Our experience over the last few years on using technology to create feedback loops has brought us many insights. We’ve presented our insights at several conferences and want to share them with everybody.
We start with explaining a ten mile high picture of how community driven data collection needs to feed into institutional systems run by government agencies or other service providers, who need to act upon the community demands. We then show how at almost every link the system is broken. This essentially gives us a laundry list of things we need to set right.
Technology can really play only a small role in this. We’ve worked on several aspects, highlighted in green/yellow/red in decreasing order of success, but the critical point here is the need for institutional linkages to make the system work effectively. Other than using our technology platforms to create community awareness and engagement, the open questions in front of us right now are:
– Whether the systems should work purely as tech interventions, helping mass media collect citizen inputs or the government agencies to collect internal and external performance metrics
– Or, the systems should work external to institutional systems as an independent media itself, in a pressure building method
– Or, it should be tied closely with institutional systems. We are most inclined towards this aspect because we feel that institutional systems are currently lacking in their capability to use data or engage with the community, and therefore external pressure or tech interventions will not be successful at scale unless the capacity of the institutions themselves are built