In search of case studies / best practices

I tried to put this call out on Twitter but had a hell of a time condensing it to 140 characters.

I’m looking for best practice examples of an organization doing online collaboration / consultation on a list of proposals. Something like a municipal government posting a list of budget items for discussion, or a political party posting platform ideas for consultation.

I’m looking for strategy and tactics here. What platform was used to post and collect feedback? How was it marketed? What were the barriers to participation and how were they overcome?

Ideally I’d like something that can be hosted on an individual basis, rather than relying on third-party (ie: Google Groups). It would have to be restricted too, so users would have to register and be approved before contributing.

My first thought was a discussion forum. Existing proposals would be posted as topics with threaded discussions following. New proposals could also be posted in a separate section. Wikis tend to have a higher barrier to entry and most lack threaded discussions. In this case, the process of consultation would have to be tracked – it’s about more than just the end result.

Any examples of something like this in practice would be greatly appreciated, either by commenting below or by sending me a message on Twitter.

UPDATE: Oh yea, a bilingual (or customizable to allow for bilingualism) interface would be groov-tastic.


  1. I have a great example of something for you that we’re going to be using at the upcoming environmental congress (ICLEI) that I’m working on. It’s called IdeaLink and is software built by a company called Brainbank. It allows people to fill out ideas, others to contribute, and then they get voted up or down.

    Apparently the IOC uses it for each Olympics. If you want more info, we can chat about it – I’ll know a whole lot more after the congress (June 14-18)

  2. Jill – Thanks, I’ll check it out. We’re a bit wary of proprietary solutions after getting burned a bit by one supplier but this is a pretty niche area. I’m sure there are open source options but if their tool works out of the box then there’s something to be said for that too.

    Elena – Thanks, I had managed to forget about the policy wiki, believe it or not! And interested to see that Nanos played at least some part in the CRTC consult. Hadn’t considered the survey/polling route but perhaps there’s some merit in that approach too.

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