30 May

Blog Post #01 – The Policy Compass Methodology

The Policy Compass methodology (reflected in detail in the submitted in April Policy Compass deliverable “D1.2: Policy Compass Methodology and High level user Requirements” – available in the “Deliverables” section of the project’s website) constitutes the first of the core parts of the whole Policy Compass idea and approach.
Policy Compass aims to follow a specific approach in order to cover the maximum set of end users’ needs and possible requests, in a user friendly and comprehensible way. In the following lines the complete process behind the use of Policy Compass is described summarily, without though excluding any of the important parts.
The overall Policy Compass methodology is built around 3 interrelated pillars depicted in the following figure and described below:

Policy Compass Methodology Pillars

Figure 1: Policy Compass Methodology Pillars

  1. Evaluating Performance of Policies (EPP): Motivated by their desire to actually check/verify that a specific policy action, policy directive law etc. has either actually achieved, or failed to achieve the initially met targets and KPIs (or simply aiming to verify that what politicians and public servants claim as actual results), citizens seek for data confirming the understanding they have. Seeking for relevant data and metrics is the first logical step, while casual models that would verify their assumptions in a more scientific way is an even better scenario. In the same time, making connections between facts and specific actions in a visualised manner is more vivid and user friendly than simple text and mathematics. Thus, besides giving the user the ability to engage himself/herself in a formal and scientific procedure, Policy Compass will also offer visualisation capabilities. And, having achieved the initial idea, sharing the findings with the community is the final step of the process; Policy Compass will also support disseminating the results of the procedure through popular social channels.
  2. Building Causal Policy Models (BCPM): Relevant to the previous step, a more advanced user might not be satisfied with simply utilising existing casual and simulation models to verify and/or explain his/her findings. Having collected the necessary data, a user with the relevant background can build a new (or ameliorate an existing) casual model. Turning this model in a more user friendly and easily comprehensible form, i.e. a Fuzzy Cognitive Map, can act as a catalyst for better verification and understanding of the newly developed model. Running simulation through the aforementioned model, in order for example to predict future impacts, is the next logical step, also supported by Policy Compass. And, similar to the previous step, disseminating the findings is also wished for and supported.
  3. Online Deliberation And Argument Mapping (ODAM): Online deliberation can act as a catalyst both a priori and a posteriori of the two previous steps; online discussions can offer valuable input to anyone looking for data relevant to his/her interests (a priori offering) while, in the same time, interlocutors can be engaged for discussing, criticising and verifying the resulting findings. However, non-structured deliberation is not always of actual value. A way to structure new or even existing deliberations should be offered, in order to facilitate easy and effective navigation through the discussions and conclusions’ extraction. This is what Policy Compass will offer through online argument mapping.

The Policy Compass methodology is not strictly structured and static; on the contrary, it constitutes a highly dynamic approach, letting the user follow parts of the integrated workflow in the order he/she wishes. The integrated approach can be found in the following figure:

Interrelations between Policy Compass Main Components

Figure 2: Interrelations between Policy Compass Main Components

 

11 May

Participation in the EGOV/EPART 2014 Conference

EGOV ConferenceThe annual international IFIP Electronic Government (EGOV) conference is the European core conference in the domain of ICT in the public sector. Together with IFIP ePart, the sibling conference on electronic participation, and frequently affiliated workshops on emerging topics, the IFIP EGOV 2014 conference, that will take place at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland between the 1st and 4th of September 2014 is expected to attract many participants from various domains of interest.
Taking advantage of this excellent scientific publication and dissemination opportunity, Policy Compass will present a scientific paper entitled “Fusing Open Public Data, Prosperity Indexes, Fuzzy Cognitive Maps and Argumentation Technology for more factual, evidence-based and accountable policy analysis and evaluation”, presenting the overall Policy Compass notion and approach.
Exchange of ideas and knowledge and possible synergies amongst related projects and initiatives will also be sought by NTUA that will be representing the Policy Compass consortium.