make changes.
- Consider who needs to be involved in the prioritization process: It is important to understand whether you are seeking to understand the preference or opinions of a representative sample of the broader public or of specific beneficiaries or stakeholder groups, whether you are seeking additional evidence to help understand whether shortlisting criteria are met, or whether seeking specific sectoral or technical expertise from those who possess the requisite knowledge and experience. This should determine your approach to prioritization and the tools and methods you use. It should determine if one or more rounds of prioritization are needed (for e.g. a combination of prioritization done with relevant government agencies, civil society or thematic experts who possess the expertise and experience, and getting a sense of preference or feedback from targeted stakeholder groups or intended beneficiaries to ensure their needs and preferences inform prioritization. Ideally, the OGP co-creation process will involve both. Clarify what prioritization decisions will be made jointly, and what decisions will be subject to formal government approval processes.
- Be mindful of representativeness of responses, biases, and group-think tendencies during prioritization, while using online polling or voting tools in particular. For commitments or policies that will impact specific groups of people, it is important to consider if there are any barriers to their participation which need to be mitigated. It is also important to consider whether the voting population is well balanced on gender, race, age group, socio-economic status, geography and other dimensions relevant in the national/local or policy context. Majority participation by audiences of a similar profile or pre-determined policy position can skew the results and the insights emerging from voting exercises. Polls where participants can see responses of others help with transparency of the process, but can also lead to group-think i.e. participants vote a certain way because they see others doing so.
- Consider deliberative methods to enable participants to make informed, and considered choices. These could include a combination of narrative building on the goals of the processes, open dialogue, and deliberative analysis anchored in a rules-based approach, a set of key design questions, and information or evidence on all sides of an issue. This could include consideration of advantages and disadvantages of commitments, or the focus or scope of specific commitments being considered; costs; who would be responsible for implementing commitments; and related contingencies or trade-offs involved in prioritizing, connected to a deliberative analysis group. The OGP Practice Group on Dialogue and Deliberation has produced guidance on designing public deliberation processes that can be found here. Further guidance and tools for applying in-person and online deliberation in OGP co-creation processes is forthcoming.
- Many OGP countries have used online platforms to prioritize ideas, including deliberative features. Some examples are the Ministry of Justice in Armenia which publishes draft legal acts which have voting, commenting and feedback features. Chile’s Citizen Consultation of 2019 is a large-scale, non-binding consultation that aims to gauge people’s opinions on various social topics. These topics impact both national and local levels of policy. Madrid’s Decide Madrid portal engages the public in Council decision-making and spending processes.
Online tools for prioritization
- Tools or platforms that allow online voting, ranking or polling: this includes social media polls or free online surveys or polling tools, or more sophisticated online platforms that are open source like Consul.
- Argument visualization tools that help visualize the logic of arguments, organize and navigate complex information and facilitate the process of prioritization, or online whiteboards.
- MySociety’s curated list of digital tools is great for seeing different tools and platforms you can use at all stages of a deliberative process.
- The low tech option of mobile surveys, teleconferencing, sending questionnaire forms on MS-Word or similar programs that can be filled out without needing uninterrupted connection to the internet. These require a plan for synthesis and analysis for processing contributions.