As election winners settle into office, focus shifts to promises made while on the campaign trail. The swearing in ceremonies are soon after followed by presser’s articulating bold rapid results initiatives often carried out in the proverbial first one hundred days.With investments having been made towards fact checking platforms, and the clear place of media, connectivity and the self-christened pundit, we are starting to see a clear agitation by the governed for a more inclusive process of administration.
In Nairobi for example, the hunt for the optimal tool of engagement with the freshly inaugurated gubernatorial duo was on for a few days, post the sharing of their 100 day plan. WhatsApp, Telegram and Facebook groups seemingly deficient for the job of curating and managing thoughts of the hundreds, possibly thousands over time who may want to engage on county discourse. Slack was fronted as the place for discourse and a public Trello board for the digital post-its that would mark the to do’s, the in progress and the done.
Trello is a pin board of sorts that allows for teams to collaborate on projects with visibility across all tasks and responsibilities assigned, in this case its one for Nairobi County. Slack belongs to the same productivity and utility class as Trello as it also has collaboration at its core. I suspect it is in conjoined use more for its communication capabilities, where unlike the three prior mentioned services, multiple conversations on varied topics can be carried simultaneously without “drowning out”.
A great and positive spirt drives these types of initiatives, but beyond the technology, that some may strongly argue is not inclusive – could it ever be, lies a greater set of challenges that bedevil even the most organized of groups and must be thought through thoroughly to avoid burn out, irrelevance, disenfranchisement or disappointment.
Process is key. Modus operandi must be clearly articulated, with every new contributor getting to know the lay of the land. Since we all have a tinge of self-importance, without this compass, those seeking to participate will start pulling in their own direction, angling for traction on their own ideas. Noise will not be too far behind with lots of bar type chatter but no single clear voice.
Ideas are not mutually exclusive but neither are personal networks or access to capital. As large groups of people, who are for the most part unfamiliar with each other, connected simply by the interwebs share ideas, it could be argued that it should be attributed to the commons. One problem though, the revenue potential of the outcomes. Who would own the outputs? Who would collaborate on the implementation? Who has the right to benefit up and above the baseline?
Growing and marshaling communities online for public good calls for string leadership and good grounding for any intended vision to hold.