Realtimecongress

Short description

It was not obvious that Realtimecongress should be included as a top-10 app. The reason is that Sunlight Labs, that develped the app, provide so much data and supporting information that they could be considered as a “supporting initiative” as well. As there are many groups collecting data and not managing to use it, in any meaningful way, the apps that allow for real-time access to the US congress on multiple platforms (iPhone, Android and WP7) was judged to be better highlighted as an application with transformative potential.

It is however a little confusing as the names of the app for the different platforms are different and the features differ slightly.

More information about the Realtimecongress can be found here (iPhone) and here (Android) and here (WP7)

For those interested in transparency and innovative approaches the Sunlight foundations webpage is worth visiting, here.

http://sunlightfoundation.com/projects/


The “One” app is also worth mentioning as the interface is a lot more attractive and it encourage users to engage not only observe, but it is still feels like a beta and might be considered transformative if it becomes a little more sophisticated (right now it encourages scripted calls to be made and after weeks only 212 people have called, not bad if this was an independent project without any significant backing, but with the resources and existing network the limited scope and limited success in getting people to take actions would be interesting to explore further). More information can be fund here.


A combination of the two could be a great success and contribute to transformative change.

More information about the Realtimecongress can be found here (iPhone) and here (Android).

For those interested in transparency and innovative approaches the Sunlight foundations webpage is worth visiting, here.

The best with the app/supporting initiative

+ Focus on policy makers
+ Real-time information

The weak parts of the app/supporting initiative

- It only helps users to observe, not interact.
- It runs the risk of focusing only on one country, in this case the US.

What could accelerate this app/supporting initiative into a world changer?

> If someone could help build a global tracking systems so that people could follow issues and engage in processes when they are relevant to them. Not only by sending an email or pushing a button, but actually engage over time.
> Allow tracking policy makers over time and seeing if there are trends.
> Allow different groups/individuals to rate different policymakers in different areas. As a new user you can then see how different groups have rated different policy makers actions.

> Realtimecongress could get inspiration from the app “One”. “One” is also an app that increase political transparency, but the interface is a lot more attractive and it encourages users to engage not only observe. “One” still feels like a beta and might be considered transformative if it becomes a little more sophisticated (right now it encourages scripted calls to be made and after weeks only 212 people have called, not bad if this was an independent project without any significant backing, but with the resources and existing network the limited scope and limited success in getting people to take actions would be interesting to explore further). A combination of Realtimecongress and One would be interesting. More information about “One” can be fund here.

Delivery

How direct is the delivery of the result the app tries to achieve
  • Direct
  • Indirect
  • Inspirational
  • Long shot

Comments

The app helps users to get real-time information about the federal government in the US, but without links to possible action by the user.

Transformative approach

How transformative is it
  • A new world
  • A major shift
  • A bit of a shake-up
  • A gentle rocking

Comments

It is a first step for a mobile app, but much more is needed for it to deliver transformative change.

How much does it encourage collaborations

How much are new networks supported
  • Strong support for global networks?
  • Currently encourages new forms of collaboration
  • Provides interesting opportunities in the future
  • Restricted to a small (expert) group

Comments

The current version is not built for collaboration in networks and hopefully this will be changed in later updates/new apps. To encourage people to come together and engage in political change is one of the most important challenges in a society where few platforms exists for people that want to work together over time.

What synergies can be delivered

How well does it also solve other problems/generate solutions
  • It solves everything
  • Several important challenges
  • Some important challenges
  • Only one challenge

Comments

For most questions policymakers play a key role and we need to find new ways to develop our democratic systems so they keep up with the challenges of the 21st century.

Nine billion contribution

How global is it? Is it helping/will it help everyone on the planet
  • Instant global equality
  • Almost global
  • Getting (incrementally) global
  • Not applicable

Comments

Many countries, maybe US in particular, have a very nationalistic perspective in the media. This trend seems to grow at the same time as the world is getting increasingly integrated. Any initiative working with policymakers should encourage users to also think global.

Building on current trends

How well does it use current trends
  • The app is setting new trends by itself
  • Building on multiple trends
  • Effectively building on one trend
  • Not really building on any major trend

Comments

To get real-time information about what our policy makers are up to and to understand how the political system operates is important. Allowing this information to become mobile is a fundamental shift that can allow many more people to become involved.

Timeframe

How fast can it deliver
  • It's already happening
  • In the coming weeks
  • In a year or so
  • In a distant future (hopefully)

Comments

When it comes to political change it is important to understand that changes often take time, and policy processes often go on for a long time. So it is good that policy related apps do not pretend to deliver results fast.

Transparency

Does it support transformative transparency
  • Brave new transparency
  • Transparency that is innovative (never seen before)
  • Increased transparency, but nothing innovative
  • No increase in transparency

Comments

The fact that ordinary citizens can follow their policymakers in real-time could contribute to less room for the professional lobbyists that often focuses on short-term economic interests. Making it easier to track what policymakers deliver can increase accountability.

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