LabHacker

LabHacker is a space within the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies open to citizen participation and experimentation. It works with a network of citizens, lawmakers and public employees in projects that enhance transparency and participation. One of the main projects is an open source website - e-Democracia - that enables citizens to suggest amendments to bills and to participate in public hearings.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

LabHacker is a laboratory for innovation within the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies open to citizen participation. One of its main goals is to work with a network of Citizens, Lawmakers and the Public sector, in projects that enhance transparency and participation. (http://labhackercd.net/) LabHacker was created in 2013, following the positive experience of the first Hackathon of the Chamber of Deputies. During this event, Hackers developed civic apps and gave invaluable feedback on the Chamber of Deputies’ open database. Hackers proposed then a permanent space to experimentation and continuous collaboration within the Chamber. Two months later, LabHacker was created.

Since its inception, LabHacker has been an open space and has held several events that brought together specialists, hackers, students, politicians and public employees to discuss new technologies and new ways of promoting participation and transparency. All events are broadcast live on youtube and open to online participation. We have been developing technologies concerning popular participation and transparency.

Our main project is the e-Democracia web portal (https://edemocracia.camara.leg.br/) that offers several tools, like “Wikilegis” and “Audiencias Publicas” The “Wikilegis” tool enables citizens to suggest amendments to any portion of a Bill. Users can like or dislike the suggestions of each other or simply support the original version. This way, we intend to offer the rapporteur interesting ideas that can help improve the Bill. The “Audiências Públicas” tool enables participation in public hearings in real time. Citizens can watch the hearing, interact with other users and send questions to lawmakers and guest speakers. Any logged-in user can vote on the questions sent by other users. The most voted questions rank first and will have the preference to be answered by lawmakers or guest speakers, in case there are too many questions.

To develop this new version of the e-Democracia webportal, and its tools, we have made several usability tests. Civil servants and regular citizens have participated in those tests and made decisive contributions to the web portal. We have devised a new version that features a responsive Web design so users can access it on their cell phones and tablets. We have been making technological improvements on one front. We strive to collaborate with other units so to see all those possibilities of participation really implemented. We are co-creating with those units a participatory culture in the Chamber.

Feedback from users on one end and civil servants on another can help us engage lawmakers in increasingly using these tools. We have been gradually integrating the e-Democracia webportal with the Chamber’s main website. When citizens look for information on the committees’ work, they can find icons indicating the possibility of participation on a public hearing or session. We are also working on a new tool called Tenho dito (“I have said”). This is intended to be an improvement of an earlier concept  where bubbles showed the most discussed topics. The bigger the size of the bubble, more discussed was the topic.

However, “Tenho dito” now shows a map where you can see which topic is being most discussed by lawmakers of an specific state. And, additionally, you can have a far better understanding of all the topics that concern the lawmaker, through a comparison between his speeches and propositions. (http://tenhodito.labhackercd.net/)

Innovation Description

Innovation Development

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Year: 2014
Level of government: National/Federal government

Status:

  • Implementation - making the innovation happen

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