2015 has been a very special year for all of us, working in the Instituto Cidade Democrática – ICD (Democratic City Institute) team, and here I want to tell a little of what we have done, our repositioning as Think and Do Tank and our new visual identity.
Since last year we have matured a move that just now is consolidated, when ICD, completes seven years and stands as a social participation independent Brazilian Think and Do Tank.
What does it mean
We focus on the arduous, but also fun, task of raising and analyzing data and producing and sharing knowledge to leverage the power of civil society.
We will promote this transformation, as we have been doing, using networking mapping analysis tools and a social technology (licensed as free knowledge) of Concursos de Ideias (Ideas Contests).
We strengthened our belief in the influence of ordinary citizens in decision-making on public issues as a fundamental pillar for the strengthening of democracy in the country.
What kind of think and do tank we are
We are independent, we come from civil society, we are a non-for-profit and have no ideological identification. We are small and specialize in social participation, seeking the growing of our political influence in the field.
Our arguments come from applied researches and consulting, where we learn from collective intelligence across distributed networks. Our values are democracy and social participation, as driving forces behind the transformation of reality.
In the long run, we want a democracy with a Brazilian DNA, to respond, on the one hand, to the immense opportunities offered by the web and, on the other hand, make sense out of the great energy and willingness to participate of the Brazilian people, to build a country with equal opportunities, environmental sustainability and social justice.
To this end, our goal os to be able to measure the progress of the social participation ecosystem in effective engagement of 2 million Brazilians (1% of the population) in activities that have the purpose to influence decision-making on public issues.
What is social participation for us
The desired social participation is one that can create and dissolve spaces infinitely when necessary, printing the dynamics and life that society has, and distributing – instead of creating or institutionalizing – power spaces. Social participation refers to processes where citizens participate in decision-making on public issues.
From the perspective of a social participation ecosystem, we believe in the interaction of the wide range of initiatives, organizations, collectives, ideas, actions and technologies to promote synergies, seeking the common good as ethical premise and stimulating citizen engagement and civic entrepreneurship.
In 2014, we mobilized 354 people to jointly build the Social Participation Ecosystem Manifesto that reflects how we see this playing field.
What we understand as result
Implementation of civil society proposals through:
• strengthening the social tissue
• direct and peaceful political action (task forces etc.)
• Investment os public resources
• public policies
How we do it
On the left side our brain, the ‘Think’, we conduct researches to raise and analyze data and produce and share knowledge about our field. Some examples are:
• Social Participation Ecosystem Mapping
• Common Vocabulary of Social Participation
On the right side of our thinking box, the ‘Do’, we hold open innovation challenges, using social a technology of Ideas Contests to foster collaboration between society and government and a culture for democratic participation. Some examples are:
• Webcidadania Xingu – held in 11 municipalities in the area of influence of the Belo Monte dam construction site, in the Brazilian state of Pará, handed to the Xingu Regional Sustainable Development Plan Steering Committee and to the Brazilian federal Goervnment General Secretariat 17 proposals in the form of projects to be supported.
• Cidadonos – in the city of Jundiaí, it is the first Ideas Contest held by ICD, in partnership with the Movimento Voto Consciente Jundiaí (Jundiaí Conscious Vote Movement) and has been the laboratory for the improvement of the methodology. Three editions of the competition where already held in this Brazilian city, in the state of São Paulo.
• Sorocaba Colaborativa – developed in the Brazilian city of Sorocaba, in the state of São Paulo, with the support of the City Hall and the Department of Education. Focusing on young people, especially students from four public schools in the region, mobilized nearly a thousand participants registered on the site and 149 proposals for improvements.
What guides us
• Free Knowledge
• Free Software
• Cross sector collaboration
What are our goals
We want to strengthen the influence of society and build solutions from the collective intelligence. For this to happen, we seek to:
• Strengthen policies and public investments
• Engage people and promote social participation
• Create strategies to articulate actors and integrate initiatives
• Raise and analyze data
• Produce and share knowledge
• Foster a culture of democratic participation
• Strengthen it all using technology
What principles guide us
Our operating principles guide us to join forces with other initiatives that are part of the Brazilian social participation ecosystem.
• non-partisanship: Promote society’s common agendas that can be embraced by politicians of all parties.
• Appreciation: Social participation guided by appreciative approach that identifies opportunities for collaboration, peacefully and focusing on the positive.
• Confluence and Autonomy: Adapting formats and methods for the adherence and self-management of other initiatives.
• Free Knowledge: Open methodologies, codes and data.
• “Bottom Up”: Focus on territories’ themes, encouraging the development of collaborative opportunities from local agendas created by citizens.
• Inclusion: Initiatives seeking expanded social participation, not only the movements’ internal composition.
• Thinking Politically: socio-emotional skills for political action.
• Sustainability: Sustainable mechanisms of social participation for citizens and governments.
• Transparency: data and information symmetry should serve to governments, businesses and citizens.
Images to represent our new positioning
In partnership with Fábrica de Ideias Brasileiras (Brazilian Idea Factory), we took the first step to create a brand architecture that structures the whole universe of our work and, at the same time, determines the different needs of each of its manifestations, such as a thread flexible enough to contemplate the future expansion needs.
As we work in partnership with other initiatives, the new brand is identifiable without being authoritarian and at the same time, encourages engagement and belonging.
For this, the element of the open circle represents the opening for participation, and is a visual translation for a permeable democratic model.
The visual identity system, with the gesture of the raised hand painted in blue, enables the creation of campaigns and evokes two meanings relevant to our work: VOTE, representing the social participation in democracies and the membership of the individual in the group and the REQUEST TO SPEAK, representing the empowerment of organized citizens in egalitarian debates.
The own hand stained with ink, in turn, brings the idea of printing one’s mark on the world and has in its design paths and networks, as a reference to the city itself. The palm is also associated with a deep knowledge and ownership, “know like the back of my hand.”
We hope that you enjoy our new positioning and brand that bring the intention to contribute to what we believe is a fundamental pillar for the construction of civic capital as the stock of beliefs and values that encourage confidence and propensity to collaborate and coordinate activities among people in a society.
Good participation and tell us if your place is within or even close to the Brazilian social participation ecosystem.