Finally, we get the good news from Asikkala. The municipality made a decision to use our concept - a model for participation. It means, our project in Demola succeeds. The other partners in my group consider to develop it further.
At this point, I need to focus on my thesis. I will finish in 1 month. The progress comes really slowly because I don't have the right pace yet. All of blog entries about this SILTA project is available in the link:
I uploaded my presentation in the final pitch for Demola Tampere. In fact, I tried to practise to speak up in front of public audience, as the preparation for my thesis defence.
The final pitch - our magic recipe to openness and donuts for Demola audience
Finally that day came – the final pitch for Demola Autumn Season 2014. This time I represented my group in the pitch. Although our topic relates to municipal policy and academic researches about public participation, we want to deliver a clear message, but easy to understand for general audience. My pitch went fluently with some mumblings in between, because I had my own fear for public speech. While our final product opens the door to better communication in a medium-sized town, I must take this chance to cross my border and make my own voice be heard. For anyone who missed our final pitch, the script is mentioned below.
“I rarely speak up in front of audience like today, so I feel nervous. Do you have the same feeling of being afraid to speak up your opinions in public discussion? That’s why we are here to tell you about our story. We are from the group “Influence from grassroot level in Asikkala”.
Every year there are many difficult decisions and problems brought to the table in the town, for example the budgeting plan, the public service, the health-care policy and further on. The towns need to know people's opinions and people want a transparent decision-making process. There are already different available tools out there. But how to use them properly and efficiently is not clear.
We need a way to inform people and get them to participate. We also need a flexible method that fits everyone. However, to solve this complex topic - participation - we don't simply design a website, an application on smartphone or an offline service. If you want to bake a good cake, you need to follow the recipe step by step. The same goes for better participation processes.
That is why we present you Silta - a method for participation. The first step is to inform people about the theme and time table of the project. This is how the residents know what’s coming up. The second step is to meet the people face-to-face and get them interested. For example have coffee together. The third step is to gather the opinions and thoughts by using different tools: Pad-survey, map-based enquiries or interviews. This is how we gather a lot of opinions and make different voices to be heard.The fourth step is the feedback. The town informs the people on the results. It also tells people how the opinions have affected and what is going to happen next.
And now you’re thinking - we have a good method but how to apply it to the town?
We combine the four-step method, instructions for the municipality officials and an online platform for public conversations in a whole package. This is our product.
For the municipality: they just follow our instruction step by step. It is clear for them and easy to use. We organize the right tools in the right phases.
For the people, you can follow all the conversation in the website or by stopping by to the town hall. All the information is available for you. The juicy part of website is the simple button, that you can click and submit directly your idea to the town.
At any time, you have the choice to RAISE YOUR VOICE and GIVE YOUR OPINIONS.
We make decision-making a visible process that you can attend easily.
With Silta you don’t get just a separate tool but a comprehensive package.
With Silta we get:
INTERACTION between people
Openess is like a delicious cake. You need good ingredients and a recipe to make a good cake. Silta is our magic recipe to openness. We believe that with Silta Asikkala can bake the best cake in the world.
Feel free to come try our cake and give us your comment.”
If you missed our final pitch, you also missed our delicious ‘openness’ donuts in Demola. We used the metaphor of ‘a baking recipe’ to clarify our final package – a combination of a method, the instruction for officials and the online platform for public conversation. We wanted to open new opportunities for the transparent decision-making process and the mutual connection between people and the officials. If donuts could break the heavy ice of a serious topic related to public sector, Silta can also be the magic recipe for a delicious ‘participation’ cake in Asikkala.
We are heading to the final meeting with Asikkala municipality and our final delivery of Silta. The officials already gave enthusiastic feedbacks to our previous reports, that they considered to apply this participation method to real cases in Asikkala soon.