Digital Democracy lab: Berlin, Berlin...

Every year more and more becomes indisputable the fact that it is not even a war, the corruption is the greatest enemy of Ukraine. Corruption and its best friends - ignorance and illiteracy- contribute to the fact that our country does not have the opportunity to get rid of the colonial slave past and declare its ability to be far from the latest economies in the world.

Of course, we are talking a lot about corruption, and it seems that we have many victories in this direction, but ... It seems that the mythical hydra is reborn again and again releasing two new heads in the place of the cut-off ... creating the impression of their invincibility and the futility of efforts on its overcome

But! Again, however, the absence of significant victories is not at all an excuse for lowering hands, because:

Each one held tightly gripped a mighty iron sledge, 

And sudden from the sky a voice like thunder came: 

"Break through this granite wall! Let neither heat nor cold

Your efforts stay! In spite of hunger, toil and thirst,

Slack not, for yours it is to cleave this rock in twain."

And this is true. In addition, technological progress has given us today a new "mighty iron sledge" - the digital instruments of democracy to counteract which corruption system is not ready at all, and the only way it can counteract is to prevent them from spreading in Ukraine or to create imitation of such instruments and initiatives again yet destroying faith and hoping for victory over this disease of our society.

It is very nice that this problem is well understood by our European colleagues from  betterplace lab that together with 1991 Civic Tech Center, 1991 Open Data Incubator and with the financial support of the EVZ Foundation not with only word, we decided to prove it by starting Digital Democracy Lab, which launched a series of trainings and workshops to help participants test and develop their ideas in the areas of anti-corruption, investigative journalism, citizen engagement, government control, use of open data and not only (I'll tell you about the ideas and authors in the next article).

And now a little bit about our 5 day training program in Berlin.

I have already told myself that I will not be scattered in a million fifty eighth time in compliments to our Berlin counterparts, but they are not. Can not!

Our charming mentors, Katja Jaeger and  Franziska Kreische, from the first day we received a very warm welcome, and until the last day they tried to do everything to make us feel as comfortable as at home.

The cycle of seminars and lectures took place in the premises of the City Laboratory of  CityLAB Berlin, which is located near the very significant place not only for Berlin, but also for the whole place of the world - the former airport Berlin-Tempelhof.

What is the airport so important to? Because it can be said that this is the largest monument to the triumph of democracy!

On May 25, 2008, thousands of Berlin residents came to a referendum, which raised the issue of determining the further fate of the former Tempelhof airport.

Unexpectedly for the authorities of the city, which, in the best of traditions, intended to build several elite residential complexes on this territory, citizens decided that they needed an empty lawn in 350 hectares in the city center!

So, at the decision of citizens, since the end of 2008, the airport is no longer used for its intended purpose and has become a recreation area!

But let's go back to the Lab!

I will not make a terrible secret, but the fact that I really liked the lack of a traditional approach, constant interactive, helped me not only to get new knowledge, but also to understand what I got and whether it was that I got something important for me applied value.

I can't not say warm words to the co-organizers of Digital Democracy Lab and 1991 Open Data Incubator -  Jane Klepa and  Anastasia Sylenok, without your participation, this event would not be so warm and rich.

Constant change of format and location, constant communication with colleagues and faculty did not allow getting so-called "lazy" knowledge. Knowledge is as if and there is no such thing.

The second day of classes was probably the most busy.

After a small lecture:

We got the opportunity, we use the wise crowd format, discuss our projects and get just an incredible amount of valuable advice and comments:

I will say frankly - this is a new format for me and as it is very invigorating for me and allows you to look at the project at a completely different angle!

Then we were waiting for a meeting with the most awesome specialists in the field of Civic Tech!

Helen from  Simply Secure told us about the importance of design in products for democracy:

Adriana Groh from Prototype Fund spoke about Civic Tech project financing models,

Tori Boeck spoke about Open Data in Berlin.

It is not surprising that the assessment of our day at the end was the highest:

The third day of the Digital Democracy Lab in Berlin was no less saturated than the previous one.

A lot of interactivity and communications.

And in the end we still managed to paint!

On the fourth day, we visited the historic museum where they visited the whole exposition devoted to Democracy in Germany.

Well, our training ended with pods which we read in turn in the center of the museum island:

Even today, these 5 days are referred to as something incredibly warm and gentle like the spring sun.

5 days of incredible experiences.

5 days for fascinating workshops and lectures

5 days in a fabulously steep team of Ukrainian innovators without whom I think this event would not have succeeded!

I will not thank everyone separately - your friends were all incredible! And I will never forget how wonderful the atmosphere of these 5 days in Berlin has been!

I am proud to have the honor of becoming a part of such a solid team of Digital Democracy Lab!