SocialBoost — is a tech NGO that promotes open data and coordinates the activities of more than 1,000 IT-enthusiasts, biggest IT-companies and government bodies in Ukraine through hackathons for socially meaningful IT-projects, related to e-government, e-services, data visualization and open government data. SocialBoost has developed dozens of public services, interactive maps, websites for niche communities, as well as state projects such as data.gov.ua, ogp.gov.ua. SocialBoost builds the bridge between civic activists, government and IT-industry through technology. Main goal is to make government more open by crowdsourcing the creation of innovative public services by the help of civic society.
Key-instruments are hackathons, open government data and ICT applications.
Social Entrepreneurship Hackathon in 2014 is organized together with IDCEE. Best and biggest hackathons on Open data: 2012, 2013, 2014, — and niche ones like human trafficking or human security issues, or recent hackathon on IDP’s organized with USAID. With SocialBoost civic activists create applications on their own and are supported by government and/or CSO’s. Most of them are launched with almost zero budget. SocialBoost brings civic developments to the new level. With the help of IT-industry and negotiations with government it’s now possible for new greater projects to come to life: National Open Data Portal data.gov.ua, Open Government Partnership Portal (ogp.gov.ua) were crowdsourced, edumeter.com.ua, citytransport.com.ua, tvoemisto.org.ua, zloch.in.ua were crowdsourced as well. Government is now ready for innovative services that are negotiated, developed and incorporated by the government with the key-role of civic society in this initiatives. These small trial projects are best case practices and proven model that must be multiplied around the region. Some projects are related to current situation in Ukraine, like ReDonbass mapping website and mobile application to track damaged infrastructure at the east of Ukraine — produced by SocialBoost, supported by UNDP and State Agency for Donbass Reconstruction of Ukraine.
SocialBoost aims at supporting creation of Civic Startups, developing Volunteer Network, development of Open Government Data.
The project is aimed at territory of three countries: Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova. The project started in 2011 and still is in active stage. Existing and committed partners include, but aren’t limited to MTV EXIT, UNDP, IREX, the Hub, State Agency for Science Innovation and Informatization of Ukraine, Microsoft, Ciklum, Biggggidea, Center Civic.ua, Startup Ukraine, IT-tent Maidan, etc.
…the creation of tools created that address issues of the public concern
…with individuals who want to get involved in initiatives to develop ICT applications for wide civic engagement
…new relationships between IT experts and civic actors
…our stakeholders to get funds and supports for their online initiatives on social issues
…creation open data-sets and legal base for government within Open Government Data Portals
…new or adapted applications/technologies for civic engagement incorporated by corresponding government bodies
SocialBoost focuses on technological approach to implementing key principles of democracy. Changing the approach of civil society to civic monitoring, making more government data open and citizens creating a range of ICT applications that are incorporated by government is a the right way to transparency, openness and accountability. This approach gives a great segmentation of socially meaningful issues and lets civic activists and CSO’s to attach themselves to issues more specifically and directly, as civic society will have more access to government data and official decision makers. The project consists of three basic components:
We build a network of committed citizens with proved skill and commitment. We also address key-issues with responsive ICT-applications that will be developed by citizens and incorporated by government.
SocialBoost helps civic activists and CSO’s to engage with government through a hackathon-based development of socially meaningful ICT applications aimed at increased civic engagement and solving socially relevant problems. Based on open data these applications are aimed at data visualization and bringing civic monitoring to the next level. It’s a hackathon mechanics — civic actors, IT-professionals and government officials develop their projects over a weekend resulting in prototypes and MVP’s (minimum viable products) done in a competitive environment. Winning projects are eligible for seed funding. As hackathons involve three different groups: civic activists/CSO’s, IT-professionals and government officials, — unique value is created and negotiated, thus easily adopted afterwards by city halls and ministries in terms of Open Government Partnership Initiative and/or similar programs.
We develop and implement a learning cycle for key government institutions and launch a permanent consultancy hub for state officials.
As the number of engagements increases dramatically they form a network of civic hackers, CSO’s and interested peers in both national and local government. This is 21st century capacity building on a crowdsourced scale. SocialBoost helps CSO’s and government benefit from sharing the knowledge and expertise of IT-volunteers who are opinion leaders with the government. Civic activists and CSO’s become change agents driving numerous advisory/expert meetings, conferences and trainings that boost CSO’s and make government engage with citizens and thus become better from inside.
We create Open Government Data Portal and make data updates regular and regulated by corresponding law.
SocialBoost helps civic activists and CSO’s to have more data available via Open Data Portal that will be created by civic hackers and supported by government with regular data supply and available on demand and for free. This gives NGO’s and civic sector as well as IT-professionals to create data based applications using free API interface and get regular updates of available official government data-sets. On the other hand this open dialogue leads to a mechanism for forming request for specific data-sets to be unveiled by government.
SocialBoost operates as a mix of core team and network of supporters/members. The core team consists of 5 people. The network of supporters/member is over 1000 people across Ukraine. We operate at the office. In 2012/2013 we have organized 7 hackathons, launched over 10 ICT applications adopted by government, formed a network of people and supporters as well as partners. In Ukraine for example the regular hackathon gathers 100+ people, gets over 13,000 votes for apps online, 6,000+ people visit the website of the hackathon, we got 60+ unique articles, 1-2 radioshows and 1-2 TV programs covering the event. The services developed there become government public services and winners included in the civic council on eGovernment and Kyiv city hall depending on the content of their apps. Winners also got seed support from SocialBoost partner fund that usually cover seed funding for applications. SocialBoost worked with grants from UNDP and MTV EXIT, and marketing budgets of Microsoft and Cisco.
Here are some examples of apps that were developed at the event:
SB also started to work with Russia in terms of OGP and Ministry of Communication there — all about Open Data and apps that are built on it, we got a lot of positive experience from working there and now we develop SocialBoost as a regional initiative.