Civic technology, more than ever, will be at the heart of democracy and effective government


Civic technology, often called CivicTech, is usually defined as technologies to enable constructive engagement between citizens and government. However I frame it more broadly as technologies that help us create a better society.

I think the distinction is important, as even in these times of enlarged government roles, I believe the future does not lie in an artificial separation between government and citizens, but rather in government as an enabler for people to efficiently, compassionately, collectively create a better society.

For now, with social distancing likely to be part of the landscape for the foreseeable future, technologies for citizen engagement, over and above simple digital service delivery, are critical.

Moreover, if we consider the opportunities from this extraordinary crisis, perhaps the biggest one is to enhance or rebuild democracy, which I think most people would agree is broken in many countries around the world today.

Given my belief in the power in potential of CivicTech, I am proud to be a non-executive director of The Centre for Civic Innovation, founded by Amelia Loye, which supports citizens in bringing their ideas and energy to creating better communities and societies.

The Centre for Civic Innovation recently ran a compact virtual event CivicTech: Tech for Social Impact, featuring experts from World Bank, mySociety, and many of Australia’s leading CivicTech organizations, which I was honored to host.

Fabulous insights emerged from the event on the state of CivicTech globally, and what is required to make CivicTech impactful, effective, and sustainable.

Click on the image to see all the resources created from the event, including a full video of the event and video excerpts of all the featured speakers.

I will be writing more here about the vital role of civic technologies in shaping our future, as CivicTech is absolutely central to the massive opportunity for this pandemic to lead to positive shifts in society.