My LA2050


Grants Challenge


$1,000,000 to make LA the best place to learn, create, play, connect, and live.

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Engage Your Neighborhood

Synaccord, LLC

Collaborators

Venice Neighborhood Council - At the last minute it was determined that the NC will have to vote on supporting this. The vote will be on 10/18. I will notify you of the outcome, but we have strong sponsors.

About Your Proposal

In one sentence, please describe what your organization does.

Synaccord is building a platform for productive online discussion of polarizing issues. We do online what is done at in-person deliberative events so we can find the solutions to what divides us.

In one to three sentences, please describe your project proposal.

Let's empower Angelinos to engage with each other and their Neighborhood Councils online to solve their challenges and create their future. We’ll let people be heard from the time and place available to them, and collaborate with each other in an innovative online structure to bring out the most representative public input, avoid the trolls, and no public speaking required! This project will work closely with one lead NC and make the tools and best practices will be available to all in LA.

How much are you applying for?

$100,000

How will your proposal impact the following CONNECT metrics?

  • Government responsiveness to residents’ needs
  • Participation in neighborhood councils

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

Westside

Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to CONNECT?

Neighborhood councils in LA are a bold new experiment but they have challenges with engagement both at election time, and in their council participation. Turnout in the 2016 election ranged from 0 to 7.5% participation. Turnout at meetings is much less, and many people have not heard of them.
Instead, imagine Angelinos from all over getting on their smartphones, tablets, and PCs to connect with each other and their neighborhood councils (NC’s) to define the vision they share, identify the challenges they face, and productively work together to bring the dream to life.
In-person deliberation works! - There is a facilitator who organizes people into small diverse groups and puts a structure to the conversation that keeps it on track to a goal.
We build on existing tools that take in-person deliberation online, and work with a representative neighborhood and NC to define and develop new features to fulfill the mission: help people engage and productively work together with their council. And we make this is available to all NC’s in LA.
We will work with the NC and you to define, prioritize and add features designed to make engagement interesting and productive, including:
- Enabling committee members to interact with the community online while maintaining compliance with the many CA regulations
- Creating a new video message based discussion format so online discussions can have a more personal and visual connection.
- Allowing NCs to link to discussions from their existing web sites and postings so all can view and participate
- Letting neighbors GPS check-in to show their authenticity online and share their stake in discussions
- Providing neighbors with notifications of updates on (and only on) the topics that interest them – to stay up to date but not overwhelmed.
- Provide Android and iPhone apps.
This project is also about outreach – to define, implement, measure, and report on programs that reach out and engage neighbors and get them involved in the neighborhood discussions that are important to them. And not just online, we work through offline and in person means as well to reach people where they are.
You have seen that online discussions of controversial topics go badly. But with the lessons of in-person discussions these challenges can be solved:
- Trolls - start in small, diverse groups. If others find a post to be uncivil they can flag it, and vote up the better posts.
- Discussions gone wild – apply structures like pro/con, and problem/solution, side-by-side comparison, and list prioritization to keep discussion moving forward.
- Overwhelming participation - let people vote up the comments that speak for them and break large groups into many small groups and hold rounds (like march madness) so that, for example, a thousand people could find the most representative comments of a community in 4 rounds of groups of 6.
What’s your vision for your neighborhood in 2050?
In 2050 what's your vision for how you connect?

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

Number of people engaged with the website – goal is at least as many as voted in NC election in 2016

Growth rate of the number of people engaged in the web site. – a positive growth rate is success

Number of people returning to the site (repeat engagement) – we monitor this to enact tasks to keep it high

Number of outcomes where there is an innovative solution enacted by the neighborhood with broad agreement. – this is a stretch goal – 1 would be awesome.

Saving time for the neighborhood council (they are all volunteers). – We will poll the NC members and ask them about the time required to support this and the value received. Our goal to provide broader participation without increasing the time required.

Increased participation in neighborhood council voting over the 2016 election – though the next election is in 2018 and we won’t be able to measure this during the scope of the project.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money
  • Volunteers
  • Advisors/board members
  • Publicity/awareness
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support