I recently had the opportunity to connect with Ricard Espelt to learn more about the various projects he’s working on in Spain leveraging new technologies for public engagement, government transparency and community building.  Learn more in the interview below.

In Richard’s words:

“I am a lucky man, and basically because I do not dare make mistakes, so correct. Even drafting of this writing, is manipulated to criticism and change. Perhaps one of the things that is m’incomoda not suffer the discomfort of change. The experimentalist spirit and desire to meet new experiences and new friends I can always enjoy. The only problem is the inability to catch everything.

Now I’m a councilman in Copons, where I live for seven years, a very pretty village of Alta Anoia. Councilman and Economic Development of New Technologies and Communication. I also vice president of the Consortium for the Economic Development of the Alta Anoia, we are working on the issue of new technologies, especially GPS routes.

I have a study of communication & web design, called Redall. With two friends Gemma Urgell and Jordi Mas.”

What are the various projects you’re working on now?

Copons 2.0: When I became a councillor I put into motion a project of digital inclusion and citizen participation using free web tools: Copons 2.0. It was one year before we could see benefits, problems, results… We’ve progressed by trial & error and now we are engaged in more projects like ours in villages near Copons. copòns.net

La Teva Alta Anoia: The main objective is to create a new web portal of Alta Anoia, through which an innovative way to serve as a benchmark for tourism promotion as a tool of identity and cohesion of a country and a brand: Alta Anoia.

How did your work getting the local council online get started?  What’s been the reaction of your community?

Copons 2.0: approach to consensus decision making
What’s the idea?

Really, it’s easy. We proposed a new path to take decisions. Until now, when a citizen had a problem they went to the Council to explain it or filled out a form. Only sometimes the citizen received an answer and a lot of times it was difficult to solve the problem. Now when somebody wants to solve a problem, they have a new way: publish their problem on Facebook. More citizens can get involved to give their opinion, and of course, the council too.

What are benefits?

Not just seven people at the council give solutions. Everybody can participate in solving a problem. Sometimes, citizens who have had the same problem in the past give their opinion and this is fantastic! Another benefit for the councilis to have a space to propose projects for the future, and see the opinion of the citizens.

The premises of the project:

– Everybody can participate with their digital profile -anonymity is not allowed – Everybody can start a discousion to solve a problem – The Council must alwaysgive an answer – Work to involve maximum of citizens in a digital space – Offer training sessions to avoid the digital divide – Share the project with other villages to increase open government

Results & lessons learned

– More digital profiles in the vilage – More ICT in the village – More dialog – More knowledge about the limits of local administration – More who is who wants to help and who is who wants to put obstacles – More analogic dabate – More knowledge about the real problems of citizens – More long tail of problems – More people involved in a specific search for solving problems – More accountability – More transparency – More proximity – More co-creative (administration-citizens) solutions – More feedback & demands.

Who or what topics have been more interesting in the TalkingAbout series?

A mosaic of experiences, stories and projects with Web 2.0 as a backdrop.

People follow people on Twitter, we have dozens of friends in Facebook, read many blogs, we take an idea about the people we admire, that surprises us, which enriches knowledge. Why not go one step further and stay with them? Why not talk face to face with people who pass through the network to be part of our day without having shared a conversation out loud.

This is why Gemma Urgell and I started talkingabout. Now, after a year interviewing different people and creating the platform, you can share your talkingabout topic and create, together, a mosaic of experiences, stories and projects with Web 2.0 as a backdrop.

Culture, politics, education, business, economy, cooperation, youth, journalism, the new values on different facets of Web 2.0 (share, distribute, create value, co-create, disseminate) are present thanks to people that extend and amplify this new way of understanding life and the relationships between people. You also have much to tell us about this paradigm shift and how to apply it in your day, and obviously also like to know or know someone who read a blog, or following on Twitter … therefore propose to you a # talkingabout here and share it with us. Passes from 2.0 to-face conversation and, through a short video that summarizes the meeting and share.

To learn more about Ricard’s work with government transparency and community building, connect with him directly at:

Interview: Ricard Espelt on Copons 2.0
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