VisualGOB is an objective, visual and intuitive digital accountability tool that represents a breakthrough in the field of transparency. With it, it is possible to consult the government's progress almost in real time, and to follow the evolution of the 156 strategic objectives of the Aragon Government Plan. In addition, VisualGOB became a scorecard accessible to all.
Without transparency and citizen participation, there is no democracy. Although governments have advanced in making documents and data sets publicly available, without communicating them properly with the citizens transparency cannot be assured. Currently, the content that is uploaded by authorities in government portals are not easily understandable and, sometimes, leads to confusion. It is, therefore, necessary to bring these contents even closer to the citizens by using clear communication and graphic resources.
For this reason, the Government of Aragon developed Visual GOB, a tool to inform and follow up the achievement of the objectives stated in the Government Plan of the X legislature, those in the triple agenda (Social, Green and Digital), the seventeen SDGs towards 2030, and the ten objectives that belong to each Department of the executive. All the objectives are visualized with an intuitive design. The aforesaid information is published and disseminated in real time, accounting for each of the achievements and allows detailed monitoring of all government action as a balanced scorecard. To be more specific, VisualGOB allows the monitoring of each commitment, its implementation status, the responsible body, and the allocated budget. This tool is the evolution of a previous tool that offered a more traditional accountability approach.
It is relevant for us to advance towards clearer communication efforts that are not only transparent, but that improve participation in particular. To this end, it is required the use of simple language, to avoid loopholes and to promote a change in the communication culture/strategy. Visual GOB follows a rigorous methodology to gather evidence and showcase it. It aims to advance towards the right to ask the Government in terms of access and in the use of objective data to receive specific feedback from the public authorities.
What Makes Your Project Innovative?
VisualGOB is a new digital visualization system for the Government Plan, which combines the information of the objectives and actions planned by Aragon's Departments with novel methods of transversal visualization. In that way the commitments are quantifiable, traceable, and multidimensional, thus, creating a balanced and transparent scorecard that is foremost intuitive and user-friendly.
Collaborations & Partnerships
VisualGOB is an in-house project of the Government of Aragon, so it has only counted with the external collaboration of a graphic design company that made the interface of the tool.
Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries
VisualGOB empowers citizens by allowing them, at a glance, to know the degree of progress of the government's commitments and their detail in real time. It also facilitates the work of social entities, journalists and political groups by offering the possibility to follow and evaluate the government's work in an agile and direct way.
Results, Outcomes & Impacts
VisualGOB received 14 thousand visits during the first three months of operation. Currently the platform has more than 18 thousand visits, although the current objective is to work to extend its use by other sectors of society, with the possibility of doubling this impact.
Challenges and Failures
The biggest challenge of the project is to make the organization itself aware of the need of updating information on a regular basis and in real time. On the other hand, we face the challenge of making the tool better known by non-specialists non-technical users.
Conditions for Success
It is a project that does not require large investments, since it is a digital tool that only requires a layer of design and programming. Then, it is the public employees of the different departments themselves who update the progress in relation to the fulfillment of commitments. It is also important that the platform is widely used, that there is a response from users, and that the public officers find it useful for communicating their success.
The VisualGOB tool is fully operational and ready to be displayed in future legislatures. It is designed in open source, so it can be reused by other governments with the necessary readaptation. The initial financial investment (12,100 euros) has been minimal in relation to its outputs. The information is incorporated and validated internally, so new investments are unnecessary. In fact, we have already received requests to replicate the experience in other Autonomous Communities.
We highlight the power of working with highly motivated civil servants. The project only required a design layer, everything else was developed in-house by the employees themselves, so that the knowledge generated remains in the organization itself. In addition, VisualGOB makes it clear that it is possible to carry out an effective, simple and attractive accountability process.
- Implementation - making the innovation happen
- Evaluation - understanding whether the innovative initiative has delivered what was needed
15 November 2022