Welcome to Digital Luxembourg’s " What The Tech?!" series! As the tech landscape gets vaster and more advanced by the second, most sectors are turning towards tech solutions to provide 21st century services. Stay in the know this summer as we break it down for you tech-by-tech, and show you the Luxembourg innovators making technology happen.
This Week: CivicTech
From the moment we enter the world as screaming infants, we share at least one thing in common: the desire to be heard.
It means so much to us, in fact, that it became the heart of our modern, democratic society. Effective governance hinges on public opinion being voiced and heard. Traditionally, however, channels for exchanges between the government and its constituents were restricted to a few options: ballots, protests or town hall meetings.
Advancements in technology combined with a society hooked on constant communication and online civic engagement creates the perfect storm for civictech to arise.
Civictech is technology that affects the relationship between people and government. Its impacts range from improved methods of communication, boosted government transparency or new ways for populations to mobilize.
One example, the non-profit SeeClickFix app, lets individuals report neighborhood issues (broken streetlights, graffiti, etc.) directly to their municipal governments, improving the experience on both sides.
Similarly, but with a digital twist, Vosidee.lu is Luxembourg’s own civictech answer where individuals and businesses can voice their opinions on what digital processes the government should implement next. Many of these suggestions – such as a digital fishing license application – are adopted.
National platform MyGuichet has become the central point for administrative processes and form collection. The interactive, user-friendly portal improves the way in which individuals submit documents and public servants collect them.
As seen in all three of these cases, civictech benefits both parties: individuals are heard and governments can work more efficiently, removing the guesswork.
With smart cities on the horizon, we may see municipalities and smaller communities expand their integration of civictech.
Today, this new area of technology is already impacting how public land is bought and sold, helping first-responders better understand the citizens they serve, letting government representatives conduct micro-polls or transparently managing community assets.
Civictech, though still largely unexplored, has high-impact potential because it removes the middlemen between the people’s will and the government’s ears. For example, new civictech-based crowdsourcing platforms are funding the next generation of political leaders – a response to big money’s involvement in elections.
Democracies, run for the people by the people, rely almost entirely on communication between…people. Civictech is just another illustration of how technology and humanity can come together to build better societies.
You don’t have to reach far to see signs of change. Take a look at how technology is closing the gap between the public and public servants: