Democracy is spread in Coventry using Jam
Coventry City Council and IT giant IBM have teamed up for the world’s first city-wide online public consultation.More than 2,000 posts from almost 900 residents were generated last week, as part of the CovJam online event.
Residents were encouraged to discuss a variety of topics, including how the city could attract investment, and improve the quality of life for people who live in the city.
The social media event used IBM’s Jam technology, and afterwards it was revealed that 51% of people who had signed into the forum posted a comment and 28% of participants who declared their age were over 50. On average, residents spent around two-and-a-half hours logged into the CovJam forum.
The online discussions were monitored and facilitated by staff from the council and IBM, together with representatives from local community groups. Popular subjects ranged from Coventry’s ring road to the need for green spaces for leisure. ‘Jam technology is a proven technique for drawing on the wisdom of crowds, and capturing their enthusiasm and ideas in a way that wouldn’t be possible through traditional forms of consultation,’ said IBM UK’s vice president for local government, Fraser Davidson.
Coventry City Council’s chief executive, Martin Reeves, said: ‘I was really impressed with some of the straightforward ideas that people would like us to implement over the next few years.
‘The Jam technology’s inclusive nature has really impressed us,’ added Mr Reeves. ‘It has empowered residents to become active citizens by giving them a means to voice their opinion, and has enabled the council to be more active listeners.
‘Ultimately, we can work together to find the best solutions to Coventry’s challenges.’
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