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Taking the OGP Co-Creation Process Online

Cómo Llevar el Proceso de Cocreación de OGP a un Espacio Virtual

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The Covid-19 crisis has caused disruptions to OGP co-creation processes in a majority of countries. Governments, civil society and other stakeholders are looking for ways to keep dialogue and collaboration on open government going as they grapple with ‘social distancing’ and other safety measures that require rethinking of some of the conventional spaces and formats used for co-creation processes.

Civic participation is a core component of open government, and an essential element of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) national and local action plan cycles. All OGP members commit to developing their national or local plans through a multi stakeholder process, with the active engagement of citizens and civil society.

The OGP Participation and Co-creation Standards set forth basic expectations (the minimum of what is expected of a national OGP process) and a more ambitious standard that countries should strive to meet.OGP uses the International Association for Public Participation’s (IAP2) spectrum which progresses from inform through consult, involve, collaborate and finally empower in terms of levels of public participation, as a guide for the levels of engagement in developing an OGP action plan. The standards recommend a combination of online and in-person engagement throughout the OGP cycle. While the level of public participation desired at different moments in the co-creation cycle can vary, members are expected to improve the quality of the overall OGP process in each cycle, complying with more of the advanced steps outlined in the Participation and Co-creation Standards and on the IAP2 Spectrum.

Recognizing that many OGP countries are considering ways in which parts of their co-creation process can be continued online in light of the Covid-19 disruptions, the OGP Support Unit has compiled the following:

  • This guide which provides countries seeking to continue part or all of their co-creation online process with some practical tips, a curated list of online tools and platforms, and country examples. 

There are many things to consider in getting online engagement right: power dynamics, using the right methods and tools for the right purposes, clear communication and follow up, consideration of the needs of different audiences, the type and specificity of issues for which online engagement is used, and issues of access and inclusion to name a few. It is also important to consider security and privacy implications of online engagement tools and platforms as these vary. Users should adjust privacy, security and access policies and settings as needed. It is important to be clear and transparent about who owns what data, data retention, storage, and use policies. (Some good resources on this are included in the online tools and platforms section of this guide.) Similarly, for any online space, it is imperative for the administrators, hosts or organizers to ensure that these spaces are inclusive and free from online harassment.

There is no blueprint available for getting online engagement right – what works in one context or setting may not in another. Some issues are more appropriate to address through in-person convenings and therefore might be better tackled when such engagement is possible. Online engagement may also not work for all audiences.Our experience shows that smart combinations of the two – in-person and online, both grounded in principles of good engagement – deliver the best results.

This guide, which is part of OGP’s Open Response + Open Recovery campaign, aims to provide easy access to guidance, tools and resources on what might be useful or adaptable in a particular context to continue the OGP co-creation process and open government dialogue online. It draws from the expertise and experience of many OGP partners, and the lessons learned in OGP. The guide is by no means comprehensive but is hopefully a useful starting point which we plan to update periodically as new resources, experiences and insights from the OGP co-creation process and beyond come to light.

Ultimately, the approach and methods to be used in each context need to be tailored. If you would like to get tailored assistance, please contact your Support Unit point of contact who can help connect you to relevant partners and practitioners.

Who is this guide for?

The guide is for governments and civil society actors involved in OGP co-creation processes who are either looking for help in getting started with online co-creation, seeking to improve their current online co-creation practices at specific stages of the co-creation cycle, or seeing examples of what others are doing in this area. It can be applied for designing or convening the overall OGP co-creation process, or co-creating on specific thematic areas. It can also be a useful resource for any practitioner looking for guidance or ideas to get started on or improve online engagement, beyond OGP co-creation processes.

Note that many of the guiding principles provided in the modules also apply to in-person engagement, so the guide also serves as a reminder of these principles even for those who are not considering major changes to their OGP co-creation processes at this time.

How to use this guide?

  • Understand the basics of getting started. See Questions to Consider Before Taking Your Co-creation Process Online for things to ask yourself as you are getting ready to start online co-creation. This module aims to help you determine what you want to get out of online engagement and clarify different stages of the co-creation cycle for which you can use online engagement.
  • Understand when to use (online) engagement for the different stages of co-creation, some principles to remember at each stage, a summary of the types of tools, approaches or platforms that can be used – from low-tech options to more advanced platforms. This includes:
  • Learn how to plan for and manage virtual meetings at any stage of co-creation, including OGP multi-stakeholder forums (MSF).
  • Find some of the most commonly used online tools and platforms that can be used in different stages of co-creation, including platforms to host online meetings. This includes information on suggested uses, participant limits, whether the tool or platform is free or paid, and whether or not it is open source.
  • Find examples on how countries and local governments are using online engagement either for co-creating their action plans or other participatory democracy initiatives. You can also find further guidance, if you would like to delve deeper into the world of online participation.
  • If you are specifically looking for ideas for commitments to improve public participation and deliberation, particularly for response and recovery measures for COVID-19, please consult the Open Government Guide module on protecting participation and deliberation.

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