VocalEyes, Facilitator: Peter Anderson July 5, 2018

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VocalEyes is a digital platform to turn ideas into action. A hub for community organizing, community members can gather, suggest new ideas for projects or policy, prioritize and debate them. By providing a centralized location for community participation at every age and level, VocalEyes works to decrease the democratic deficit and reinvigorate and connect communities to policy decisions that affect them.

The world is seeing a shift in how politics is operating. Citizens are eager for more participatory methods and to ensure their voice is heard. VocalEyes is there to help amplify and organize those voices into a clear message or project.

Having reached more than 5,000 suggested ideas and 500 tangible outcomes, VocalEyes is ready to explore different models to scale to a wider audience and build a network of practitioners all oriented around the same goal: making participatory democracy and community organizing a global phenomenon.

The focus of this LabStorm was to help VocalEyes consider different models to encourage growth but remain dedicated to supporting a movement for authentic grassroots democracy.

  • Harness the power of the community. A wide range of platforms exist that contribute to the role of participatory democracy and feedback. Is there an opportunity for large platforms like Twitter, Facebook, or a new social network for good to be a partner? If social networking platforms aren’t ready to lend their voice, perhaps returning to more traditional community spaces is the answer. LabStorm attendees suggested connecting with networks of civic or small cities first in order to cultivate a critical mass where larger partners would follow.
  • Play to your strengths. VocalEyes has a lot of powerful engagement tools. In the development of their scalable business model, it may make sense to highlight those tools to would-be candidates or local governments who would be interested in hearing about what their constituents care about. LabStorm attendees did caution that it would be important to remain mission focused and ensure that actual change could occur in a partnership such as this.
  • Go back to school. This labstorm really highlighted the importance of engaging parties whose voices are underrepresented elsewhere. We’ve seen that youth are eager to have their opinions heard on a global scale, so where better to start than schools? LabStorm attendees encouraged the continued partnerships with schools and suggested an expansion in order to build out a strong proof of context.

We had so much fun with this conversation and thinking through these challenges. Do you have experiences with scaling grassroot efforts? Thoughts on how to best build a network that can remain authentic to its mission? Let us know in the comments or email us at [email protected].

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