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The European Hub for Civic Engagement (Hub) presented four prototypes at the meet-up ‘Open Spaces! How Tech can Empower Civil Society’. These four prototypes were created based on direct input from civil society actors at discussion-rich Hub workshops in Gdansk and Lisbon. Using this content, four teams made up of programmers and designers were formed to work on the following prototypes at our Hackathon in Tallinn.
The core function of the community prototype is the ‘digital bonfire’. This engaging tool allows users to gather around interactive ‘bonfires’ that represent an issue or topic in order to collectively brainstorm, discuss, provide support to one another, in addition to networking. The community prototype can ensure that the platform users are able to interact and collaborate on pivotal issues that civil society faces, no matter where they are in Europe.
The ideas prototype set out to address the problem: how can ideas at different stages grow into an impactful project? Certain ideas are simply a spark, while others have already developed into a glowing ember. The idea prototype has the main goal of providing feedback from other users, to successfully develop ideas into a sustainable project.
The funding prototype aims to make funding more accessible to a wider range of civic actors. This is done by matching donors with funding applicants, in a way that also empowers the individuals and organisations who are applying for funding. Through this process, the prototype also ensures that the funding landscape is more transparent.
Many tools that can support civil society already do exist. The resource prototype is structured to ensure that more organisations can benefit from open-source solutions or relevante know-how. This prototype makes sure that actors do not have to reinvent the wheel and fosters a spirit of collaboration. Additionally, the quality of the resources are verified through interactive feedback functions.
The prototype development process taught us that the four challenges all had a shared underlying need: matchmaking. The community, ideas, funding and resources are already out there. What is needed is a network that can match these actors, which can then empower European civil society. As we develop these and other prototypes further, at the core will be interactive digital methods that match essential functions of European civil society.