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Three days of technology at the service of citizens: WeGovNow labs in San DonĂ 



“New technologies can improve the collaboration between citizens and public administrations” – these were the words Andrea Cereser, mayor of the WeGovNow pilot site San Donà di Piave, used to initiate another important WeGovNow event in his city. From 14-16 February, the Venetian City hosted a three-day event, organised by the WeGovNow project consortium, that sought to deliver individualised hands-on experience with the platform for relevant stakeholders involved in the local use case scenarios, and the collection of feedback respectively. Further, following the ‘train the trainer’ approach, these WeGovNow labs have been designed to enable municipal staff, citizens and other local civil society stakeholders to be confident in navigating colleagues and fellow actors through the WeGovNow engagement platform.

In San Donà di Piave, each day of the WeGovNow labs targeted different stakeholder groupings. The first day has been dedicated to employees of the municipality, who represent the public administration side of the new citizen-government dialogue WeGovNow aims to initiate. After being guided through a detailed presentation of the single functionalities of the platform by the respective component developers, the lab moved on to practical exercises allowing participants to get to the heart of the matter.


                                  Andrea Cereser, Mayor of San Donà di Piave

The session on the second day, held at the community centre of Don Bosco, attracted a range of local NGOs who followed the introduction and life demonstration of the WeGovNow platform by Claudio Schifanella, representative of project partner University of Turin and enthusiastically participated in the subsequent Q&A session with the component owners. Beyond raising questions on general platform usage and technical accessibility, the inquiring audience was impressed by the potentials of civic collaboration offered by the WeGovNow engagement platform. On the last day, again in a different organisational context, the Commercial and Technical Institute L. B. Alberti has seen more than 80 students caught by the innovate aspects offered by the WeGovNow platform. Several exercise sessions guided by representatives of the developer team inspired the young students, whose positive feedback has stuck the project consortium.

The overall impression resulting from these labs and the discussions held with various local stakeholders has been a general belief that WeGovNow ensures a responsible use of technology while providing a unique online platform satisfying specific needs of citizens, but also allowing for an improved relationship and sense of community among them and with their local public administration.