Co-creating KYOPOL

A few weeks ago we explained the goal of the Kyopol System: to act as our cities’ “civic neural system” and facilitate civic engagement and citizen activation in the regional and municipal level. Kyopol will thus contribute to turn our cities into “smart organic cities”, with ability to leverage the resources of the people and organizations that form them.

It was still pending to explain…

… how we plan to create KYOPOL

We intend to create it by means of an open and collaborative process which, in the coming months, will allow us to work with the future users of the system -citizens, social movements, civil society organizations, the media, public administration and political institutions- to design and test a first prototype of the system.

To do this, we have first created a Core Group, which will lead the design and construction of the system and develop its participatory methodologies and its teaching resources. This group will also devote special care to communicate with all external stakeholders.

We have also created a Pioneers Group, composed of volunteers representing the various users and stakeholders that will use Kyopol. From the very first moment these people will act as “Alpha testers”: they will test our prototypes, evaluate their features and recommend adjustments that better suit their needs. They will also review the processes and participatory resources prepared for the system. We hope that, within a few months, we will have created a system which is mature enough to initiate pilot projects, and thus put the system in the service of municipal governments, social movements (such as 15M), neighborhood associations, etc.

The system will be tested through a series of pilot projects that will take place in a small and accesible environment  (eg: in the environs of Alcalá de Henares, the Spanish city where the association has its headquarters) where we have strong links with the user groups. These experiences of “real use” will allow us to continue learning and improving Kyopol. In the initial tests we will surely discover a few major bugs that must be corrected before the system can start to really work.

If everything goes well, we will slowly extend Kyopol availability to more localities. We hope that Kyopol’s usage will spread virally and, with the help from partner institutions established in different cities, regions and countries, we will be able to quickly extend its scope in successive stages. This way the system will be tested in increasingly varied environments… and a process of continuous and collective improvement / adaptation of its features and processes to the needs of citizens and municipalities will be started.

You can see next a video of our intervention in the Workshop on “Collaborative Production of eGovernment Services”, which was held in Brussels in October 2011. Starting at the minute 7 the most important aspects of our approach are presented:


It is important to note that, as we explained in Brussels, both our preliminary ideas on Kyopol’s functionalities and the collaborative process used for its development are the result of a long and deep research process whose key findings were recently presented in a doctoral thesis.

The stages of this process of research & creation are shown in the following diagram.

Where we are now is in the “Co-Creation” phase: precisely the very heart of participatory design and collaborative evaluation! 🙂

If you are interested in contributing to this creative process, please check out the website of the Asociación Ciudades Kyosei and contact us.

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