Why aren’t there more techpolitic attempts in Scandinavia? Why isn’t there a Sunlight Foundation in Denmark, a MySociety in Sweden, a FarmSubsidy in Norway? (This blog post was also posted at Personal Democracy Forum’s European blog)
That’s something I’ve been wondering about, since the Scandinavian countries have among the highest internet usage in the world (in Finland, it will even become a legal right to have a one megabit broadband connection), high degree of openness in politics (ex, all municipalities and ministries in Norway have electronic mail journals that are available for the public. Margot Wallström, the Swedish Vice President in the European Commission, has a similar service, mail register) as well as populations with fairly high educational levels. In addition, we also know that social networks, such as Facebook, are extremely popular.
Some would argue that the more open a country’s own government and political culture is, the less likely you are to see bottom up efforts like MySociety or Sunlight. Is the distance between power-holders and the people so short and the possibilities for influence so many that we don’t need tools like TheyWorkForYou? I doubt so. Are the techpolitics enviroments in these countries too tiny to foster the kind of political digital innovations we’ve seen in the UK and the US? Maybe. We could also blame lack of good funding possibilities (except from the government), since we have few independent foundations similar to Sunlight.
We do see lots of examples of online communication between elected officials and the public, but not that many collaborative (problem solving) projects. However, there are some attempts, and we’ve gathered the most interesting cases for you. If you know of any other Scandinavian or Nordic political collaborative projects, let us know in the comment section.
Transparency/public data – efforts to make public data accessible to all on the Internet; free, searchable, clickable.
- Digitaliser.dk (Denmark) – overview of public data resources in Denmark. The purpose is the encourage the use of public data in new ways. Similar to data.gov.
- Opengov.se (Sweden) – overview of public data resources in Sweden. The goal is to highlight the benefits of open access to government data and explain how this is done in practice. Similar to data.gov.
Collaboration/ political ideas – tools to make it easier to cooperate and solve political problems.
- Ideoffensiv.dk (Denmark) – portal for political ideas in Skanderborg municipality. People can present ideas, discuss them, vote, and follow how the municipality is dealing with the political ideas from the public.
- GataMi -Tromsø municipality (Norway) – report a problem in your neighbourhood, ex a pothol or a broken street light. Similar to FixMyStreet.
- Malmøinitiativet (Sweden) – portal for political ideas in Malmö municipality. Suggest a political idea, and get support from you idea from the local community.
- Yr.no (Norway) – weather data presented in a user-friendly way, based on public data. Project developed by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute and the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation.
- Hendelseskart (Norway) – political event map from the local newspaper Asker og Bærum Budstikka. Political events from the past 3 months are marked on the map (in addition to crime, accidents, fires).
- Maktbasen (Norway) – the “Power database”, a mashup with data on national and local politicians, their economic interests as well as their voting records.
- Fakta først (Norway) – blog and reasearch project about public data.
- HvemStemmerHvad (Denmark) – overview of Danish national politicians’ voting record as well as their absence, starting from 2001.
- Folkets Ting (Denmark) – debate, comment or vote on current law proposals or political speaches.
- Riksdagsmonitor (Sweden) – monitor Swedish national politicians’ voting record and absence.
- Bliv Hørt (Denmark) – digital hearing in the Copenhagen municipality (thanks to HvemStemmerHva for the link)
- Ungdomskriminalistet (Denmark) – ideas for how to reduce youth crime in (suggest ideas, discuss, vote) Denmark, started by the political party Venstre (the Liberals) (thanks to HvemStemmerHva for the link)
- Danmarksdebatten (Denmark – dead?) – digital dialog platform for municipalities and citizens, initiated by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (thanks to Rasmus Kleis Nielsen for the link)
New ways of communicating between politicians and citizens – blogs written by elected officials and bureacrates.
- Bærumbeta (Norway) – blog about communication policy in Bærum municipality.
- Ordførerbloggen (Norway) – the mayor’s blog in Kongsvinger municipality.
- BetaTrondheim (Norway) – blog about web 2.0 possilities and challenges in Trondheim municipality.
- Departementene og sosiale medier (Norway) – blog about how to utilize social networks and web 2.o tools in a ministry.
- Origo.no (Norway) – online community and publishing tool used by 1067 politicians (all the names are confirmed) in Norway. The Norwegian Labour party has developed their own community, MyLabourParty, on the site. (Disclaimer, the writer works as a communication advisor for Origo)
Do you know any other example? Help us update this list in the comment section! (I’m updating as people suggest more links, and add attributes in parathesis).