Connecting Grassroots to Government: A Wilson Center Workshop

The Woodrow Wilson Plaza located in the Federa...

The Woodrow Wilson Plaza located in the Federal Triangle area of Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Post by: Kim Stephens

This week the Commons Lab of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will be hosting a workshop titled: “Connecting Grassroots to Government for Disaster Management.” This event is being held in collaboration with the National Alliance for Public Safety GIS Foundation, the International Association for Information Systems for Crisis Response and ManagementESRITechChangeNetHope, and Project EPIC.  As the title suggests, the focus will be on how citizen or crowdsourced data generated from “diverse perspectives” can be effectively utilized by government response officials.  However, interestingly, the intended audience is federal officials. Their materials state:  

This roundtable will focus on US federal government’s opportunities and challenges for facilitating greater public engagement in the full-cycle of disaster management through social media, crowdsourcing methods, crisis mapping, and open innovation.

The Workshop Background Reading  material outlines the anticipated discussion framework. Specifically, they hope to address these questions:

  • Can citizens generate inputs to critical decisions? If so, with what kind of speed and what degree of accuracy?
  • What does the research show, and how are the best ideas being translated into practice?
  • How have agencies successfully navigated potential roadblocks to the use of citizen- generated information, such as privacy, procurement, or the Paperwork Reduction Act?
  • When and how is it possible to innovate through open and participatory design with citizens and communities?
The read-ahead material is quite a good resource in-and-of itself. The 13-page fully cited and sourced document provides information on the following topics:
  • Data efficiency and accuracy
  • Evaluation Frameworks (e.g. how do we understand volunteered information production)
  • Research Challenges
  • Legal and Policy Issues
    • Privacy and Confidentiality
    • Liability
    • Paperwork Reduction Act (and OMB Social Media Memo)
    • Intellectual Property
  • Models of Successful Collaboration
  • Current State of Technology and Future Development

You Can Participate

According to their event information page, even though the workshop is full,  the majority of the panel discussions will be available live via the Wilson Center webpages. They state:
People can also interact with the panelists by submitting comments and questions:

This looks like a really interesting event, and even though the focus if federal, my guess is that quite a lot of the information will translate to the local level. What will be your question for the panelist?

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2 responses to “Connecting Grassroots to Government: A Wilson Center Workshop

  1. Pingback: Connecting Grassroots to Government: A Wilson Center Workshop | #UASI

  2. Pingback: taking a moment to reflect | ryan burns – university of washington

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